LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 06/11/13 -- Editors Note: There are two photos, one video and three figures associated with this press release.
A dramatic rise in the number of homicides and more countries, 59, increasing their military expenditure as a percentage of GDP were the key drivers in making the world a less peaceful place, according to the 2013 Global Peace Index (GPI) released today. This year's findings underline a 6-year trend showing a deterioration of 5% in global peace. In this time 110 countries have seen their score deteriorate while only 48 became more peaceful. The economic impact of this 5% loss in peace came at a cost to the global economy of US$473 billion last year, or the equivalent to almost four times Official Development Assistance (ODAs) in 2012.
The sharp increase in the number of homicides(1) - up 8% over the last year - can be almost entirely attributed to Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa with, for example, the homicide rate in Honduras further increasing by almost 10 per 100,000 people - becoming the highest in the world at 92 homicides per 100,000 people.
Steve Killelea, founder and Executive Chairman of the IEP, said: "The migration of populations to urban areas in developing countries has been a key driver in the rise of homicides worldwide. This has also led to an increase in violent crime. It is essential for the police to gain the trust of those living in city slums, to achieve this, addressing police corruption would be a first important step."
The overall deterioration of the military spending indicator in the GPI is primarily due to a large number of low-middle income countries, typically authoritarian regimes like Iran, Iraq, Oman, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, Cote d'Ivoire and DRC, having increased their expenditure to more than 7% of GDP.(2)
In contrast some slight improvements were evident over the last year on the indicators of the likelihood of violent demonstrations and the Political Terror Scale, a measure of state-sponsored terror, with improvements in countries such as Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Zambia, and Tunisia.
Commenting on this year's results, Steve highlights: "The findings of this year's Index support the prevailing trend of the last six years, namely: a continuing shift away from nations taking up arms against one another and towards more organised internal conflicts. A key factor associated with this is that the peace gap between countries under authoritarian regimes and the rest of the world is becoming larger."
This is best exemplified by Syria's descent into civil war, which recorded the greatest score deterioration in the history of the Index. Additionally many Middle Eastern and North African countries continue to be affected by the fallout from the Arab Spring with violent demonstrations and further political instability, notably Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia.
The data also revealed evidence of countries being able to make significant gains in peace as their emergence from conflict gave way to the re-building of the Pillars of Peace which are the necessary components to create peaceful, resilient and socially sustainable societies(3). Libya, for example, experienced the greatest rise in peace as its newly elected government and recovering institutions were established following the turmoil of the recent revolution and civil war. North Africa also had more to celebrate as Sudan and Chad experienced the second and third most substantial gains as their respective conflicts eased.
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