Steve Killelea continued: "The 6-year data trend shows that the onset of conflict can happen quickly - but that peace improves gradually and must be nurtured over the long term by strengthening the attitutes, institutions and structures which support peaceful societies - known as the Pillars of Peace. The outlook for Libya remains uncertain and we can see that Afghanistan has returned to the bottom of the GPI amid mounting political instability, a rise in terrorist activity and in the level of political terror."
OTHER REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
Europe remains the most peaceful region comprising thirteen of the top twenty countries including Iceland which continues to rank first. However, several high debt countries including Spain, Greece, France and Portugal; experienced less peaceful conditions amid challenging economic circumstances during the last year. This also reflects the six-year trend data which shows that countries that suffer from recession decrease in peace at a greater rate than the rest of the world.
North America slightly improved in score compared with 2012. However, the US ranks 99th on the index and continues to score weakly compared with its OECD peers on the basis of its jailed population (the highest in the world); its involvement in numerous overseas conflicts; its homicide rate and its nuclear and heavy weapons capabilities, amongst others.
South American nations Uruguay and Chile stand out as the two most peaceful in the region, characterised by relatively strong institutions and the rule of law. Conditions deteriorated in third-ranked Argentina amid poorer relations with its neighbours and the deterioration in a number of internal indicators.
In Central America, Costa Rica again emerges as the most peaceful nation. Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador all saw improvements in their GPI scores, albeit from low levels. This partly reflects progress made by their governments in improving internal security after several years of heightened violence linked to Mexican drug cartels.
Russia and Eurasia remains among the least peaceful regions in the world, above only South Asia and MENA. Scores deteriorated substantially for Ukraine, Tajikistan and Russia over the last year. In the case of Russia, scores for terrorist activity and the number of deaths from internal conflict both linked to violence in the North Caucasus, declined. Russia's score has also deteriorated because of its growing role as a weapons supplier.
Asia-Pacific exhibits a wide spread with regard to peace and security where Japan, Australia and Singapore join New Zealand among the 20 most peaceful nations worldwide. However, fractious relations with neighbouring countries are a common feature across the region.
NOTES TO EDITORS
GPI report, video, and interactive maps are available at www.visionofhumanity.org.
About the Global Peace Index
The GPI is the world's leading measure of global peacefulness produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). It gauges on-going domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and militarisation in 162 countries by taking into account 22 separate indicators.
About the Institute for Economics & Peace
IEP is an international think tank dedicated to shifting the world's focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress.
In 2013 four new countries (Kosovo, South Sudan, Timor-Leste and Togo) were added to the GPI, bringing the total to 162 nations covering 99% of the world's population.
(1) The number of homicides indicator increased by 8% bringing the total for the year to approximately 524,000 homicides.
(2) Notably, this indicator was in contrast to the total amount of money spent on defence, which dropped for the first time since 1998 in light of a few large countries decreasing their level of expenditure - eg, the US decreased military spending from approximately 4.6% to 4.1% of GDP.
(3) IEP data reveals eight Pillars of Peace, key attitudes and structures required to create peaceful, resilient and socially sustainable societies. They include: Well-functioning government; Sound business environment; Equitable distribution of resources; Acceptance of the rights of others; Good relations with neighbours; Free flow of information; High levels of human capital; Low levels of corruption.
To view the first photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/GPI%20Logo.jpg
To view the second photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/GPISteve1.jpg
To view the Global Peace Index, please visit the following link: http://file.marketwire.com/release/global%20peace%20index%201.pdf
To view the Global Peace Index Map Flyer, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/GPI%20map%201.pdf
To view the Global Peace Index Fact Sheet, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/GPI%20fact%20sheet%201.pdf
To view the video associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://youtu.be/cJ3wQmcKNvI
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