Daily Management Review

The Most and Least Peaceful Countries on the Global Peace Index


The Institute for Economics and Peace recently released its 2015 Global Peace Index report, highlighting the countries’ worst hit by violence and the most peaceful ones. Overall, IEP has noticed an upsurge in violence worldwide, mostly due to revolutionary inclinations, terrorism and armed conflicts that have increased death tolls alarmingly.

More than 180,000 lives have been lost in the past year, to armed conflicts, around the world. Even five years ago, that number was limited to 49,000. From Syria to Nigerian backcountry, countless lives are being lost, which has led the Institute for Economics and Peace to deduce that the world is turning more violent.

Since 2008, every year, the Institute has been releasing a compilation, named as the Global Peace Index, which is the only ranking that computes levels of violence worldwide.

The recently published 2015 report indicates a 2.4% increase in the average violence score of countries worldwide.

Facing an upsurge in terrorism and revolutionary fervor, this year, North Africa and the Middle East saw the biggest spike in violence. Syria, still struggling with its civil war that displaced over half of its population, ranked as the worst on the Peace Index.

Aubrey Fox, the Executive Director of IEP in U.S., said, “You see the perfect storm of issues like refugees and terrorism and increasing conflict within these countries that are making them less peaceful.”
Such conflicts seemed to have grown more lethal over the last five years too. Groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State have caused more than 18,000 deaths in the last few years.

More than 50 million people have been displaced from their homes in lieu of such conflicts. Reports from certain regions in the world looked less gloomy, with Europe leading the Peace Index, the eight year in a row. Iceland, Switzerland, Austria and Denmark are among the few such European states with consistent high peace scores.

Westernized democracies around the world seem to be the most peaceful, with a glaring exception being the United States. It consistently under-performs on the Index, this time ranking 94th out of 162 countries on the list.

There is a significant difference between the developed and the underdeveloped world. According to the founder and Executive Chairman of IEP, Steve Killelea, “The most peaceful countries are becoming more peaceful, and the least peaceful countries in the world are becoming much more violent”.

Killelea believes in the need for a military response for IS, even though he seems doubtful of the long-term effects of military incursion due to the response seen in Afghanistan.

The following list is a break-down of the IEP’s analysis based on region.
2015 Global Peace Index
EUROPE: Europe has consistently topped the rankings.
Top Performer: Iceland (1)
Falling Behind: Turkey (135)
Watch out for: France (45)
NORTH AMERICA: The second most peaceful region.
Top Performer: Canada (7)
Falling Behind: United States (94)
Watch Out For: United States (94)
ASIA  PACIFIC: The third most peaceful region.
Top Performer: New Zealand (4)
Falling Behind: North Korea (153)
Watch Out For: Myanmar (130)
SOUTH AMERICA: The fourth most peaceful region.
Top Performer: Chile (29)
Falling Behind: Colombia (146)
Watch Out For: Venezuela (142)
CENTRAL AMERICA and the CARIBBEAN: The fifth most peaceful region.
Top Performer: Costa Rica (34)
Falling Behind: Mexico (144)
Watch Out For: Jamaica (109)
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: The sixth most peaceful region.
Top Performer: Mauritius (25)
Falling Behind: South Sudan (159)
Watch Out For: Benin (77)
RUSSIA and EURASIA: The seventh most peaceful region.
Top Performer: Moldova (70)
Falling Behind: Russia (152)
Watch Out For: Ukraine (150)
SOUTH ASIA: The second most violent region.
Top Performer: Bhutan (18)
Falling Behind: Afghanistan (160)
Watch Out For: Pakistan (154)
MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: The most violent region of all.
Top Performer: Qatar (3)
Falling Behind: Syria (162)
Watch Out For: Egypt (137)