The 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI) shows the world became less peaceful in the last year, reinforcing the underlying trend of declining peace over the last decade. Results also show a growing global inequality in peace, with the most peaceful countries continuing to improve while the least peaceful are falling into greater violence and conflict.
The 2016 GPI report provides a comprehensive update on the state of peace. It shows that amidst the global deterioration the world continues to spend enormous resources on creating and containing violence but very little on peace. The key to reversing the decline in peace is through building Positive Peace – a holistic framework of the key attitudes, institutions and structures which build peace in the long term.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16, which focuses on peace, justice and strong institutions is critical to focusing the international community on the goal of attaining a more peaceful world. But measuring it and developing the data to know if countries are improving is a serious challenge that needs greater investment and levels of cooperation.
The tenth edition of the GPI finds that overall global levels of peace continue to deteriorate while the gap between the most and least peaceful countries continues to widen.
While the world became less peaceful in 2015, many countries also improved. In fact, slightly more countries improved, 81 – than deteriorated, 79. As the size of the deteriorations was larger than the improvements, there was a decline in the global average. This shows the complex picture of global peace and underscores that while there has been an emergence of concerning negative trends, they are not uniform globally and positives can be drawn from the data.
The majority of the global deterioration is due to the developments in the Middle East and Africa (MENA), already the least peaceful region in the world. So intense is the current concentration of violence and conflict in MENA that, when considered separately, the rest of the world’s average peace levels improved. Three of the five biggest country declines in peace occurred in the region: Yemen, Libya and Bahrain.
The indicators with the largest yearly deterioration were the impact of terrorism and political instability. Deaths from terrorism increased by 80 per cent from last year’s report with only 69 countries not recording a terrorist incident. The intensity of terrorism also increased with the number of countries suffering more than 500 deaths from terrorist acts more than doubling, up from 5 to 11. The rise in political instability was globally distributed with large changes within many countries spread across many regions. Among the countries with the largest deteriorations were Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Poland, Burundi, Kazakhstan and Brazil.