The Global Peace Index is an ongoing project initiated by the Australian businessman and philanthropist Steve Killelea. It is being realized by the Economist Intelligence Unit, in conjunction with an international team of academics and peace experts.
By carefully weighting 24 peace indicators, the GPi measures the relative peacefulness of nations. The peace indicators cover three areas that are suited to evaluate actual or potential threats to peace. The three areas are:
A. Ongoing domestic and international conflicts
Indicator 1 Number of external and internal conflicts fought, 2000-05
Indicator 2 Estimated number of deaths from organized conflict (external)
Indicator 3 Number of deaths from organized conflict (internal)
Indicator 4 Level of organized conflict (internal)
Indicator 5 Relations with neighbouring countries
B. Societal safety and security
Indicator 6 Level of distrust in other citizens
Indicator 7 Number of displaced people as a percentage of the population
Indicator 8 Political instability
Indicator 9 Level of disrespect for human rights (Political Terror Scale)
Indicator 10 Potential for terrorist acts
Indicator 11 Number of homicides per 100,000 people
Indicator 12 Level of violent crime
Indicator 13 Likelihood of violent demonstrations
Indicator 14 Number of jailed population per 100,000 people
Indicator 15 Number of internal security officers and police per 100,000 people
C. State of militarization
Indicator 16 Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP
Indicator 17 Number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people
Indicator 18 Volume of transfers (imports) of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people
Indicator 19 Volume of transfers (exports) of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people
Indicator 20 UN Deployments 2006-07 (percentage of total armed forces)
Indicator 21 Non UN Deployments 2006-07 (percentage of total armed forces)
Indicator 22 Aggregate number of heavy weapons per 100,000 people
Indicator 23 Ease of access to small arms and light weapons
Indicator 24 Military capability/sophistication
Each indicator is apportioned a score ranging from 1 to 5, with 1 meaning the most peaceful, and 5 meaning the least peaceful state. The total score for each country is then weighted according to "internal" and "external" factors of peace in order to attain an overall ranking of relative peacefulness.
And these, according to GPi, are the 20 most peaceful countries in the world, as of 2007:
2. New Zealand
13. Czech Republic
The 20 least peaceful countries then are:
9. Cote d'Ivoire
11. Sri Lanka
To view the full list of countries, ranks and scores, please click on this pdf-file.
For further details and background information, please visit Vision of Humanity, at http://www.visionofhumanity.com.
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N.B.: A similar study called FSI - Failed States Index has been drawn up by the Fund for Peace and the Foreign Policy Magazine. In this study, countries are ranked as to their risk of failure as a political entity.
While both studies arrive at largely similar results,a few astonishing differences in perception and analysis do show up. While the GPi rates the USA and South Africa as among the most threatening countries in the world, the FSI regards them both as among the least dangerous. On the other extreme, Bhutan receives the astonishing 19th rank in GPi's list of the most peaceful countries (see list above), while FPI regards it as a near-failed stated, posing a threat not only to itself but to neighbouring countries as well.
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