According to the Global Peace Index (GPI), global peacefulness improved in 2019 for the first time in five years, but the world continues to be less peaceful than a decade ago. The Index is researched and created by The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), located in Sydney, New York, The Hague and Mexico.
Despite the slight improvement this year, the world remains considerably less peaceful now than a decade ago, with the average level of peacefulness deteriorating by 3.78 per cent since 2008. Global peacefulness has only improved for three of the last ten years. A wide range of factors drove the fall in peacefulness over the past decade including increased terrorist activity, the intensification of conflicts in the Middle East, rising regional tensions in Eastern Europe and northeast Asia, increasing numbers of refugees, and heightened political tensions in Europe and the US.
This deterioration was partially offset by improvements in many of the measures of the Militarisation domain of the GPI. There has been a consistent reduction in military expenditure as a percentage of GDP for the majority of countries, as well as a fall in the armed services personnel rate for most countries in the world.
The average level of global peacefulness improved very slightly last year on the 2019 Global Peace Index (GPI). This was the first time that the index improved in the last five years. The average country score improved by -0.09 per cent, with 86 countries improving and 76 recording deteriorations.
Looking at ten-year trends in peacefulness shows that global peacefulness has deteriorated by 2.38 per cent since 2008, with 85 countries recording a deterioration. The GPI has deteriorated for eight of the last eleven years, with the last improvement in peacefulness occurring in 2014.
In Europe, the world’s most peaceful region, 61 per cent of countries have deteriorated since 2008, however Europe maintained its position as the most peaceful region in the world, which it has held for every year of the GPI. MENA remained the least peaceful region for the fifth year in a row, although it did become more peaceful last year.
The GPI 2019 also includes new data on wellbeing and perceptions of peacefulness. The reports shows that there have been increases in average feelings of life satisfaction and wellbeing, perceptions of safety, and confidence in the local police and military, despite the last decade showing a decline in peacefulness around the world.
Perceptions of peacefulness have increased in some areas but decreased in others. More people across the world now feel that they have more freedom in life, are more satisfied with life, and are treated with more respect than in 2008. Many more people also feel that their countries are better places to live for ethnic and religious minorities. However, daily feelings of sadness, worry, and stress have also increased over the same time.
There is a strong correlation between perceptions of peacefulness and actual peacefulness as measured by the GPI. Both men and women in more peaceful countries are more likely to report that they feel safe walking alone at night than people in less peaceful countries. There is also a greater level of trust in police in more peaceful societies.
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