Qatar is ranked the most peaceful out of the 20 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and 34th internationally, according to the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2016 released yesterday.
The tenth edition of the GPI highlights a stark and growing inequality in global levels of peacefulness as the gap between the most and least peaceful countries continues to widen.
The study, by international think-tank the Institute for Economics and Peace, finds that while 81 countries improved, the deterioration in another 79 outweighed these gains, meaning that peace declined at a faster rate than in the previous year. Despite this some of the most peaceful countries are now recording historically high levels of peace.
Qatar has had fairly stable levels of peace, with little change in the last decade due in part to its relatively high levels of internal peacefulness; Qatar performs in the best band for low levels of internal conflict.
The score for the Mena, the least peaceful region in the world in last year’s report, dropped further as regional conflicts intensified, dragging down global peacefulness.
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 declines in peace occurred in the region including Yemen, Libya and Bahrain.
The global deterioration in peace in 2015 was driven by increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability. While the majority of terrorist activity is highly concentrated in five countries - Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan - the breadth of terrorism is spreading, with only 23% of countries in the Index not experiencing a terrorist incident.
Europe, which was once again the most peaceful region in the world, saw its average score deteriorate in this year’s report in the wake of terrorism incidents in Paris and Brussels, with deaths from terrorism in Europe having more than doubled over the last five years.
The number of refugees and displaced persons has risen dramatically over the last decade, doubling to approximately 60mn people between 2007 and 2016, nearly 1% of the world’s population. There are now nine countries with more than 10% of their population displaced in some form; 20% of Somalia and South Sudan’s population respectively, and over 60% of Syria’s.
While the global economic impact of violence dropped by 2% when compared to last year’s report, it was still a staggering $13.6tn in 2015, equivalent to 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment. This represents 13.3% of world GDP, or $1,876 per person. In the last ten years the economic impact of violence was $137tn; greater than global GDP in 2015.
Europe was once again ranked the most peaceful region in the world. The largest improvement since last year occurred in Central America and the Caribbean, while South America also made progress in its levels of peacefulness. Mena had the largest decline, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific respectively.