*Morocco ranks as most peaceful country in North Africa, Sahel, and West Africa region, which the UN Security Council recently reported is threatened by an “Arc of Instability” of rising terrorism and trafficking.*
Overall, the 2013 Global Peace Index (GPI) shows that the world has become a less peaceful place, continuing a five-year worsening trend, with a sharp rise in the number of homicides worldwide.
- The world has become 5% less peaceful since 2008;
- Europe is the most peaceful region, with 13 of the top 20 most peaceful countries;
- War ravaged Afghanistan returns to the bottom of the index;
- The Middle East and North Africa’s GPI score continues to be affected by the fallout of the Arab Spring.
- Syria’s GPI score has fallen by 70% since 2008, the most precipitous drop recorded in the history of the index.
- Morocco (listed 57th out of 162 nations) was ranked the most peaceful country in the North Africa, Sahel, and West Africa region, which the UN Security Council recently reported is threatened by an “Arc of Instability” of rising terrorism and trafficking across the Sahara/Sahel. “If left unchecked, it could transform the continent into a breeding ground for extremists and a launch pad for larger-scale terrorist attacks around the world.”
- The MENA region has experienced the steepest deterioration in peacefulness since 2008, and ranks second only to South Asia, with Afghanistan and Pakistan, as the least peaceful region in the world.
Policy Mic reported that peace-loving Americans may be surprised by the 2013 GPI results. While Afghanistan’s last-place spot may be expected, the good old US of A comes in at a lowly 100 out of 162.
Vision of Humanity, the nonprofit organization behind the index, started measuring peace in 2007. Dedicated to studying, advocating for, and acting on peace, Vision for Humanity created the index as part of their “strategic approach to raising the world’s attention and awareness around the importance of peace to humanity’s survival in the 21st century.”
The most peaceful region of world is Europe, Scandinavia specifically, with Iceland coming in at the top and Denmark at number two. Smaller nations tended to be more peaceful than larger ones… The three countries with the largest improvements in peace over the past six years are Chad, Georgia, and Haiti, while the countries that experienced the greatest improvement in the last year are Libya and Sudan. Although conflicts between separate nations have decreased in the past few years, the index shows that internal conflicts, like those in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Latin America, have gotten worse. Most Arab Spring countries saw a decrease in peacefulness compared to before the Arab Spring.
How does one measure peace? First of all, VFH has defined peace as: “Harmony achieved by the absence of war, conflict or violence or fear of the aforementioned.” Enlisting the help of the Economist Intelligence Unit for data collection and crunching, as well as a team of independent peace-experts or “peaceperts,” if you will, the group decided on 22 separate indicators of peace. These 22 indicators were grouped into three overarching categories: ongoing domestic and international conflict, societal safety and security, and militarization. The lower the score in each of the 22 categories, the more peaceful the nation.
So how did countries like Sierra Leone, Mongolia, Brazil, Morocco, and Nicaragua beat out the USA in peacefulness? The index measures the obvious: internal war and conflict, homicide rates, and political instability, but it also measures the conflict that a country causes to other nations. Under the “militarization” category, “Military expenditure as parGt of GDP,” “Volume of transfers of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people,” “nuclear weapons capability,” and “financial contribution to UN peacekeeping missions” all affect a nation’s score.
While the U.S. scored relatively low in domestic conflict and societal safety (with the exception of our high homicide rate), we scored exceptionally high in the militarization category.
In other words, it’s not just about how peaceful things are within a country’s borders, it’s about a country’s overall contribution (or lack thereof) to world peace. These external measures of peace adequately reflect a world that is undeniably interconnected and growing increasingly more so by the minute. It is no longer okay, if it ever was, to not worry about the impact we have on our fellow human beings, even those in faraway lands.
Perhaps this index will inspire our foreign-policy makers to take the advice of four musical (and famously peaceful) Brits, and ensure that the love we take in this world is equal to the love we make.