Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Global Peace Index

Vision of Humanity has produced this year's global peace rankings. Not sure how this functions as a 2011 index when we're not even half-way through the year and things could look so different by October in places like Tunisia and Egypt (elections) and Southern Sudan could officially be a new country...or not. Depending on what happens in Abyei. From what I can see there seems to be no information on a number of small countries: Lesotho, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Benin, the Seychelles, Reunion Island, Cape Verde, Suriname, Djibouti, Mauritius and Western Sahara. Interesting to note how much the protests in the Arab World have influenced unrest elsewhere, but its still an unfolding story and so I'm not sure how far that can be used as a reliable measure for 2011.  Also, countries like Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria, in different transition stages from violence to stability so they too could look very different in another six months. I doubt whether Spain's protests were included here. Israel won't be too pleased to be 145 - eighth place from last, neither will America be happy at number 82 - below China at 80.  Zimbabwe's 140 - no big surprises there. I think we're now used to being ranked near the worst or not ranked at all in these things. 

But still this is a very, very useful resource, especially when looking at the economic and political factors (like press freedom, GDP, gender equality, internal and external conflict etc). These are used to indicate peace levels and these are also some of the motivating factors for the popular unrest seen in places like Burkina Faso, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen etc. (As we all know) For these people-led movements it's not only about toppling an oppressive regime, but people also want to build better, more peaceful and more equitable societies.

There's more information on the site,but here's the summary of findings from Vision of Humanity:
  • The world is less peaceful for the third straight year
  • Due to an increased threat of terrorist attacks in 29 nations
  • A greater likelihood of violent demonstrations in 33 countries
  • Arab Spring unrest heralds biggest ever change in rankings, Libya tumbles 83 spots
  • Iceland bounces back from economic woes to top ranking
  • Somalia displaces Iraq as world’s least peaceful nation
  • Violence cost the global economy more than $8.12 trillion in 2010
  • US peacefulness shows minimal change


champacs said...

There are probably no statistics for Reunion Island because it's technically part of France, so there won't be statistics that are separate from those of France.

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