What's the State of Peace in the World?

By: Kate Roff

Newsreader: Brandon Richardson

Peace increased in 93 countries over the last year, compared to 68 in which it deteriorated, according to the recently released 2017 Global Peace Index.

Iceland ranked the most peaceful country, followed by New Zealand. Syria was the least peaceful, after Iraq and Afghanistan. In the USA peace declined, ranking it number 114. Peacefulness in Canada improved, and it came in at number 8.

"The most important thing that we need to deal with issues of peace and war, economic development, is knowledge and information,” John Garamendi, US Representative (D-CA), told the Diplomatic Courier.

“And that's exactly what this global peace index does, it gives us the information about - first of all - factors that lead to a more peaceful society, a more peaceful country, and then the comparison, one country to another," he said.

Some of the more disheartening trends included the global decline of peace in over the last decade (2.14 percent), the number of refugees doubling in 2016, and terrorism deaths increasing 247 percent since 2008.

The global economic impact of violence was $14.3 trillion last year alone. That's 12.6 percent of the world's GDP, or $1,953 per person.

One of the big finds was the gap between the most peaceful countries and the least is widening – the more peaceful nations are improving, but situations in the least peaceful nations are getting worse. But the report also showed that globally, homicide rates have decreased, as has political terror in most regions.

If the world can decrease violence by 10 percent, then $1.43 trillion in spare economic resources could be generated. And every $1 invested in peacebuilding, can lead to a $16 decline in the cost of armed conflict.

Former US president Jimmy Carter told IEP that peace has to actively be part of international relations.

"The Carter Center's slogan is “waging peace”, instead of "waging war", but that means an aggressive effort in every troubled, international incident - to have peace as a pre-eminent consideration, and a goal," President Carter said.

For more information, and interactive maps, go to Vision of Humanity.