The Global Peace Index: what a difference peace makes

10 June 2010

Steve Killelea, Founder of Global Peace Index (GPI) and the Institute for Economics and Peace summarised the state of peace in the world in 2010. New Zealand is the most peaceful nation whereas Iraq remains the least peaceful nation for the second year in a row. Mr. Killelea presented the value of peace in economic terms, explaining that a 25% increase in global peacefulness would render $7.06 trillion plus $1.75 per annum for the world to finance things other than conflict.

Alasdair Ross, Global Product Director and Editor of the Economist Intelligence Unit outlined the methodology of GPI, explaining its use of 23 indicators and 33 potential determinants of peace to rank countries by their relative state of peace. Mr. Ross explained that GPI was known to be “rigorous and transparent”; its objective is to foster discussion on the “nature of peace”. He called for countries to promote an environment with low levels of internal conflict and corruption along with high economic strength, because such factors are “highly associated with peace”.

Nick Grono, Deputy President (Operations) of International Crisis Group highlighted the trends that GPI has brought to the surface. The most obvious is that the world has become less peaceful since four years ago, although peace is attainable. Overall, the world has seen a 40% decrease in conflict over the past 18 years. The GPI could provide policy-makers with tools to help them understand the economic benefits of peace and thus make true progress towards a more peaceful world.

Catherine Woollard, Executive Director of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office felt that there were many lessons to be gained from the behaviour, attitudes, and actions of the most peaceful nations, especially in terms of their intervention with other countries. She hoped that GPI’s findings will help peacebuilding and conflict prevention to become more integrated into policies of the EU and the actions of the EEAS.