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2016

TEN YEARS OF
MEASURING PEACE

Quantifying Peace and its Benefits
The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit
think tank dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and
tangible measure of human well-being and progress.
IEP achieves its goals by developing new conceptual frameworks to define peacefulness;
providing metrics for measuring peace; and uncovering the relationships between
business, peace and prosperity as well as promoting a better understanding of the
cultural, economic and political factors that create peace.
IEP has offices in Sydney, New York, Brussels and Mexico City. It works with a wide range
of partners internationally and collaborates with intergovernmental organizations on
measuring and communicating the economic value of peace.
For more information visit www.economicsandpeace.org

CONTENTS

1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

2

RESULTS & FINDINGS

5

Highlights 6
2016 Global Peace Index rankings

2

8

Regional overview

10

Risers & fallers

16

GPI domain & indicator: Annual changes

20

TRENDS IN PEACE

23

Highlights 25

3

Trends in peace since 2008

26

Indicator trends

29

Long-term trends

33

GLOBAL ECONOMIC VALUE OF PEACE

41

Highlights 43
Methodology 44
Economic impact of violence: results

4

POSITIVE PEACE & SYSTEMS THINKING

51

Introduction

54

Systems thinking: the nation state & peace

58

Resilience and positive peace

62

Building positive peace recommendations for catalysing systemic change

70

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 16
5

46

73

Measuring Goal 16

76

Goal 16: peace, justice and strong institutions

77

APPENDICES
Appendix A: GPI methodology
Appendix B: GPI indicator sources, definitions and scoring criteria

94
95
99

Appendix C: Violence containment costs by country

108

Appendix D: 2016 GPI domain scores

110

END NOTES

113

REFERENCES

115

EXECUTIVE
SUMMARY
This is the tenth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks 163
independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.
Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the GPI is the world’s
leading measure of global peacefulness. This tenth anniversary report
presents the most comprehensive analysis to date on the trends in peace and
violence over the past ten years.

In addition to presenting the findings from the 2016 GPI
and a trend analysis, this year’s report includes an updated
assessment of the economic value of peace and new
research on the systemic nature of Positive Peace. Given the
importance of the new United Nations Sustainable
Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong
institutions, there is also a detailed audit of the current data
to determine how measurable Goal 16 is and where there
are gaps in coverage.
The GPI is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative
indicators from highly respected sources and now ranks 163
independent states and territories, covering 99.7 per cent of
the world’s population. The 2016 edition expands its
coverage by including Palestine for the first time. The index
gauges global peace using three broad themes: the level of
safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or
international conflict; and the degree of militarisation.
The tenth edition of the GPI finds that overall global levels of
peace continue to deteriorate while the gap between the most
and least peaceful countries continues to widen. The rising
global inequality in peace is important to highlight as it
masks some positive trends. While some of the most peaceful
nations have reached historic levels of peace, the least
peaceful nations have become even less peaceful. So intense
is the violence and conflict in the Middle East and North
Africa (MENA) region that, when looking at the rest of the
world, the average levels of peacefulness in fact increased.
Coinciding with the increasing internationalisation of the
MENA conflicts has been a renewed effort by many countries
to fund peacekeeping operations, with the timeliness of
payments for UN peacekeeping operations substantially
improving over the last ten years. There has also been a
notable ten per cent decrease in global military spending in
the last three years. The conflicts in MENA, however,
highlight the internationalisation of modern conflict.
Countries thousands of kilometres away are affected by
refugee flows or terrorism stemming from these conflicts.
The results of the 2016 GPI reinforce the underlying trend
of the last ten years. It finds the world has become slightly

2

less peaceful - by 0.53 per cent - when compared to the
prior year. Reflecting the growing inequality in peace,
slightly more countries improved than deteriorated, with 81
countries improving their peace scores while 79 countries
deteriorated. As the size of the deteriorations were larger
than the improvements, there was a decline in the average
country score. Two of the three domains of the GPI
deteriorated last year. Both the societal safety and security
and ongoing conflict domains recorded lower levels of
peace, while militarisation recorded a slight improvement.
The indicator with the largest improvement was UN
peacekeeping funding. This underscores the increasing
commitment of the international community to
maintaining adequate funding for peacekeeping operations.
The second largest improvement was for the security
officers and police rate indicator, with the number of
countries that have high levels of police and internal
security officers decreasing.
The two indicators with the largest yearly deterioration
were the impact of terrorism and political instability.
Deaths from terrorism increased by 80 per cent from last
year’s report with only 69 countries not recording a terrorist
incident. The intensity of terrorism also increased with the
number of countries suffering more than 500 deaths from
terrorist acts more than doubling, up from 5 to 11. The
second largest deterioration was in the political instability
indicator and was driven by large changes within many
countries spread across many regions. Among the countries
with the largest deteriorations were Djibouti, GuineaBissau, Poland, Burundi, Kazakhstan and Brazil.
Iceland is once again the world’s most peaceful country,
followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Portugal,
which improved nine places. The five countries at the
bottom of the index are all suffering from ongoing conflicts,
with Syria ranking least peaceful, followed by South Sudan,
Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Europe retains its position as the most peaceful region in the
world, accounting for six of the first seven places in the
global rankings. However, the average score for Europe

VIOLENCE

COSTS

13.3

%

deteriorated slightly, reflecting increases in the impact of
terrorism due to the large terrorist attacks in Paris and
Brussels as well as the escalation of violence and instability in
Turkey and its deteriorating relations with its neighbours.
The largest regional improvement occurred in Central
America and the Caribbean, recording an average
improvement of one per cent. The South and North
America regions made progress as well, while MENA
experienced the largest deterioration, followed by subSaharan Africa, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.
The historic ten-year deterioration in peace has largely
been driven by the intensifying conflicts in the MENA
region. Terrorism is also at an all-time high, battle deaths
from conflict are at a 25 year high, and the number of
refugees and displaced people are at a level not seen in sixty
years. Notably, the sources for these three dynamics are
intertwined and driven by a small number of countries,
demonstrating the global repercussions of breakdowns in
peacefulness. Many countries are at record high levels of
peacefulness, while the bottom 20 countries have
progressively become much less peaceful, creating
increased levels of inequality in global peace.
Over the past decade, the average country score
deteriorated by 2.44 per cent with 77 countries improving
while 85 countries deteriorated, highlighting the global
complexities of peace and its uneven distribution.
The number of refugees and displaced persons increased
dramatically over the decade, doubling from 2007 to 2015, to
approximately 60 million people. There are nine countries
with more than 10 per cent of their population classified as
refugees or displaced persons with Somalia and South Sudan
having more than 20 per cent of their population displaced
and Syria with over 60 per cent displaced.
The stand-out improvement over the period is UN
peacekeeping funding which improved by 12 per cent. The
other indicator with the most improvement is external
conflicts fought, however this has been offset by an increase
in internal conflicts fought. The two other indicators to
show improvement are armed service personnel and
military expenditure, both improving by five per cent. The
number of armed service personnel declined in 48 of the 51
countries classified as authoritarian, highlighting the shift
to more technologically advanced militaries.

The economic impact of violence on the global economy in
2015 was $13.6 trillion in purchasing power parity (PPP)
terms. This figure represents 13.3 per cent of the world’s
economic activity (gross world product) or $1,876 for every
person in the world. To put this in perspective, it is
approximately 11 times the size of global foreign direct
investment.
The economic analysis highlights how the economic losses
from conflict dwarf the expenditures and investments in
peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Peacebuilding and
peacekeeping expenditures represent only two per cent of
the global economic losses from conflict.
Further research on Positive Peace is presented in this
report, which conceptualises systems thinking and its
relationship to Positive Peace. Many of the challenges facing
humanity are fundamentally global in nature, such as
climate change, decreasing biodiversity, continued economic
instability and increasing migration. All of these challenges
are interconnected and multifaceted, requiring new ways of
conceptualising the relations between countries and the
larger systems upon which humanity depends. This report
contains an analysis of systems thinking and how it applies
to nation states, describing concepts of national intent, their
encoded norms, national homeostasis, self-modification and
mutual feedback loops to provide a new inter-dependent
framework and more holistic approach to understanding
peace and development.
The report also provides an analysis of countries’ resilience
to shocks and how levels of Positive Peace affect the
likelihood and impact of shocks and hazards. Countries with
high Positive Peace are more likely to maintain their
stability and adapt and recover from both internal and
external shocks. Low Positive Peace systems are more likely
to generate internal shocks, with 84 per cent of major
political shocks occurring in these countries. Similarly, there
are 13 times more lives lost from natural disasters in nations
with low Positive Peace as opposed to those with high
Positive Peace, a disproportionally high number when
compared to the distribution of incidents.
The final section of the report provides an audit of the
available data to measure Goal 16 of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs). For the first time, UN member
states have formally recognised the critical nature of
peacefulness in advancing global development. The 17 SDGs
are a new set of goals to target poverty, inequality, injustice
and climate change by 2030. Goal 16 relates to the
promotion of peace, justice and strong institutions.
IEP’s audit of the existing data for Goal 16 finds that whilst its
targets are only partly measurable, there is sufficient existing
data to adequately track progress. However, while indicative
progress can be gauged, there are still significant challenges
to data availability, disaggregation, reliability, timeliness and
objectivity. It will take significant time and investment for
countries to develop the necessary capacities to measure Goal
16. Independent assessment will be critical in plugging data
gaps and verifying the accuracy of national statistical data.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016

3

GLOSSARY
The following terms used throughout the 2016 Global Peace Index Report are defined
here for reference:

Correlation

Indirect cost of violence

The statistical relationship between two variables; how much one

Accounts for costs that accrue after the violent event and include indirect

variable changes in relation to another variable. IEP uses linear

economic losses, physical and physiological trauma to the victim and lost

correlations to compare the strength of the association between

productivity.

different variables.

Internal peace
Correlation coefficient

A set of indicators that measures how peaceful a country is inside its

A value between -1 and 1 that shows the strength of the correlation

national borders.

between two variables, where -1 indicates a perfect indirect correlation,
0 indicates no correlation and 1 indicates a perfect direct correlation.

Direct cost of violence
Costs which are directly attributed to a specific form of violence. Direct

Multiplier
A scaling factor used to adjust the value of one variable based on another
variable. For example, the economic impact of violence is calculated using
a multiplier of two.

costs include the cost of violence to the victim, the perpetrator and the
government. These include direct expenditures, such as the cost of

Negative Peace

policing.

The absence of violence or the fear of violence.

Economic impact of violence

Positive Peace

The expenditure and economic effect related to containing, preventing

The attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful

and dealing with the consequences of violence. The estimates include

societies. These same factors also lead to many other positive outcomes

the direct and indirect cost of violence as well as an economic

that support the optimum environment for human potential to flourish.

multiplier.

Encoded norms

Resilience
The ability of a country to absorb and recover from shocks, for example

The values by which society self-organises.

natural disasters or fluctuations in commodity prices.

External peace

Self-modification

A set of indicators that measures how peaceful a country is outside its

A process by which society modifies itself to accommodate new situations

national borders.

and challenges.

Global Peace Index (GPI) domains

Shock

§ Ongoing domestic and international conflict

A sudden change from inside or outside a nation-state system that has

Indicators of the number and intensity of ongoing civil and
international wars.

§ Societal safety and security
Indicators of the levels of safety and security within a country, such
as the perception of criminality in society, the level of political
instability and the rate of homicides and violent crimes.

§ Militarisation

the potential to cause harm.

Significant
Of high importance or noteworthiness.

Significant, statistically
A result that is unlikely to be due to chance alone, as measured
statistically using probability. A standard definition is a p-score of less

Indicators of a nation’s military capacity, both in terms of the

than .05. This means that there is only a 5% chance that the results of an

economic resources committed to the military and support for

analysis are due to chance.

multilateral operations.

Violence containment

4

Homeostasis

Economic activity related to the consequences or prevention of violence

A persistent state of self-regulating and balanced stability.

where the violence is directed against people or property.

RESULTS
& FINDINGS

HIGHLIGHTS

zz

zz

zz

zz

The world became slightly less peaceful in 2016, with

zz

The international community’s requirement for and

the average GPI country score deteriorating by 0.53

committment to UN peacekeeping funding reached

per cent.

record highs in early 2016.

Over the past year, 81 countries improved their

zz

The security officers and police rate decreased in

peacefulness, while 79 countries deteriorated. The

44 countries and increased in 29, with the biggest

average deterioration was larger than the average

reductions occurring in Kazakhstan, Moldova and

improvement, accounting for the global drop in score.

France.

The societal safety and security and ongoing

zz

Violent crime improved in 13 countries and deteriorated

conflict domains both deteriorated, while

in only five. The largest absolute change occurred in

militarisation recorded a slight improvement.

Libya.

The largest improvement was recorded in the UN

zz

The impact of terrorism deteriorated in 77 countries,

peacekeeping funding and security officers and police

while improving in 48. Only 37 of the 163 countries

indicators, while the largest deterioration occurred in

measured had no impact of terrorism. The largest

terrorism impact and political instability.

deterioration in this indicator was in the Middle East
and North Africa.

The 2016 Global Peace Index overall score deteriorated slightly
compared with 2015, and at a faster rate than the previous year.
Once again, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was the
region that saw its levels of peace deteriorate the most. Four
regions scored worse than the previous year, while three other
regions improved and two remained the same.
The score for MENA — already the least peaceful region in the
world — dropped further as numerous regional conflicts
persisted or escalated and new ones emerged. Notably, the civil
war in Syria broadened its international scope as a result of the
Russian intervention that began in September 2015 on the side of
the Syrian government. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia intervened in
Yemen’s ongoing civil war and the US-led coalition continued
airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the
Levant (ISIL). The campaigns in both Syria and Iraq have
intensified since the Paris terrorist attacks in November. In
contrast, Europe maintained its position as the most peaceful
region in the world, notwithstanding some deterioration in its
score. Although the region remains largely devoid of internal
conflict, the looming threat of terrorism continues to weigh on
the region’s prospects for further advances in peace.
With regard to societal safety and security, there were mixed
successes across the different regions. Only a small number of
countries experienced a change in either perceptions of
criminality or the level of violent crime and in both cases more
countries improved than deteriorated. The scores for the
number of jailed population per 100,000 people also roughly
cancelled each other out between the countries that had higher

8

incarceration rates last year and those that had lower. Notably,
only MENA and South America saw a rise in the level of violent
crime, which improved or remained static in all other regions.
South America and Central America and the Caribbean were
frequently the worst performers in the indicators relating to
societal safety and security, with the only exceptions being an
excessive incarceration rate in the United States and MENA’s
large numbers of internal security forces. The latter, however,
improved in all regions in 2016 except South Asia and MENA.
Less favourable were the results for political instability, which
worsened in 39 countries from 2015 to 2016. A striking case this
year was Brazil, where the trigger was a major corruption
scandal. This instability, however, has not yet translated into a
higher likelihood of violent demonstrations except in South Asia,
MENA, and sub-Saharan Africa, which were already at the
bottom of the rankings. At the same time, political terror
increased globally, with Europe recording the second biggest
deterioration worldwide, after Asia-Pacific. Despite this, Europe
is still the best placed region in the Political Terror Scale
rankings. The number of refugees and internally displaced
people also deteriorated across much of the world, with only a
modest improvement in South America failing to make up for
deteriorations in every other region. The most significant
deteriorations in this indicator were seen in Central America and
the Caribbean - mainly in the Golden Triangle countries of
Honduras and Guatemala, as well as MENA, where the outbreak
of war in Yemen has led to a humanitarian crisis.

81

Countries
became

MORE
PEACEFUL

79

LESS
PEACEFUL
(SINCE 2015)

The results for indicators related to ongoing domestic and
international conflict also varied widely. The number of deaths
from internal organised conflict lessened in three regions,
including modestly in MENA, but increased in four other
regions, particularly in Russia and Eurasia where the Ukraine
conflict continued. Although the global score for the number of
deaths from external organised conflict also deteriorated, the
average was heavily skewed due to the results from MENA, and
to a lesser extent South Asia; all other regions improved or
stayed the same. The number and duration of internal conflicts
improved in more countries than deteriorated, however, the
global average score did deteriorate due to the intensification
and persistence of war in Syria, Ukraine, the Central African
Republic and Libya. A greater number of countries deteriorated
for the number, duration and role in external conflicts, and
almost all regions did worse than in 2015. The biggest slump
came in North America, where the US remains mired in
numerous Middle Eastern conflicts as well as in Afghanistan.
The possibility of a political settlement in Syria and Yemen
would certainly boost the outlook for domestic and
international conflict in the coming year, but the persistence of
ISIL as a threat to the region suggests that outside powers will
remain engaged in the Middle East for some time. In line with
heightened external tensions, the average score for relations
with neighbouring countries deteriorated globally and in three
of nine regions. Perhaps most worrying from an international
security perspective is that impact of terrorism was the indicator
that deteriorated the most, even though three regions, Russia
and Eurasia, Central American and the Caribbean, and South

Asia, recorded improvements. Aside from MENA, Europe was
the region that suffered most from terrorism compared with last
year, with Turkey, France and Belgium among the most affected.
Belgium and France have struggled with home-grown Islamic
terrorism, which was highlighted by the terrorist attacks in Paris
in November 2015.
Finally, the indicators relating to militarisation recorded a
slight improvement on average. Although military expenditure
as a percentage of GDP continued to climb in over 70 countries
along with the volume of imports of major conventional
weapons, the number of armed services personnel per 100,000
people was down overall, with only a noticeable uptick in Russia
and Eurasia and Central America and the Caribbean, which in
the latter case mostly relates to domestic security concerns
rather than the risk of external conflict. Nuclear and heavy
weapons capabilities also eased. The region that remains at
highest risk of further militarisation is MENA, where numerous
countries are continuing to build up their conventional arsenals
and import an increasing number of weapons. The escalation of
existing conflicts in the Middle East, as well as the opening of
new fronts such as Yemen, will continue to encourage military
build-ups in neighbouring countries, particularly those that are
directly involved in these conflicts.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Results & Findings

9

RANK COUNTRY

SCORE

1

Iceland

1.192

11

Finland

1.429

21

Netherlands

1.541

31

Romania

1.649

2

1.246
1.278

12

1.433
1.445

23

Poland
Mauritius

1.557
1.559

32

13

Ireland
Bhutan

22

3

Denmark
Austria

33

Latvia
Costa Rica

1.680
1.699

4

New Zealand

1.287

14

Sweden

1.461

24

Slovakia

1.603

34

Qatar

1.716

5

1.356
1.360

15

1.465
1.486

26

Spain
Croatia

1.604
1.633

35

16

Australia
Germany

25

6

Portugal
Czech Republic

36

Uruguay
Estonia

1.726
1.732

7

Switzerland

1.370

17

Norway

1.500

27

Chile

1.635

37

Lithuania

1.735

8

1.388
1.395

18

1.528
1.534

29

Botswana
Bulgaria

1.639
1.646

38

19

Belgium
Hungary

28

9

Canada
Japan

39

Madagascar
Italy

1.763
1.774

10

Slovenia

1.408

20

Singapore

1.535

30

Malaysia

1.648

40

Zambia

1.783

2.148
2.148

111
111

Honduras
El Salvador

2.237
2.237

113

Niger

2.239

2.161
2.176

114

THE STATE OF PEACE

Very high
High
Medium
Low
Very low
Not included

2016 GLOBAL
PEACE INDEX
A SNAPSHOT OF THE GLOBAL STATE OF PEACE

RANK COUNTRY

79

Gabon
Paraguay

2.033
2.037

90
91

Swaziland
Morocco

2.074
2.086

101

80
81

Bolivia

2.038

92

The Gambia

2.091

82

2.044
2.045

92
94

Jamaica
Macedonia (FYR)

2.091
2.092

103

83

Greece
Bangladesh

84

Trinidad and Tobago 2.056

95

Guyana

2.105

85

Georgia
Cuba

2.057
2.057

96

85

97

Jordan
Sri Lanka

2.127
2.133

85

Peru

2.057

98

Angola

2.140

88

Burkina Faso
Haiti

2.063
2.066

99

Papua New Guinea 2.143
Dominican Republic 2.143

89

10

SCORE

99

101

Uganda
Guinea

105

United States of
America
Cambodia
Brazil

106

Belarus

2.202

116

Republic of the
Congo
Myanmar
Guinea-Bissau

106

Turkmenistan
Algeria

2.202
2.213

117

Guatemala

2.270

108

118

109

Uzbekistan

2.216

119

Cote d’ Ivoire
Ethiopia

2.279
2.284

110

Armenia

2.218

120

China

2.288

104

2.154

115

2.249
2.256
2.264

41

Taiwan

1.787

51

Kuwait

1.842

42

1.799
1.805

52

43

Indonesia
Sierra Leone

53

Laos
South Korea

1.852
1.858

44

Ghana

1.809

54

Albania

1.867

45

1.817
1.829

55

46

Malawi
France

56

Namibia
Timor-Leste

1.873
1.879

47

United Kingdom

1.830

57

Montenegro

1.884

48

1.834
1.837

58

49

Serbia
Panama

Tanzania
Vietnam

1.899
1.906

50

Mongolia

1.838

121

Djibouti

2.292

132

Bahrain

122

Tajikistan

2.293

133

Iran

123

2.295
2.297

134

124

Mauritania
Kyrgyz Republic

125

Thailand

126

69

Nicaragua

1.975

70
71

Senegal
Cyprus

1.978
1.994

72

Benin

1.998

72
74

Liberia
Oman

1.998
2.016

75

Kazakhstan

2.019

76
77

Ecuador
Kosovo

2.020
2.022

78

Nepal

2.026

62

Bosnia and
1.915
Herzegovina
United Arab Emirates1.931
Equatorial Guinea
1.940

63

Lesotho

1.941

64
65

Tunisia
Moldova

1.949
1.953

66

Togo

1.954

67
68

Argentina
Mozambique

1.957
1.963

2.398

143

Venezuela

2.651

154

Libya

3.200

2.411

144

Israel

2.656

155

Sudan

3.269

2.450
2.460

145

2.710
2.752

2.312

136

Chad

2.464

147

Colombia

2.764

2.316
2.322

137
138

Mali
Burundi

2.489
2.500

148

127

South Africa
Zimbabwe

149

Palestine
Nigeria

2.832
2.877

159

Ukraine
Central African
Republic
Yemen
Somalia

3.287

146

Turkey
Lebanon

156

135

Azerbaijan
Eritrea

128

Rwanda

2.323

139

Philippines

2.511

150

North Korea

2.944

160

Afghanistan

3.538

129

2.338
2.356

140
141

Mexico
India

2.557
2.566

151

130

Saudi Arabia
Cameroon

162

Iraq
South Sudan

3.570
3.593

131

Kenya

2.379

142

Egypt

2.574

Russia
3.079
Democratic Republic
3.112
of the Congo
Pakistan
3.145

161
163

Syria

3.806

59

60
61

152
153

157
158

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Results & Findings

3.354
3.399
3.414

11

REGIONAL
OVERVIEW

Year-on-year changes in peacefulness at the regional level are highlighted
in figure 1.1. The biggest improvement in peacefulness occurred in the
Central America and Caribbean region, with an average improvement of
two per cent. The other two regions in the Americas also recorded
improvements in peacefulness, while all other regions either deteriorated
or remained approximately the same.
The most significant deterioration by far occurred in MENA. The
average GPI country score deteriorated by over six per cent, with
the largest deteriorations occurring in Yemen (15.1 per cent),
Bahrain (7.2 per cent) and Libya (6.5 per cent).

EUROPE
Europe is once again the most peaceful geographical region in the
world according to the GPI. It now accounts for six of the top seven
places in the global rankings. The highest-ranking countries in the
world remain unchanged from 2015: Iceland, Denmark and
Austria. The largest improvement in the region was recorded by
Portugal, which built on gains last year to rise nine places to fifth
globally. This reflects continuing improvements in the context of
the country’s gradual return to political normality following its EU/

IMF economic and financial adjustment process. Notwithstanding
the difficulties faced by the left-of-centre government elected in
2015, Portugal has recorded a second year of improvements across
numerous dimensions, notably the likelihood of violent
demonstrations, but also the Political Terror Scale and political
instability. Among the other Eurozone countries to have exited
similar bailout arrangements, there were only minor movements:
Ireland roughly maintained its score while Spain and Cyprus saw
slight deteriorations. Cyprus maintained its rank of 71st in the
index. The one country that has yet to exit its bailout arrangement,
Greece, slipped back in this year’s index, amid continuing
difficulties with implementing the terms of the bailout,
compounded by the emergence of new risks of social unrest
associated with Europe’s migration crisis. Having jumped 22 places
in 2015, Greece dropped four places globally to 82nd this year.

FIGURE 1.1 GPI OVERALL SCORE CHANGE BY REGION, 2015 – 2016
The Middle East and North Africa continued to deteriorate in 2016, while Central
America and the Caribbean recorded the largest improvement.
Central America and the Caribbean
South America
North America
South Asia
Russia and Eurasia
Asia-Pacific
Sub-Saharan Africa
Europe
Middle East and North Africa
-0.03 -0.02 -0.01 0.00 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07

CHANGE IN GPI SCORE, 2015 TO 2016
More peaceful
Source: IEP

12

Less peaceful

Regionally, Greece lies in 34th place out of
the 36 European countries, ahead of only
the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(94th globally) and Turkey (145th).
Macedonia dropped 15 places between 2015
and 2016—the biggest slide down the global
rankings for a European country, followed
by Kosovo. However, Turkey saw the largest
deterioration in score for the region.
Notwithstanding the November 2015
terrorist attacks in Paris, improvements
related to violent demonstrations and levels
of policing more than offset deteriorations
in terrorism-related indicators for France.
The country fell by one place in the ranking
(to 46th). Belgium, another European
country to be affected by high-profile
terrorist attacks in recent months, dropped
down the global rankings by three places (to

18th), driven by a deterioration on the impact of terrorism score
and a sharp worsening of the level of perceived criminality in
society. The scores of two of the largest European countries, France
and the UK, are held down by very low rankings on external peace
indicators, in line with their repeated military engagements in
recent years.

TABLE 1.1 EUROPE RANKINGS
COUNTRY

OVERALL
RANK

OVERALL
SCORE

CHANGE IN
SCORE

REGIONAL
RANK

Iceland

1

1.192

-0.006

1

Denmark

2

1.246

0.023

2

Austria

3

1.278

-0.005

3

Portugal

5

1.356

-0.064

4

Czech Republic

6

1.360

-0.058

5

Switzerland

7

1.370

-0.006

6

Slovenia

10

1.408

-0.018

7

Finland

11

1.429

0.020

8

Ireland

12

1.433

0.004

9

Sweden

14

1.461

0.011

10

Germany

16

1.486

-0.019

11

Norway

17

1.500

-0.018

12

NORTH AMERICA
The North America region score remains almost as it was in 2015,
as a very minor deterioration in the score for Canada was offset by
a similar improvement in the US. North America remains the
second most peaceful region in the 2016 GPI. The past year was a
mildly encouraging one for the US. The country was instrumental
in driving a multilateral deal to restrict Iran’s use of nuclear
material to peaceful purposes and in the lifting of sanctions that
followed. Further diplomatic progress was made with Cuba,
another country historically considered an enemy by the US
government. However, US involvement in the armed conflict
against ISIL escalated, with thousands of airstrikes conducted in
Islamic State-held territory. This situation is reflected in a
deterioration in the score for number, duration and role in external
conflicts. Relations between the US and Russia have also
deteriorated further, with Russia’s support for the Syrian
government led by President Bashar al-Assad putting the former
Cold War enemies on opposite sides of that conflict. Closing the US
detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba remains an objective
of the president, Barack Obama, before he leaves office. Although
Canada’s score deteriorated in this edition, driven by ongoing
conflict and militarisation scores, the year actually saw
developments that ought to enable a future improvement in its
score. The election in October 2015 of a Liberal Party government
will result in the acceptance of thousands of Syrian refugees,
greater spending on humanitarian aid, and the withdrawal of
combat troops from missions in Iraq and Syria. These decisions
will all be beneficial for the country’s score.

Belgium

18

1.528

0.035

13

Hungary

19

1.534

-0.011

14

Netherlands

21

1.541

0.013

15

Poland

22

1.557

0.032

16

Slovakia

24

1.603

0.033

17

Spain

25

1.604

0.027

18

Croatia

26

1.633

0.002

19

Bulgaria

29

1.646

-0.023

20

Romania

31

1.649

0.010

21

Latvia

32

1.680

-0.017

22

Estonia

36

1.732

-0.018

23

Lithuania

37

1.735

0.006

24

Canada
United States of
America

Italy

39

1.774

0.004

25

France

46

1.829

0.014

26

United Kingdom

47

1.830

-0.016

27

Serbia

48

1.834

-0.013

28

Albania

54

1.867

-0.016

29

Montenegro

57

1.884

-0.007

30

Bosnia and
Herzegovina

60

1.915

-0.004

31

Cyprus

71

1.994

0.016

32

Kosovo

77

2.022

0.035

33

Greece

82

2.044

0.019

34

Macedonia (FYR)

94

2.092

0.042

35

Turkey

145

2.710

0.090

36

REGIONAL AVERAGE

1.660

TABLE 1.2 NORTH AMERICA RANKINGS
COUNTRY

OVERALL
RANK

REGIONAL AVERAGE

OVERALL
SCORE

CHANGE
IN SCORE

REGIONAL
RANK

8

1.388

0.014

1

103

2.154

-0.012

2

1.771

The largest improvement
in the region was recorded
by Portugal.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Results & Findings

13

ASIA-PACIFIC

CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

The Asia-Pacific region ranked third after Europe and North
America in the GPI. The level of peace in the region has remained
largely unchanged since 2015. However, a number of countries
have improved their score this year including Indonesia, TimorLeste, Myanmar and Thailand. Heightened tensions in the South
China Sea will continue to impact external relations between the
three main nations concerned, China, Vietnam and the
Philippines. Nevertheless, although the likelihood of further
military skirmishes in the disputed waters is high, a large-scale
military engagement remains unlikely. Political instability has
hampered peace in Cambodia. The rapprochement appears to have
ended between the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the
opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which may influence
internal conflict indicators in the coming year. The likelihood of
mass anti-government protests is remote but the number of people
unjustifiably detained will no doubt continue to increase.
Thailand’s modest improvement in its score has been driven largely
by its efforts to improve relations with neighbouring countries,
particularly Cambodia, an age-old rival. Domestic peace in
Thailand however, is somewhat forced as the military rule junta
has strongly cracked down on any form of dissidence and many
anti-junta protesters and supporters of the previous populist
government have been arrested over the past year. Following the
successful completion of peaceful elections, Myanmar made
significant progress in reducing political instability. Furthermore,
the signing of a multiparty ceasefire in October 2015 means that
the risk of conflict is now more contained in smaller parts of the
country’s border areas. As a result, the country has risen 12 places
in the global rankings. New Zealand, Japan and Australia have
remained the most peaceful countries in the region.

Despite the region’s myriad security-related issues, the average
score in Central America and the Caribbean improved
sufficiently for it to overtake South America in the regional
rankings and to position itself slightly above the global average
in 2016, scoring fourth place overall. The region’s top three
performers are again Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua.
Panama had the greatest improvement in the score within the
region and jumped 24 places in the global rankings due to a
lower likelihood of violent demonstrations and political
instability in 2015, which followed elections in 2014. All three
top performers are characterised by low levels of militarisation.
Costa Rica in particular has no standing armed forces, although
border disputes have occasionally arisen. The only two countries
which rose in the regional rankings were Trinidad and Tobago
and El Salvador, owing to a reduction in the number of jailed
population per 100,000 people, and an improvement in the
Political Terror Scale, respectively. Despite this, both countries
still face significant challenges for peace, particularly El
Salvador, which has suffered from an escalation in urban
violence ever since a truce between rival mara gangs broke
down in 2014. Honduras also faces similar gang-related issues.
Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and Guatemala all fell in the regional
rankings even though all of them—except for Guatemala—saw
improvements in their score, particularly in the indicators
relating to internal peace. Finally, Mexico remains at the bottom
of the regional ranking as a result of a mild score deterioration
driven by a rising military and security presence and the
increased number of displaced people resulting from the
ongoing drugs war. In broad terms, Central America and the
Caribbean will continue to benefit from the absence of intraregional conflicts, and minimal nuclear and heavy weapons
capabilities among them, although domestic security issues—
mainly in the form of crime—will remain the region’s biggest
obstacle to peace.

TABLE 1.3 ASIA-PACIFIC RANKINGS
COUNTRY

OVERALL
RANK

OVERALL
SCORE

CHANGE
IN SCORE

REGIONAL
RANK

New Zealand

4

1.287

-0.019

1

Japan

9

1.395

0.031

2

Australia

15

1.465

0.025

3

Singapore

20

1.535

-0.007

4

Malaysia

30

1.648

0.025

5

Taiwan

41

1.787

0.020

6

Indonesia

42

1.799

-0.006

7

Mongolia

50

1.838

0.042

8

Laos

52

1.852

0.029

9

South Korea

53

1.858

0.026

10

Timor-Leste

56

1.879

-0.013

11

Vietnam

59

1.906

0.007

12

Papua New Guinea

99

2.143

0.031

Cambodia

104

2.161

Myanmar

115

2.256

COUNTRY

OVERALL
RANK

OVERALL
SCORE

CHANGE IN
SCORE

REGIONAL
RANK

Costa Rica

33

1.699

0.000

1

Panama

49

1.837

-0.069

2

Nicaragua

69

1.975

-0.013

3

Trinidad and
Tobago

84

2.056

-0.026

4

Cuba

85

2.057

-0.006

5

Haiti

89

2.066

-0.011

6

Jamaica

92

2.091

-0.009

7

Dominican
Republic

99

2.143

0.005

8

13

-0.005

14

Honduras

111

2.237

0.004

9

-0.035

15

El Salvador

111

2.237

-0.024

9

117

2.270

0.021

11

140

2.557

0.003

12

China

120

2.288

-0.001

16

Guatemala

Thailand

125

2.312

-0.049

17

Mexico

REGIONAL AVERAGE

Philippines

139

2.511

-0.010

18

North Korea

150

2.944

-0.011

19

REGIONAL AVERAGE

14

TABLE 1.4 CENTRAL AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN
RANKINGS

1.940

2.102

SOUTH AMERICA

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Despite a slight improvement in the overall score since last year,
South America as a region dropped one notch in the global
rankings—now fifth out of nine regional groupings, overtaken
by Central America and the Caribbean, albeit by a very narrow
margin. In the past year, South America has continued to
benefit from low levels of international conflict and
militarisation, given the lack of any significant external conflicts
affecting the region and relatively low spending on developing
heavy weapons or financing large armies. Relations among
neighbouring countries are mostly peaceful, despite the odd and
periodical tension between Venezuela and neighbouring
Colombia and Guyana. This year, Venezuela’s score for relations
with neighbouring countries deteriorated as tension escalated.
This situation reflects domestic political attempts to boost
nationalism amid deep economic and political difficulties for
the government of President Maduro, which is fighting for
survival. There are also historical border tensions, channelled
via the International Court of Justice, between Chile and Peru
and Chile and Bolivia, regarding gaining sea access for the
latter. In terms of internal peace, the region overall performs
below the global average in spite of slight improvements in most
countries. Argentina and Venezuela and, to a lesser extent,
Guyana and Peru are the exceptions. There has been an increase
in persecution of political dissidents in Argentina, under the
government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, as well as in
Venezuela. On 10 September 2015, Leopoldo López, a
Venezuelan opposition leader, was sentenced to 13 years and
nine months in prison for public incitement to violence. For
both countries this situation is reflected by a weaker
performance on the Political Terror Scale. Greater political
instability in Venezuela has also contributed to this year’s score
deterioration. Overall, the regional rankings continue to be led
by Chile and Uruguay, which rank 27th and 35th, respectively,
out of 163 analysed countries. Venezuela, in 143th position, and
Colombia, in 147th, close the regional classification.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s average score deteriorated slightly,
although it continues to rank ahead of Russia and Eurasia,
South Asia, and MENA. The deterioration of the average score
masks sharp variations in country performance. For example,
stronger relations with neighbouring countries—driven by
efforts to bolster regional security co-operation—helped
improve the score of countries such as Chad, Mauritania and
Niger. Unfortunately though, the threat posed by Islamist
terrorist groups has continued to weigh on the score of many
countries in the Sahel and West African region. In other
countries, the holding of elections has driven improvements in
overall scores. Most notably, Nigeria experienced its first
democratic transition following the presidential election,
reflected in an improvement in its score on political instability.
Guinea and the Central African Republic (CAR) also saw their
scores improve as political stability strengthened following the
holding of elections, although the CAR remains among the
worst-performing countries in the region. South Africa was a
top-five improver globally—though it still ranks a lowly 126th
worldwide—driven by an improvement in the Political Terror
Scale, as well as a reduction in arms trade and military
spending. After falling 42 places in the 2015 GPI, Djibouti’s
rank has fallen a further 19 places in the 2016 index as social
unrest and resentment against the government’s authoritarian
rule have continued to intensify in the run-up to the April 2016
presidential election. Burundi also performed poorly as the
country slid towards civil war following the incumbent
president’s controversial efforts to cling onto power by seeking a
third term in office, which his opponents claimed was
unconstitutional. Burkina Faso saw its score deteriorate too, as
insecurity and crime levels deteriorated as a result of the
turbulent political transition following the ousting of the
country’s long-time president in late 2014. Côte d’Ivoire was one
of the best performers in the 2015 GPI but fell back in the latest
index as the fragile security situation in the sub-region was
undermined by the March 2016 terrorist attack in GrandBassam on an Ivorian seaside resort.

TABLE 1.5 SOUTH AMERICA RANKINGS
COUNTRY

OVERALL
RANK

OVERALL
SCORE

CHANGE IN
SCORE

REGIONAL
RANK

Chile

27

1.635

-0.005

1

Uruguay

35

1.726

-0.031

2

Argentina

67

1.957

0.006

3

Ecuador

76

2.020

-0.011

4

Paraguay

80

2.037

-0.020

5

Bolivia

81

2.038

-0.015

6

Peru

85

2.057

-0.014

7

Guyana

95

2.105

0.003

8

Brazil

105

2.176

0.007

9

Venezuela

143

2.651

0.034

10

Colombia

147

2.764

-0.012

11

REGIONAL AVERAGE

2.106

South America has continued
to benefit from low levels of
international conflict and
militarisation.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Results & Findings

15

RUSSIA AND EURASIA
TABLE 1.6 SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA RANKINGS
COUNTRY

OVERALL
RANK

OVERALL
SCORE

CHANGE IN
SCORE

REGIONAL
RANK

Mauritius

23

1.559

0.023

1

Botswana

28

1.639

-0.018

2

Madagascar

38

1.763

-0.015

3

Zambia

40

1.783

-0.020

4

Sierra Leone

43

1.805

-0.012

5

Ghana

44

1.809

0.001

6

Malawi

45

1.817

0.056

7

Namibia

55

1.873

-0.002

8

Tanzania

58

1.899

0.001

9

Equatorial Guinea

62

1.940

-0.015

10

Lesotho

63

1.941

0.014

11

Togo

66

1.954

-0.004

12

Mozambique

68

1.963

0.002

13

Senegal

70

1.978

0.039

14

Benin

72

1.998

0.010

15

Liberia

72

1.998

0.023

15

Gabon

79

2.033

0.027

17

Burkina Faso

88

2.063

0.076

18

Swaziland

90

2.074

-0.017

19

The Gambia

92

2.091

-0.020

20

Angola

98

2.140

0.028

21

Uganda

101

2.148

-0.040

22

Guinea

101

2.148

-0.030

22

Niger

113

2.239

-0.032

24

Republic of the
Congo

114

2.249

0.001

25

Guinea-Bissau

116

2.264

-0.003

26

Cote d’Ivoire

118

2.279

0.040

27

Ethiopia

119

2.284

0.002

28

Djibouti

121

2.292

0.054

29

Mauritania

123

2.295

-0.044

30

South Africa

126

2.316

-0.047

31

Zimbabwe

127

2.322

0.009

32

Rwanda

128

2.323

-0.009

33

Cameroon

130

2.356

0.011

34

Kenya

131

2.379

0.007

35

Eritrea

135

2.460

0.022

36

Chad

136

2.464

-0.025

37

Mali

137

2.489

0.011

38

Burundi

138

2.500

0.065

39

Nigeria

149

2.877

-0.022

40

Democratic
Republic of the
Congo

152

Central African
Republic

157

3.354

-0.024

42

Somalia

159

3.414

0.032

43

South Sudan

162

3.593

0.001

44

REGIONAL AVERAGE

16

3.112

2.234

-0.001

41

Russia and Eurasia’s position in the global ranking remains
unchanged in the 2016 GPI, with the third worst regional score.
The biggest improvements in score within the region were
registered by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The largest
deteriorations in score were registered by Tajikistan and
Ukraine. In Tajikistan this reflects the rise in the risk of internal
conflict, driven by the increasingly authoritarian rule of the
president, Emomali Rahmon, and a serious economic
downturn. In September 2015, a major conflict within the elite
led the government to accuse the deputy minister of defence,
Abdulhalim Nazarzoda, of treason. A firefight between
government troops and his supporters led to the death of at
least 45 people. For some countries, the aggregate scores
masked divergent trends on different metrics. In the case of
Ukraine, for example, a second ceasefire agreement signed in
February 2015 led to a significant reduction in fighting in the
conflict in the east of the country. Nevertheless, its score was
dragged down by a sharp rise in militarisation. In the case of
Russia, while hostilities were dampened down in the Donbas
region of Ukraine, in September their air force launched a
major bombing campaign in Syria. The five-and-a-half-month
campaign—ostensibly aimed at combating Islamic State, but
largely serving to shore up the regime of President Bashar
al-Assad—was the country’s first military engagement outside
the post-Soviet space since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The campaign led to a serious diplomatic standoff with Turkey
in November, after the latter downed a Russian attack aircraft it
claimed had violated Turkish airspace. In March 2016 President
Vladimir Putin declared that Russia would withdraw the “main
part” of its forces, as its principal military objectives had been
met. However, with peace negotiations unlikely to yield a lasting
settlement, lower-level Russian military involvement may
continue.

TABLE 1.7 RUSSIA & EURASIA RANKINGS
COUNTRY

OVERALL
RANK

OVERALL
SCORE

CHANGE
IN SCORE

REGIONAL
RANK

Moldova

65

1.953

-0.002

1

Kazakhstan

75

2.019

-0.028

2

Georgia

85

2.057

-0.015

3

Belarus

106

2.202

-0.035

4

Turkmenistan

106

2.202

0.000

4

Uzbekistan

109

2.216

-0.028

6

Armenia

110

2.218

-0.014

7

Tajikistan

122

2.293

0.021

8

Kyrgyz Republic

124

2.297

-0.003

9

Azerbaijan

134

2.450

0.006

10

Russia

151

3.079

-0.007

11

Ukraine

156

3.287

0.078

12

REGIONAL AVERAGE

2.356

SOUTH ASIA
South Asia’s position remained unchanged at eighth out of the
nine regions. Overall, the individual overall scores of
Afghanistan, Nepal and India deteriorated, while for Bhutan,
Sri Lanka and Pakistan, scores improved modestly. Internal
security concerns were heightened in Bangladesh and Nepal
owing to anti-government protests that have led to an increased
number of detainees. In terms of regional rank, most countries
have remained unchanged, with Bhutan remaining the most
peaceful and Afghanistan the least. Following the withdrawal of
most international forces from Afghanistan, the security
situation has remained volatile. Domestic security forces have
struggled to contain militant violence, which has posed threats
beyond Afghan borders. This has caused its relations with
neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan, to deteriorate.
Despite the Pakistani government’s crackdown on domestic
terrorist activities by Islamist militant groups, the country has
remained hostage to organised conflict, with rising numbers of
casualties over the past year. The influence of the Taliban from
Afghanistan has been particularly strong. As a result, Pakistan
remains second from the bottom in South Asia. India’s scores
for ongoing domestic and international conflict and
militarisation have deteriorated slightly. The country remains
vulnerable to acts of terror and security threats at its shared
border with Pakistan. As such, the number of deaths caused by
externally organised terror strikes has risen over the year. Sri
Lanka saw the greatest upswing in its score in the region. The
country successfully conducted two sets of elections in 2015—
presidential in January and parliamentary in August which
brought a reformist administration with a strong mandate. The
country’s increased peacefulness is also due to better relations
with neighbouring countries, particularly India.

TABLE 1.8 SOUTH ASIA RANKINGS
COUNTRY

OVERALL
RANK

OVERALL
SCORE

CHANGE
IN SCORE

REGIONAL
RANK

Bhutan

13

1.445

-0.033

1

Nepal

78

2.026

0.058

2

Bangladesh

83

2.045

0.003

3

Sri Lanka

97

2.133

-0.053

4

India

141

2.566

0.006

5

Pakistan

153

3.145

-0.001

6

Afghanistan
REGIONAL AVERAGE

160

3.538

0.010

7

2.414

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
The Middle East and North Africa region, which was already
ranked the lowest in the GPI, saw the biggest deterioration in its
score in 2015, as the civil wars in Syria and Yemen deepened and
led to increased external intervention. Yemen, whose longstanding political crisis exploded into outright civil war in early
2015, witnessed a large slump, driven by the rising casualty rate, a
huge increase in refugees and internally displaced people, and
worsening terror attacks by both al-Qaeda in the Arabian

Peninsula and ISIL. Yemen’s travails have also affected the
rankings of some of the country’s neighbours; for example, the
UAE’s military intervention in the war, which included
dispatching ground troops to southern Yemen, has affected that
country’s scores for ongoing domestic and international conflict
and militarisation. The growing role of foreign powers in Syria’s
debilitating civil war, which has now led to the deaths of between
250,000 and 470,000 people, has had an impact, with, most
notably, Jordan launching waves of air strikes in January 2015
after one of its pilots was captured and executed by the Islamic
State. Likewise, despite its size, Bahrain has fully participated in
both the Yemen and Syria campaigns, which has in turn resulted
in an uptick in its military spending and driven its significant
score deterioration. Besides intervening abroad however,
governments are now having to respond to the growing domestic
threat posed by ISIL as demonstrated by the poorer terrorism
scores for Saudi Arabia, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. The latter two
experienced a plunge in foreign arrivals following terrorist attacks
on tourist targets. Nevertheless, the regional trend is not
universally negative: Sudan, Iran and Oman, saw improvements
in their scores. In addition, improvements on the Political Terror
Scale and financial contributions to UN peacekeeping missions
helped Iran strengthen its score. Finally, despite the failure to
progress peace efforts with the Palestinians, a slight alleviation in
political instability and military expenditure as a percentage of
GDP helped garner a small improvement in Israel’s overall score.

TABLE 1.9 MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA RANKINGS
COUNTRY

OVERALL
RANK

OVERALL
SCORE

CHANGE
IN SCORE

REGIONAL
RANK

Qatar

34

1.716

-0.024

1

Kuwait

51

1.842

0.061

2

United Arab
Emirates

61

1.931

0.017

3

Tunisia

64

1.949

-0.024

4

Oman

74

2.016

-0.028

5

Morocco

91

2.086

0.017

6

Jordan

96

2.127

0.024

7

Algeria

108

2.213

-0.024

8

Saudi Arabia

129

2.338

0.042

9

Bahrain

132

2.398

0.072

10

Iran

133

2.411

-0.032

11

Egypt

142

2.574

0.047

12

Israel

144

2.656

-0.037

13

Lebanon

146

2.752

-0.002

14

Palestine

148

2.832

-

15

Libya

154

3.200

0.065

16

Sudan

155

3.269

-0.024

17

Yemen

158

3.399

0.151

18

Iraq

161

3.570

0.006

19

Syria

163

3.806

0.011

20

REGIONAL AVERAGE

2.554

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Results & Findings

17

RISERS
& FALLERS

Ongoing troubles in MENA resulted in three out of the five main
fallers coming from that region. Yemen had the largest drop in
the score, falling nine positions to 158th as its civil war expanded
into a regional conflict. Ukraine came in with the second largest
deterioration and was down four positions to 156th due to a
shaky truce between government and separatists. Turkey was the
next worse performer, falling seven slots to 145th due to
heightened conflict with its Kurdish population, deteriorated
relations with neighbouring countries (mainly Russia) and
increased terrorism impact. It was followed by Libya, down three
places to 154th on account of persisting factionalism, terrorism
and a rise in perceptions of criminality. Finally, Bahrain tumbled
23 positions on the index to 132nd due to worsening relations
with Iran, a rising rate of incarceration and a deterioration in the
ease of access to small arms and light weapons.

49

IA

RI

–0.118

–0.113

125

97

126

AU
R

–0.120

M

UT

H

IT
AN

AF

KA
AN

SO

–0.136

SR

TH

IL

AI

LA

AM

A

ND

CA

A lowered score signifies
an improved state
of peace

PA
N

Panama recorded the largest score improvement in this year’s
GPI, rising 24 positions in the rankings to 49th. It was followed
by Thailand, which rose nine positions (albeit to a still-low
125th). Sri Lanka was up by 18 places to 97th while South Africa
jumped seven slots to 126th. Mauritania was the next best
improver, gaining eight positions to 123rd. Across the top risers
there was an improvement in internal peace, with indicators
related to internal conflict improving in Mauritania, South
Africa and Sri Lanka, and reduced likelihood of violent
demonstrations in Panama, Sri Lanka and Thailand. However,
notwithstanding increased levels of internal stability, in some
cases this was not accompanied with a strengthening of
democracy (Thailand, South Africa and Mauritania all
deteriorated in the EIU Democracy Index). Finally, military
expenditure fell in all five countries except Thailand, while
relations with neighbouring countries improved in Sri Lanka
and Thailand.

Change in
score 2015/16

–0.104
123

GPI rank
2016

132
154
145

156

+0.237

UK
158

RA

+0.161

+0.224

TU
IN

E

RK

+0.197

LIB
YA

BA
H

RA

IN

EY

+0.446

Across the top risers there was
an improvement in internal
peace, with indicators related
to internal conflict improving in
Mauritania, South Africa and
Sri Lanka.

18

YE

M

EN

An increased
score signifies
a deterioration
in the state of peace

SRI LANKA

TOP FIVE NATIONAL
IMPROVEMENTS IN PEACE

RANK 97

–0.118

Change in score 2015/16

 18

Change in rank 2015/16

PANAMA
Change in score 2015/16
Change in rank 2015/16

RANK 49

–0.136

 24

Panama was the country that improved most in the rankings both
in score and rank, with the main gain stemming from
improvements in its domestic situation. This was driven by a
reduction in the likelihood of violent demonstrations and to a lesser
extent, political instability as well as an improved performance on
the Political Terror Scale. There was also a corresponding decline
in the security officers and police rate although the overall score for
this indicator was still higher than the global average. A more
stable political environment after the February 2014 elections
contributed to this improvement in internal peace, as it has
coincided with initially strong support for president Juan Carlos
Varela, as well as large infrastructure projects that are currently
sustaining fast growth. The country also appeared less militarised
than in the previous year. There was a reduction in military
expenditure as a percentage of GDP as well as in the volume of
imports of major conventional weapons.

THAILAND
Change in score 2015/16
Change in rank 2015/16

RANK 125

–0.120

9

Thailand had the second-highest absolute improvement in the
2016 GPI, although in relative terms it rose only nine places. Its
principal gains were in terms of its relations with neighbouring
countries—mainly Cambodia, with whom its relationship has
been a source of friction in the past—as well as a reduction in
the likelihood of violent demonstrations, the level of violent
crime, and the number of jailed population per 100,000 people,
although the latter remains among the highest in the world.
Thailand experienced a military coup d’état in 2014, but a
gradual return to normality following years of instability and
mass demonstration has been a positive factor in explaining the
country’s overall improvement. However, this has come at the
cost of an erosion of the Thailand’s democratic institutions as it
does not appear likely that the military will relinquish power
anytime soon. Furthermore, the country has seen an increase in
military spending as well as in the volume of imports of major
conventional weapons, and remains at risk of terrorism.

Sri Lanka saw strong gains in both internal and external peace,
enabling it to jump up 18 positions in the rankings, the
second-largest rank improvement overall. Improvements in
political instability, likelihood of violent demonstrations and
number and duration of internal conflicts all contributed to the
enhancement in its domestic situation. Driving these trends was
a strengthening of the country’s democratic institutions during
the administration of Maithripala Sirisena, who continues to
make strides in combating corruption and reverse the
authoritarianism of the previous administration. In addition,
his government has continued to pursue a strategy of ethnic
reconciliation following the end of the civil war in 2009. Sri
Lanka has improved its ties with India, which is reflected in an
improvement in its score for relationships with neighbouring
countries. Military expenditure has also been cut as threats to
internal stability gradually dissipate, but the country’s impact of
terrorism score deteriorated slightly.

SOUTH AFRICA

RANK 126

Change in score 2015/16
Change in rank 2015/16

–0.113

7

South Africa’s domestic situation improved strongly in 2015,
lifting the overall score and pushing the country up seven places
in the ranking. Improvements in the intensity of organised
internal conflict and the Political Terror Scale were the main
drivers of growing levels of internal peace, even though, in
absolute terms, the scores for these indicators are weaker than
the global average and the country still suffers from major
institutional deficiencies that could hinder further consolidation
of peace. Its overall rank of 126th is the lowest among the five
biggest risers. There was some evidence of reduced
militarisation, including reduced weapons imports and exports
as well as lower military expenditure. Risk of underlying unrest
remained high in 2015, and was exacerbated by the country’s
high crime rate which was also reflected in a rise in the number
of jailed population per 100,000 people. Consolidation of power
by the ruling ANC and a weak and mistrusted security
apparatus will weigh on internal stability, which means the
country may find it hard to build on its progress going forward.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Results & Findings

19

MAURITANIA

RANK 123

–0.104

Change in score 2015/16

8

Change in rank 2015/16

Mauritania’s improvements in its domestic situation
contributed strongly to the gains in the overall score, but it was
the improvement in ongoing conflict and militarisation scores
that was the main factor. Mauritania has been recovering from
its own internal conflicts and has occasionally been affected by
violent conflict in neighbouring countries, principally Mali.
Financial contributions to UN peacekeeping missions was the
biggest contributor to the improvement in its score. There has
also been a reduction in the deaths from internal conflict as well
as in the number and duration of internal conflicts due to
greater efforts by the government to tackle extremism. Despite
its heightened role in regional security, the country became less
militarised: military expenditure fell, as did the number of
armed services personnel, although this was partly offset by a
rise in weapons imports. The Political Terror Scale also
deteriorated as the government of Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
cemented his authority.

UKRAINE
Change in score 2015/16
Change in rank 2015/16

YEMEN

TURKEY

Change in score 2015/16
Change in rank 2015/16

Change in rank 2015/16

RANK 158

+0.446
9

Yemen suffered by far the steepest deterioration in its GPI score.
In early 2015, its ongoing civil war escalated into a regional
conflict due to the intervention of a coalition of Arab states led by
Saudi Arabia and including almost every other Gulf state. This
resulted in a campaign of airstrikes and ground operations and,
coupled with the existing conflict between domestic factions, has
created a major humanitarian crisis. The result has been a
massive rise in the number of refugees and internally displaced
people as well as a rise in deaths from internal conflict. Societal
safety and security factors, including perceptions of criminality,
likelihood of violent demonstrations and the Political Terror
Scale, have also deteriorated significantly. The presence and
participation of al-Qaeda and ISIL affiliates further increases the
risk of terrorism and instability in the future.

20

+0.237

4

Ukraine’s GPI score deteriorated further in 2015 on account of
the continuation of the conflict with pro-Russian separatists in
the Donbas region that began in 2014. On the positive side,
there were greater efforts to end the fighting, notably after the
Minsk II agreement in February 2015, even though skirmishes
are a regular occurrence. A lasting settlement appears elusive,
however, owing to a reluctance to implement the peace deal
from both the Russian and Ukrainian sides. Most indicators
relating to domestic conflict deteriorated in 2015, as did the
Political Terror Scale. The country also became more
militarised: military expenditure as a share of GDP was up as
were weapons exports and the armed services personnel rate.
Ukraine’s internal stability also remains a cause for concern
given slow progress on tackling corruption and in reforming
state institutions.

Change in score 2015/16

TOP FIVE NATIONAL
DETERIORATIONS IN PEACE

RANK 156

RANK 145

+0.224
7

In 2015 Turkey suffered from a deepening of its internal security
woes, a continued hard-line approach by the government of
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and spillovers from the conflict in
neighbouring Syria. The main trigger for the deterioration in
the domestic situation was the resurgence of conflict between
the state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as well as a
rise in terrorist activity, mostly on the part of ISIL. The intensity
of and the number of deaths from internal conflict have both
deteriorated. Erdoğan’s tough stance against internal dissent
has resulted in an increase in the number of jailed population as
well as a rise in the number of security officers and police.
Turkey’s relations with neighbouring countries also deteriorated
in 2015 on account of frictions with Russia after its Syrian
intervention. Turkey shot down a Russian attack aircraft which
allegedly strayed into its airspace in November 2015. It has also
been at odds with the EU over a solution to the refugee crisis.
Although elections in 2015 consolidated Erdoğan’s authority, the
excessive concentration of power in his hands, together with the
numerous internal and external security threats, provides highly
unpredictable prospects for sustained peace.

LIBYA
Change in score 2015/16
Change in rank 2015/16

RANK 154

+0.197

3

Libya remains mired in the fallout from the 2011 NATO
intervention which, despite successful in its initial military
aims, left the country vulnerable to factionalism and infiltration
by terrorist groups. Governability had been rendered ineffective
as a result of warring factions that set up separate governments
in the eastern and western halves of the country. An additional
threat to peace is the presence of ISIL, among other jihadist
groups, which has taken advantage of the post-intervention
chaos to establish a foothold in the country. It is believed that
ISIL forces in Libya are the strongest outside of Syria and Iraq,
and the ineffectiveness of either existing government in
combating them represents a major threat to peace. A high level
of violent crime has been a major drag on the internal and
overall scores, as has been a rise in the Political Terror Scale
and, to a lesser extent, political instability. Meanwhile, the
scores for militarisation have deteriorated due to the sharp rise
in military expenditure and weapons imports, along with a
reduction in financial contributions to UN peacekeeping
missions.

BAHRAIN
Change in score 2015/16
Change in rank 2015/16

Yemen suffered by
far the steepest
deterioration in its
GPI score.

RANK 132

+0.161
23

Bahrain fell 23 positions in the overall ranking due to a
deterioration in ongoing conflict and militarisation scores. This
was driven by its participation in the Saudi-led coalition in
Yemen; the country has contributed both air and ground forces
to the operation, which likely contributed to its increasing
military expenditure and weapons imports. At the same time, a
downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran explains a deterioration
in the score for relations with neighbouring countries. The
domestic situation also deteriorated as a result of a continuing
crackdown by the government of the king, Hamad bin Isa
al-Khalifa, against dissenters—some of whom have undertaken
peaceful opposition, while others have employed violence. As
part of this crackdown, the number of jailed population has
increased. Meanwhile, the ease of access to small arms has risen,
which could be a prelude to greater internal instability.
Notwithstanding the monarchy’s hard-line stance, it has
attempted to present itself as a moderate and reformist
institution, although it is still unclear (and unlikely) that this
will translate into an improvement in its domestic situation.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Results & Findings

21

GPI DOMAIN & INDICATOR

ANNUAL CHANGES

The world became slightly less peaceful in 2016, with the average country
GPI score deteriorating by 0.53 per cent. This is the second straight year
that the average GPI score has slightly deteriorated, with the average levels
of peacefulness now very close to its low point, which was reached in 2012.
The world is now less peaceful than it was in 2008, as shown in
figure 1.2, with year-on-year levels of peacefulness having
declined in five out of the last eight years. Given the increasing
levels of terrorism and large population displacement caused by
internal conflict, this trend is likely to continue into at least the
near future.

The deterioration in peacefulness in 2016 was not evenly
distributed. In fact, more countries saw improvements in peace
than deteriorations, with 81 experiencing improvements
compared to the prior year, against 79 which became less
peaceful. However, the average deterioration in peacefulness was
larger than the average improvement, with 11 countries having

FIGURE 1.2 GPI OVERALL SCORE TREND AND YEAR-ON-YEAR PERCENTAGE CHANGE, 2008-2016

2.11
2.10
2.09

GPI OVERALL SCORE

More peaceful

Less peaceful

The world became less peaceful in 2016, and is now considerably less peaceful than in 2008.

2.08
2.07
2.06
2.05
2.04
2.03
2.02

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

1.32%
1.06%
0.53%

0.38%

0.24%

-0.24%
-0.43%

Source: IEP

22

-0.38%

FIGURE 1.3 GPI YEAR-ON-YEAR SCORE CHANGE AND COUNTRY CHANGES BY DOMAIN, 2015 –2016
The ongoing conflict and societal safety and security domains both deteriorated on average, however, militarisation improved from
2015 to 2016.

Militarisation

GPI overall score

Safety & security

Ongoing conflict
-0.020

-0.005

0.000

0.005

0.010

0.015

0.020

0.025

CHANGE IN AVERAGE DOMAIN SCORE, 2015 TO 2016
More peaceful

Less peaceful
1

2

76

84

79
86

Militarisation

77

81

GPI overall score

54

Safety & security

54
54

No change
Less peaceful
More peaceful

Ongoing conflict

Source: IEP

deteriorations of greater than five per cent, compared to only four
countries with improvements of greater than five per cent.
Looking at the three GPI domains of societal safety and security,
ongoing conflict and militarisation, the average deterioration was
also larger than the average improvement. The societal safety and
security and ongoing conflict domains both recorded significant
deteriorations, as shown in figure 1.3. Deteriorations on the
ongoing conflict domain were largely concentrated in a small
handful of countries, most notably Egypt and Turkey. Five of the
ten largest deteriorations on this domain occurred in countries
from the Middle East and North Africa region. Whilst the
militarisation domain did improve, the size of the improvement
was much smaller.
The largest single indicator deterioration was terrorism impact,
which declined by nearly ten per cent, as shown in figure 1.4.
The average terrorism impact indicator score has now
deteriorated for four years in a row and is over 20 per cent
worse than in 2008. Increases in terrorist activity occurred
across a number of regions, with prominent attacks occurring in
France, Belgium, Turkey and Pakistan in the last six months
alone. In total, 77 countries recorded a deterioration in the
impact of terrorism, and of the 25 largest increases, nine
occurred in OECD countries.

The average political instability score deteriorated by just
under five per cent, with large deteriorations in Djibouti,
Guinea-Bissau and Poland. However, there was an improvement
in Egypt, Nigeria and Sudan, three countries which have
suffered from significant instability in recent years. The one
other indicator to show a significant deterioration was the
Political Terror Scale, with notable deteriorations in Greece,
Argentina, South Korea, Ukraine and Yemen. However, the
average Political Terror Scale score of 2.58 is still better than the
worst year in 2009.
Both military expenditure and external conflicts fought
deteriorated by around four per cent in 2016, highlighting an
increase in external conflict. However, these deteriorations
come on the back of several years of improvement in both
indicators, particularly military expenditure. The deterioration
in external conflicts fought was driven by countries becoming
embroiled in already existing regional conflicts, with Jordan’s
strong military response to ISIL leading it to have the largest
overall deterioration. In MENA, Bahrain, the United Arab
Emirates and Saudi Arabia also became more strongly involved
in regional conflict, whilst in sub-Saharan Africa, Niger, Chad,
South Sudan and Cameroon experienced significant
deteriorations in their external conflicts fought score.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Results & Findings

23

FIGURE 1.4 FIVE LARGEST INDICATOR IMPROVEMENTS AND DETERIORATIONS, 2015 - 2016
Of the indicators that changed the most from 2015 to 2016, terrorism and political instability had the largest deteriorations, with only
UN peacekeeping funding showing a large improvement.

UN peacekeeping funding
Security officers and police
Violent crime
Incarceration
Violent demonstrations
External conflicts fought
Military expenditure
Political Terror Scale
Refugees and IDPs
Terrorism impact
-0.15

-0.10

-0.05

-0.00

0.05

0.10

CHANGE IN AVERAGE INDICATOR SCORE, 2015 TO 2016
More peaceful

Less peaceful

Source: IEP

Of the indicators that improved the most, the largest single
improvement occurred in the UN peacekeeping funding
indicator, followed by the security officers and police rate
indicator. According to the most recently available data, the
security officers and police rate decreased in 37 countries and
increased in just 24, with the largest reductions in police force
size occurring in Kazakhstan, Moldova and France. The security
officers and police rate also declined in the United States for the
fourth consecutive year, with the country now scoring well
below the global average on this indicator.
After several years of deterioration, the violent demonstrations
and violent crime indicators both improved slightly. There was a

24

significant fall in the chance of violent demonstrations in Nigeria,
Panama, Sudan and Uruguay, albeit with a concurrent increase
in Yemen, Senegal, Nepal, Djibouti, Cote d’Ivoire and Burundi.
The violent crime indicator improved in 13 countries and
deteriorated in just five, although the largest absolute change
occurred in Libya, where the violent crime indicator moved
from 3.5 to the maximum possible score of 5. Libya is now one
of only 20 countries to have the worst possible score on the
violent crime indicator.

TRENDS
IN PEACE

THE WORLD HAS BECOME 2.44% LESS PEACEFUL SINCE 2008
What has been driving the change in peacefulness?

32,715

DETERIORATIONS

8,466

286%

Deaths from terrorism increased by

5
101,406

19,601

BATTLE DEATHS

INCREASED

OVER FIVE FOLD

In 2015, the UNHCR recorded
over 57 million:
- refugees
- internally-displaced people,
- and others of concern

60
50
40
30
20
10
0

IMPROVEMENTS

34%

65%
24

106

countries

reduced military expenditure as a % of GDP.

HIGHLIGHTS

The world has become less peaceful over the last decade, with a
deterioration of 2.44 per cent in the average country GPI score.
„„ The fall in peacefulness was not evenly distributed
around the globe. Seventy-seven countries actually
became more peaceful over this period compared
to 85 which deteriorated. Most of the deterioration
in peacefulness was concentrated in four areas: the
Middle East and North Africa, northern sub-Saharan
Africa, Central America and the countries dividing
Russia from Europe, particularly Ukraine.
„„ The region with the largest deterioration in
peacefulness was the Middle East and North Africa.
It had the largest average deterioration on seven of
the 23 GPI indicators. Most of these changes were
linked to the conflict in Syria and the increase in the
number of refugees and IDPs.
„„ On average, internal indicators deteriorated while
external indicators improved. The biggest
deteriorations occurred in terrorism impact,
refugees and IDPs and deaths from internal conflict,
while the biggest improvements occurred in military
expenditure, armed service personnel rate and
external conflicts fought.
„„ Two indicators improved by more than ten per cent,
external conflicts fought and UN peacekeeping
funding.
„„ The terrorism impact indicator had the greatest
overall deterioration, with all but two regions
recoding an increase in terrorism over the past
decade.
„„ The total number of deaths from terrorism rose from
less than 10,000 in 2008 to over 30,000 in 2014.
„„ Terrorism is at historical levels, battle deaths are at a

„„ Internal peace and the societal safety and security
domain declined every year for the past eight years.
„„ The armed services personnel rate declined in 39 of
the 51 countries classified as authoritarian regimes
since 2008.
„„ The number of refugees and IDPs indicator,
deteriorated across all regions and for all
government types since 2008.
„„ Nine countries have more than ten per cent of their
population displaced in some form, with Somalia
and South Sudan both having more than 20 per cent
and Syria over 60 per cent.
„„ In the long term trend, since the end of the Second
World War, there have been a number of positive
and negative trends in peacefulness.
„„ Firstly, there has been a shift away from conflict
between nations to conflict within nations, with a
parallel shift away from external militarisation to a
focus on internal security.
„„ As internal conflict became more prominent,
external parties are now more likely to become
involved, or to suffer from the consequences of
violence as local conflicts turn into regional or even
continental crises.
„„ Finally, while societal safety and security has been
improving, there has been a large increase in
expenditure related to containing violence, such as
policing and incarceration over the past 50 years, as
an absolute inflation-adjusted figure, and also as a
percentage of total government spending.

25 year high, and the number of refugees is at a
level not seen in sixty years.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Trends in Peace

25

TRENDS IN PEACE
SINCE 2008

The overall trend for the past nine years recorded a decrease in
peacefulness across multiple domains, regions and indicators. The
deteriorating trend in peacefulness was dominated by decreases in
internal security in the MENA region. Of the improvements in
peacefulness, the majority occurred on indicators related to external
peace and militarisation, with both average military expenditure and the
armed services personnel rate improving over the past decade.
Figure 2.1 shows an index chart of the percentage change by
domain and subdomain from 2008. While all of the domains
initially deteriorated over the first two years of the index, both
external peace and militarisation improved over the past five
years. This was driven by increases in UN peacekeeping
funding, smaller numbers of army personnel and reduced
military spending. By contrast, internal peace and safety and
security declined every year for the past eight years, and
although there was some improvement on the ongoing conflict
domain from 2010 to 2015, recent increases in conflict mean
that the average ongoing conflict domain score is two per cent
higher in 2016 than in 2008.

The change in peacefulness since 2008 was not equally
distributed across countries, regions and government types as
shown in table 2.1. At the indicator level, the greatest change
occurred on terrorism impact, which deteriorated in every
region other than South Asia. There was a deterioration of over
15 per cent in seven regions, and deterioration across all four
government classifications: full democracy, flawed democracy,
hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. The only other
indicator that deteriorated across nearly as many regions and
government types was the refugees and IDPs indicator, which
deteriorated across eight regions and for all government types
other than full democracies. Of the indicators that improved,
the armed services personnel rate fell in seven regions, as did
UN peacekeeping funding.

FIGURE 2.1 GPI SCORE CHANGE BY DOMAIN, 2008 — 2016

More peaceful
Less peaceful

PERCENTAGE CHANGE SINCE 2008

While external peace and militarisation improved slightly, internal peace and societal safety and security
had large deteriorations.
-3

-1

External peace

0
1

Ongoing conflict

2
3

Internal peace
Safety & security

4
5

Source: IEP

26

Militarisation

-2

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

TABLE 2.1 PERCENTAGE CHANGE MATRIX FOR ALL GPI INDICATORS AND DOMAINS BY REGION AND GOVERNMENT TYPE,
2008 TO 2016

AUTHORITARIAN REGIME

FLAWED DEMOCRACY

2.1%

2.5%

2.3%

5.7%

-1.0%

-0.5%

2.0%

Safety & security

0.5%

3.0%

1.5%

14.2%

-2.2%

-1.2%

5.7%

3.1%

4.3%

6.7%

1.7%

0.8%

3.5%

Ongoing conflict

-3.4%

3.4%

-4.7%

20.6%

-13.3%

-0.3%

-3.8%

-0.9%

1.5%

8.4%

-3.5%

-7.6%

0.5%

Militarisation

-6.7%

-0.6%

-2.7%

1.5%

0.6%

-1.7%

-2.3%

3.9%

-3.9%

-1.9%

-4.8%

4.5%

-2.0%

Perceptions of criminality

1.9%

34.3%

4.4%

22.0%

0.0%

-2.6%

13.9%

4.5%

4.3%

9.6%

7.5%

5.3%

8.7%

Police

6.2%

-7.2%

-3.8%

11.1%

-13.6%

-6.5%

4.8%

18.4%

0.7%

6.9%

-1.7%

2.0%

-3.0%

-4.9%

5.4%

-9.2%

-1.7%

-12.9%

-14.3%

-1.8%

-3.9%

-0.7%

0.7%

-4.6%

-4.9%

-6.0%

5.8%

20.6%

2.1%

1.4%

-0.1%

-11.7%

24.7%

10.3%

1.3%

3.7%

3.9%

-0.8%

8.5%

Access to firearms

-8.5%

2.4%

-0.6%

11.4%

0.0%

0.0%

2.7%

0.0%

-3.6%

0.8%

-1.0%

0.0%

-1.7%

Intensity of internal conflict

-4.8%

13.6%

1.9%

31.1%

0.0%

0.0%

14.3%

-6.4%

1.2%

13.0%

5.5%

-5.0%

-2.9%

Violent demonstrations

6.5%

-10.8%

14.5%

18.3%

33.3%

5.7%

4.3%

15.2%

4.8%

6.0%

8.3%

11.5%

7.6%

Violent crime

-2.1%

1.1%

2.3%

21.3%

0.0%

-8.8%

5.6%

-4.8%

8.4%

7.8%

3.0%

-7.3%

3.4%

Political instability

-8.5%

-11.2%

13.4%

4.2%

0.0%

3.9%

-5.7%

-3.1%

4.1%

3.5%

-0.4%

5.3%

-1.4%

Political terror scale

-2.9%

-7.6%

-15.3%

3.6% -25.0%

7.5%

-3.4%

-3.9%

-2.2%

0.9%

-8.7%

-12.5%

-2.9%

7.9%

9.2%

-10.4%

19.7%

3.8%

22.2%

7.0%

17.3%

8.1%

23.8%

-7.6%

-0.2%

13.7%

Terrorism

21.7%

7.8%

24.1%

26.9%

39.9%

16.4%

13.6%

-3.6%

30.6%

22.4%

16.5%

25.5%

23.2%

Internal conflicts fought

-4.2%

24.8%

-1.6%

4.5%

0.0%

10.5%

-19.3%

-6.7%

-3.0%

1.4%

-8.6%

-1.6%

-0.5%

Conflicts deaths (internal)

10.4%

33.3%

-2.7%

44.4%

0.0%

41.9%

-2.4%

3.7%

14.7%

27.4%

1.9%

0.0%

21.5%

Military expenditure

-17.6%

4.4%

-11.5%

5.8%

-12.5%

-0.8%

-7.3%

7.9%

-6.4%

-3.8%

-9.1%

-5.2%

-1.4%

Armed services personnel

-4.5%

2.2%

-5.6% -20.0%

-4.6%

-2.0%

-0.8%

6.2%

-3.2%

-9.8%

-3.1%

-5.2%

-3.4%

UN peacekeeping funding

-22.9%

-16.3%

6.2%

-9.0%

-14.8% -23.8%

-16.7%

10.4%

-12.4%

-15.4%

-11.4%

13.2%

-11.9%

Nuclear and heavy weapons

0.6%

-0.1%

-6.4%

-4.6%

-0.3%

-5.3%

0.7%

0.2%

0.9%

-2.5%

-1.4%

-5.1%

-1.1%

Weapons exports

7.5%

0.0%

5.6%

0.9%

13.4%

10.8%

0.4%

-0.1%

0.7%

3.0%

-5.3%

24.7%

2.6%

Refugees and IDPs

1.9%

11.4%

2.6%

83.8%

0.0%

29.2%

35.9%

26.6%

15.7%

29.8%

11.1%

0.0%

26.9%

Neighbouring country relations

1.1%

-8.3%

8.8%

20.1%

0.0%

5.0%

-13.0%

5.6%

-6.1%

5.7%

1.8%

-5.0%

0.5%

-20.9%

-35.7%

-31.5%

24.7%

-4.1%

-49.5%

0.0%

4.6%

45.5%

15.0%

-31.4%

-15.2%

-7.2%

-4.8%

-1.1%

-4.9%

6.0%

-39.5%

2.4%

0.0%

7.5%

0.0%

-1.4%

0.3%

-13.3%

2.4%

Homicide
Incarceration

Weapons imports

External conflicts fought
Conflict deaths (external)

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Trends in Peace

HYBRID REGIME

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

-0.6%

FULL DEMOCRACY

SOUTH ASIA

-4.8%

RUSSIA AND EURASIA

13.9%

NORTH AMERICA

-1.3%

EUROPE

2.3%

CENTRAL AMERICA AND
CARIBBEAN

-2.0%

ASIA-PACIFIC

GPI overall score

INDICATOR

SOUTH AMERICA

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Terrorism deteriorated across most regions, while the Middle East and North Africa had the largest number of indicators deteriorating.

27

Regionally, the largest deteriorations occurred in the Middle East
and North Africa, which deteriorated on average across 19 of the
23 indicators. Many of the deteriorations in the region were
highly correlated, as increasing internal conflict led to increasing
perceptions of criminality, higher levels of violent crime, greater
government repression, the outbreak of terrorism and
widespread population displacement. While the average GPI
score in the Middle East and North Africa deteriorated by 14 per
cent, no other region had an improvement or deterioration of
more than five per cent.

deaths. There were also smaller deteriorations for the intensity
of internal conflict, violent demonstrations and perceptions of
criminality indicators. No indicator improved by more than 15
per cent, with only external conflicts fought and UN
peacekeeping funding improving by more than ten per cent.
The past decade has seen a continuation of longer term trends
in peacefulness away from external conflicts between states and
towards more internal conflicts within states. Although it is too
early to state whether the decrease in peacefulness represents a
reversal of the ‘long peace’ that started at the end of the Second
World War, there are a number of worrying signs that suggest
conflict could escalate. The increase in terrorism across regions
highlights the ability of terrorist groups to ‘export’ violence
beyond national boundaries, as demonstrated by the increase in
terrorist attacks in OECD countries in the past year. Similarly,
the entanglement of more nations into the Syrian conflict,
coupled with the enormous outflow of displaced people, shows
that even internal conflicts cannot be quarantined and their
repercussions can be felt across borders and even continents.

Figure 2.2 depicts the percentage change in average indicator score
for those indicators that improved or deteriorated by more than
five per cent. In total, ten indicators had large fluctuations, with six
deteriorating and four improving. All four indicators that improved
are measures of external peacefulness, while five of the six
indicators that deteriorated are measures of internal peacefulness.
The single greatest indicator change occurred on terrorism
impact, which deteriorated by more than 20 per cent on
average, followed by refugees and IDPs and internal conflict

FIGURE 2.2 GPI PERCENTAGE CHANGE FROM 2008 TO 2016 BY INDICATOR

More peaceful
Less peaceful

PERCENTAGE CHANGE SINCE 2008

Six indicators deteriorated by more than five per cent, with four improving by more than five per cent.
-20%

External conflicts fought
UN peacekeeping funding

-15%
-10%

Armed services personnel
Military expenditure

-5%
0%

Intensity of internal conflict
Violent demonstrations
Perceptions of criminality

5%
10%
15%

Conflicts deaths (internal)

20%

Refugees and IDPs
Terrorism impact

25%
2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Source: IEP

The single greatest indicator change occurred on terrorism impact, which
deteriorated by more than 20 per cent on average, followed by refugees and IDPs
and internal conflict deaths.

28

INDICATOR
TRENDS

TERRORISM

While still accounting for a small percentage of the total
number of violent deaths, terrorism has grown steadily over the
past decade. The number of yearly incidents has almost tripled
since 2011, and the number of deaths has increased to over
30,000. The total level of terrorist activity increased by 80 per
cent from 2013 to 2014, the largest increase in the years covered
by the Global Terrorism Database, which has data back to 1970.
Estimates created by IEP suggest that the level of terrorism
shows no sign of abating in 2015 and early 2016.

FIGURE 2.3 TERRORIST INCIDENTS AND DEATHS FROM
TERRORISM, 2006-2014
The number of deaths from terrorism has risen dramatically
since 2011, from under 10,000 to over 30,000.
35,000

Deaths

30,000

Incidents

15,000
10,000
5,000
-

2006

2008

2010

2012

Although there are many hundreds of active terrorist groups in
the world, most are responsible for only a few deaths or no
deaths at all. The responsibility for the majority of deaths comes
from just a few large terrorist groups, with Boko Haram and
ISIL being responsible for over 50 per cent of deaths by known
actors. Both of these groups also function as combatants in
existing civil and territorial disputes, with ISIL being involved
in more than 20,000 battle-related deaths in addition to over
6,000 deaths from terrorism.
The past year has also seen a large increase in the number of
deaths from terrorism in the west. The number of deaths from
terrorism has more than doubled in Europe (excluding Turkey)
over the last five years, with the vast majority of these deaths
occurring in early 2016. France, Belgium and the US have all
experienced a significant terrorist attack in the last six months.
Prior to the recent upswing in terrorism in the West, the majority
of deaths from terrorism in Europe and North America since
2001 were caused by lone wolf attacks, usually from individuals
with radical nationalist and anti-government ideologies.

25,000
20,000

The majority of terrorist activity is highly concentrated in five
countries: Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.
Between them these countries accounted for 78 per cent of
deaths from terrorism in 2014. However, there are signs that
terrorism is becoming more common across the globe, with
almost every region having an increase in its terrorism impact
score from 2008 to 2016. The number of countries with over
500 deaths from terrorism increased from five to 11 between
2013 and 2014. At the other end of the scale, the number of
countries which recorded no terrorist incidents at all decreased
from 49 in 2008, to 37 in 2016 out of 163 countries.

2014

Source: Global Terrorism Database

FIGURE 2.4 DEATHS FROM TERRORISM IN EUROPE (EXCLUDING TURKEY) AND NORTH AMERICA, 2006 TO 2015/16
In the last five years the number of deaths from terrorism has doubled compared to the previous five years in both Europe
and North America.

DEATHS FROM TERRORISM

300

2012-2016
(281)

North America

250

Europe

200
2006-2011
(126)

150

2012-2016
(79)

100
2006-2011
(24)

50
0

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015/16

Europe

North America

Source: IEP, Global Terrorism Database

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Trends in Peace

29

REFUGEES AND IDPS

The increase in conflict over the last decade has resulted in a very
large increase in the number of refugees and internally displaced
people (IDPs), with the number of refugees increasing from 9.8
million in 2006 to over 15 million in 2015, a 52 per cent increase
in under a decade. The increase in the number of IDPs was even
more dramatic, rising from just under 12.8 million in 2006, to 34
million in 2015, an increase of 166 per cent.
FIGURE 2.5 TOTAL REFUGEES, IDPS AND OTHER
POPULATIONS OF CONCERN TO UNHCR

REFUGEES, IDPS, AND OHTERS
OF CONCERN, MILLIONS

The number of refugees, IDPs, and other populations of
concern has almost doubled since 2007.
70
60
50
40

DEATHS FROM INTERNAL CONFLICT

Others of Concern
IDPs
Refugees

30
20
10
0
2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Source: UNHCR

The conflict in Syria was responsible for the vast majority of this
increase. In 2007, just 0.1 per cent of the Syrian population was
classified as refugees or IDPs. This figure rose to an
extraordinary 63.18 per cent in 2015. The majority of these were
internally displaced, although in 2015 and 2016 an increasing
number began to leave the country, triggering the so-called
European refugee crisis.
Whilst no other country comes close to having as many refugees
and IDPs as a percentage of its population as Syria, there are
nine other countries with more than ten per cent of their
population displaced in some form, with Somalia and South
Sudan both having more than twenty per cent of their
population displaced. The majority of these countries are in the
Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, or sub-Saharan
Africa regions, with only Colombia and Cyprus being located
outside of these three areas.
State failure, conflict and terrorism were the major drivers of the
increase in refugees and IDPs, with the largest increases coming in
countries engaged in protracted civil conflict. Outside of Syria,
conflicts in Yemen, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and
Ukraine all led to huge increases in the displaced population, from
below one per cent to 9.3, 6.8, 4.3, and 3.9 per cent respectively.

30

The vast majority of refugees from conflict in the Middle East
and North Africa are being hosted in nearby countries, with
Turkey alone hosting an estimated 1.8 million refugees.
Pakistan, Lebanon and Iran all hosted over or close to a million
refugees as of mid-2015. There has been a large increase in the
number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe, with UNHCR
estimates suggesting that over a million refugees reached
Europe by sea alone in 2015. The majority of asylum claims in
Europe are being processed in Germany, with an estimated
159,900 asylum applications in the first half of 2015 alone.
However, on a per capita basis Sweden is the European country
which has taken in the most refugees, with approximately 1.5
per cent of the population being refugees in mid-2015.

The number of deaths from internal conflict increased
considerably over the last decade, rising from just under 36,000
in 2005-2006 to over 305,000 in 2014-2015. The majority of
this increase is the result of conflict in Syria. Even if internal
deaths from Syria are excluded from the calculations there was
still a near five-fold increase in internal conflict deaths over the
history of the GPI. Sri Lanka, India, Chad, Ethiopia and
Colombia were the only countries that saw significant
reductions in the number of deaths from internal conflict.
Conversely, 16 countries had increases of over 1,000 deaths,
with the largest increases occurring in Syria, Mexico, Iraq,
Nigeria and Afghanistan.
Figure 2.6 highlights the nine countries with the largest increase
in the number of deaths from internal conflict, excluding Syria.
Mexico had an explosion of violence after the government
initiated crackdown on cartel activity in 2007, and although the
country has begun to become more peaceful over the last few
years, the conflict still claimed over 30,000 lives in 2013-2014,
which is just under the total number of people killed in terrorist
incidents worldwide. The formation of ISIL led to a resurgence of
deaths in Iraq, rising to over 32,000 and there was also a
re-escalation of the conflict environment in Afghanistan, which
experienced a 427 per cent increase in yearly internal conflict
deaths from the 2008 GPI to the 2016 GPI, from 4210 to 22,170.
Of the nine countries (excluding Syria) with the most internal
conflict deaths in the 2016 GPI, only three had a significant
number of deaths nine years prior, with the rest experiencing
breakouts of entirely new conflicts. In Nigeria, Boko Haram
became the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world in 2014,
seriously threatening the country’s internal stability. On top of
terrorism, in 2014 Nigeria had 18,000 deaths from internal
conflict. In Yemen, the long simmering Houthi insurgency first
led to the Yemeni revolution in 2011, followed by the still
ongoing Yemeni civil war. The number of internal conflict
deaths has risen steadily as a result of this escalation, leading to
over 10,000 deaths in the last two years.

Of the nine countries
(excluding Syria) with
the most internal
conflict deaths in the
2016 GPI, only three
had a significant
number of deaths nine
years prior, with the
rest experiencing
breakouts of entirely
new conflicts.

FIGURE 2.6 COUNTRIES WITH THE MOST INTERNAL CONFLICT DEATHS, 2016
(EXCLUDING SYRIA)
Of the nine countries (excluding Syria) with the most internal conflict deaths in the
2016 GPI, only four had any internal conflict deaths in 2008.

Mexico
Iraq
Afghanistan
Nigeria
Yemen

2016 GPI

South Sudan
Ukraine

2008 GPI

Central African Republic
Pakistan
0

5,000

10,000

15,000

20,000

25,000

30,000

35,000

Source: IEP, IISS Armed Conflict Database

EXTERNAL CONFLICTS FOUGHT

The average external conflicts fought score fell 15 per cent
between 2008 and 2016, from 1.71 to 1.48, as shown in figure 2.7.
The external conflicts fought indicator measures not only the
number of external conflicts, but also the duration and role that
states have in conflicts outside of their own borders.

coalitions, but a number of countries withdrew from their roles
in more prominent external conflicts, leading to an
improvement in the overall score.
In 2010, 58 nation states were involved in 206 external
conflicts. Multiple groups can be involved in a conflict with each
conflict pairing being recorded separately. In 2014, this number
had increased to 85 states involved in 310 conflicts. Of the 210
conflict pairings that were active in 2010, only 111 were still
active in 2014, with 199 being new conflict pairings.

The average external conflicts score improved from 2008 to
2016. However, the number of states involved in external
conflicts actually increased over this period even though the
average duration of conflicts and the role played by external
actors fell. More countries entered into smaller roles in

FIGURE 2.7 AVERAGE EXTERNAL CONFLICTS FOUGHT INDICATOR SCORE,
2008 TO 2016 GPI
The average external conflicts fought score fell 15 per cent, with the largest decrease
occurring between 2010 − 2015.
EXTERNAL CONFLICTS FOUGHT
BANDED SCORE

Less peaceful

More peaceful

1.9
1.8
1.7
1.6
1.5
1.4
1.3
1.2
1.1
1.0
2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Source: IEP

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Trends in Peace

31

16 per cent, and both flawed democracies and hybrid regimes
showed average improvements of over ten per cent.

ARMED SERVICES PERSONNEL AND
MILITARY EXPENDITURE

The fall in the armed service personnel rate was not strongly
correlated with a fall in military expenditure, with many countries
increasing weapons expenditure outlay while also reducing the
total number of troops, reflecting a longer term shift away from
larger standing armies to more technology and capital intensive
weapons systems. Figure 2.9 highlights the change in average
military expenditure by government type from 2008 to 2016.

The average armed services personnel indicator declined from
2008 to 2014, as several countries sought to cut back on military
expenditure and reduce the size of their standing armies. This is a
continuation of a trend that began almost twenty years ago, with
the number of active military personnel dropping from over 30
million in 1995 to under 29 million in 2011.

The average level of military expenditure as a percentage of
GDP declined in both full democracies and flawed democracies.
However, there was considerably more variation in the trend in
authoritarian regimes and hybrid regimes, which both
experienced steep declines from 2010 to 2012, followed by a
steady increase in military expenditure for the past four years.
The largest increase over the full time period occurred in
Afghanistan, where military expenditure rose from 1.66 per cent
of GDP to 15.75 per cent in less than a decade. Libya, Oman,
Algeria and Syria also had large increases.

Figure 2.8 shows the change in the average armed services
personnel rate by government type. All four government types
experienced a fall in the average armed service personnel rate, with
the biggest average fall occurring in authoritarian regimes, which
fell by 18 per cent. Part of this fall can be explained by the
dissolution or fragmentation of government forces in Syria and
Libya, however, the armed services personnel rate fell in 48 of the
51 countries classified as authoritarian regimes. The second biggest
improvement occurred in full democracies, with an average fall of

FIGURE 2.8 CHANGE IN AVERAGE ARMED SERVICES PERSONNEL RATE BY
GOVERNMENT TYPE, 2008-2016
All four government types experienced falls in the armed forces rate over the past
decade.
ARMED SERVICES PERSONNEL
PER 100,000 PEOPLE

800
700
600

Authoritarian
regime

500

Flawed
democracy

400

Hybrid regime
Full democracy

300
200

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

The fall in the armed
service personnel
rate was not strongly
correlated with a fall
in military
expenditure.

2016

Source: UNODC, IEP Calculations

FIGURE 2.9 CHANGE IN AVERAGE MILITARY EXPENDITURE (%GDP) BY GOVERNMENT TYPE, 2008 - 2016
Military expenditure increased as a percentage of GDP in authoritarian regimes, but fell in full and flawed
democracies.
MILITARY EXPENDITURE (% GDP)

4.0

Authoritarian regime

3.5
3.0
2.5

Hybrid regime

2.0

Flawed democracy
Full democracy

1.5
1.0
0.5
0.0
2008

2009

Source: IISS, IEP Calculations

32

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

LONG-TERM
TRENDS
There is a strong consensus that even though the world has become much
less violent since the end of the Second World War, the last decade has seen
an increase in conflict and violence, although whether this is a temporary
reversal or the start of a new longer-term trend remains to be seen.
Many of the approaches to measuring peace focus on conflict
and war, ignoring the other dimensions affecting peacefulness,
particularly those indicators that measure resources devoted to
containing or dealing with violence, such as internal security,
police, incarceration or counter-terrorism. While lower levels of
violence can be achieved by increasing spending in these areas,
this does not necessarily represent a more peaceful world if this
decline in violence has only been achieved by devoting more
resources to security.
Reconstructing a version of the GPI back to the end of the
Second World War is not possible, owing to large data gaps
across both indicators and countries. However, it is possible to
assemble the existing data and group these datasets into the

three GPI subdomains: ongoing conflict, militarisation and
societal safety and security. This data suggests that even though
the world has become less violent over the last 60 years, this fall
in violence has been offset by an increase in spending on
services that aim to contain violence.
Over the past five hundred years there has been a shift away
from conflict between states (external conflict) to conflict within
states (internal conflict). Figure 2.10 shows the ten year moving
average for states involved in internal and external conflicts over
the past five hundred years.
The last 60 years have seen the number of internal conflicts not
only increase, but also overtake the number of external conflicts.

FIGURE 2.10 NUMBER OF COUNTRIES INVOLVED IN AN INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL CONFLICT, 1500 - 2000
In the last 50 years, the number of countries involved in internal conflicts overtook the number of countries involved in external
conflicts.

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES INVOLVED IN A CONFLICT

40

Internal Conflicts
Ten Year Moving Average

35

30

25

External Conflicts
10 Year Moving Average

20

15

10

5

0
1500

1550

1600

1650

1700

1750

1800

1850

1900

1950

2000

Source: CLIO-INFRA, IEP Calculations

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Trends in Peace

33

This shift away from external conflict towards internal conflict
is also reflected in figure 2.11 which shows the ten year moving
sum of territorial changes by type.
The number of territory changes that were classified as either
conquests or annexations peaked in the early 20th century, with
only a brief resurgence in the mid-1970s. In the last decade
there have only been three territory changes classified as
conquests, three changes that involved a military conflict and a
general decline in the number of overall territory changes. This
lends credence to both the theory that the world has become
more peaceful and also that direct conflicts between nations are
becoming much rarer.

GPI DOMAIN TRENDS

ONGOING DOMESTIC &
INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT
The trend away from external and towards internal conflicts can
be seen in figure 2.12, which shows a more detailed account of
armed conflicts, which are defined as a conflict that caused
more than 25 battle deaths in any one year from 1946 to 2014.
The decline in the number of interstate and extrasystematic is
clear, as is the rise of internal conflicts. Overall, the total number
of active serious armed conflicts has declined from a peak of 51
conflicts in 1991 to 40 in 2014, although this is the highest
number of active conflicts since 1999. In addition, there has been
a clear rise in the number of internationalised internal conflicts,
which were just three per cent of total conflicts in 1991, but
constituted 32.5 per cent of total conflicts in 2014.

The total number of conflicts has jumped sharply in the past few
years, rising from 31 in 2010 to 40 in 2014. This increase in the
number of internal conflicts has led to a concurrent rise in battle
deaths. In 2014, owing largely to the conflict in Syria but also the
increasingly protracted conflict in Yemen, battle deaths hit a 25
year high, with this number likely to increase when 2015 data are
released. Figure 2.13 highlights the total number of battles deaths
from 1946 to 2014, as well as the past 25 years in isolation.
Although the majority of deaths in 2014 occurred in Syria, there
were a number of other conflicts that resulted in high numbers
of battle deaths. In total, 11 conflicts resulted in more than a
thousand deaths each in 2014, with conflict in Iraq and
Afghanistan resulting in more than 10,000 deaths each.

BOX 2.1 WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONFLICT?

The UCDP-PRIO Armed Conflict Dataset classifies
conflicts in four different ways:
 Extrasystemic armed conflict occurs between a
state and a non-state group outside its own territory,
for example, colonial wars or wars of independence.
 Interstate armed conflict occurs between two or
more states.
 Internal armed conflict occurs between the
government of a state and one or more internal
opposition groups without intervention from other
states.
 Internationalised internal armed conflict occurs
between the government of a state and one or more
internal opposition groups with intervention from
other states on one or both sides.

FIGURE 2.11 TERRITORIAL CHANGES BY TYPE AND WHETHER A MILITARY CONFLICT WAS INVOLVED, TEN YEAR SUM, 1825-2014

NUMBER OF TERRITORIAL CHANGES (TEN YEAR SUM)

Since the mid-1970s the number of territorial changes categorized as conquests has dropped to almost zero.
100
90
80

Other

Secession

Annexation

Conquest

70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
1825

1850

Source: Correlates of War Database

34

1875

1900

1925

1950

1975

2000

While the total number of battle deaths did reach a 25 year high in
2014, the last 25 years have been relatively peaceful compared to
the preceding 25. From the period 1990 to 2014, there were more
than 50,000 deaths in a year on six occasions. By contrast, from
1965 to 1989 there were more than 50,000 deaths on 24 occasions.

chart including the Rwandan genocide and the right hand chart
excluding it.
If the Rwandan genocide data is excluded, we can better assess
the trend in recent years. There has in fact been an increase in the
number of one sided deaths in the past decade, but these deaths
are only a small percentage of total violent deaths and are
eclipsed by deaths from terrorism, battle deaths and homicide.

Violent deaths do not always occur in formal conflicts, but can
also result from one-sided violence between groups within a
nation. An instance of one-sided violence is defined here as the
use of force by a government or other formally organized group
against citizens, resulting in at least 25 deaths in any year.

The number of attempted genocides and politicides has also been
declining since the end of the Second World War. A politicide is
defined here as the mass murder of civilians for their support of a
political movement. Figure 2.15 shows a count of the number of
genocides and politicides per year from 1956 to 2014, classified
according to the magnitude of deaths that occurred.

Trying to assess a trend in one-sided violence can be difficult, as
such datasets tend to be dominated by single events that lead to
tens if not hundreds of thousands of deaths. Figure 2.14 depicts
one-sided deaths per year from 1989 to 2014, with the left hand

FIGURE 2.12 TOTAL ARMED CONFLICTS BY TYPE, 1946-2014
The last decade has seen a growth in the number of internationalised internal conflicts.

NUMBER OF ARMED CONFLICTS

60

Internationalised internal

Internationalised
internal conflicts
made up 3% of total
conflicts in 1991, but
32.5% in 2014.

Internal

50

Interstate
Extrasystemic

40

30

20

10

0
1946

1956

1966

1976

1986

1996

2006

Source: UCDP/PRIO Armed Conflict Dataset (v4)

FIGURE 2.13 TOTAL NUMBER OF BATTLE DEATHS, 1946 - 2014 AND 1989 - 2014
The number of battle deaths reached a 25 year high in 2014, the majority of which occurred as a result of the conflict in Syria.
However, the number is still well below the number of deaths recorded in the mid-1960s and mid-1980s.

TOTAL BATTLE DEATHS

600,000

65 YEAR TREND

120,000

500,000

100,000

400,000

80,000

300,000

60,000

200,000

40,000

UCDP

100,000

PRIO

0
1946

25 YEAR TREND

20,000

0
1956

1966

1976

1986

1996

2006

1989

1994

1999

2004

2009

2014

Source: UCDP, PRIO

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Trends in Peace

35

Both the number and severity of these types of one-sided
violence have been declining. There have been six instances of
the most severe category of genocidal violence since 1956: in
Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Cambodia, Sudan and most
recently Rwanda. However, since 1994 there have been no
attempted genocides and politicides that resulted in more than
256,000 deaths and the total count of genocides and politicides
has fallen from 11 in 1974 to just two in 2014.

One potential reason for the reduction in one-sided violence is
the increased commitment from the international community
to violence prevention. Figure 2.16 shows the number of actively
deployed, uniformed UN peacekeepers from 1991 to 2016.
There has been a large increase in the number of deployed
peacekeepers since the turn of the century, with over 100,000
active as of early 2016.

FIGURE 2.14 DEATHS FROM ONE-SIDED VIOLENCE, 1989-2014, INCLUDING AND EXCLUDING THE RWANDAN GENOCIDE
There has been an increase in the number of one-sided violent deaths in the last decade, but there hasn’t been a high magnitude
genocide since Rwanda in 1994.

INCLUDING RWANDA

500,000

400,000

300,000

200,000

100,000

0
1989

1994

1999

2004

2009

45,000

TOTAL ONE SIDED CONFLICT DEATHS

TOTAL ONE SIDED CONFLICT DEATHS

600,000

EXCLUDING RWANDA

40,000
35,000
30,000
25,000
20,000
15,000
10,000
5,000
0
1989

2014

1994

1999

2004

2009

2014

Source: UCDP/PRIO One-Sided Conflict

FIGURE 2.15 TOTAL NUMBER OF GENOCIDES AND POLITICIDES, 1956 - 2014
There have been six episodes of genocidal violence since 1956 that resulted in more than 256,000 deaths.

COUNT OF POLITICIDES AND GENOCIDES

12

More than 256,000 Deaths
64,000 - 256,000

10

16,000 - 64,000
4,000 - 16,000

8

1,000 - 4,000
0 - 1,000

6

4

2

0

Source: Political Instability Task Force, State Failure Problem Set

36

1991

1996

and
a

1986

Rw

1981

Sud
an

bod
ia

1976

Cam

Pak
is

tan

1971

eria

1966

N ig

1961

Indo
nes
ia

1956

2001

2006

2011

While peace entails more than the absence of war, the majority
of violent deaths in the last decade has occurred in conflict or
warlike situations.

MILITARISATION

The increasing number of deployed peacekeepers and the
international community’s improvement in meeting their UN
peacekeeping funding dues reached record highs in early 2016,
suggesting that the international community is more willing
and able to address war and conflict situations than in the
immediate period after the Second World War. However, an
increase in the resources devoted to violence containment
should not be equated with a more peaceful world. The
potential for future violent conflict still exists, as attested to by
the recent increase in the number of conflicts.

While data availability for militarisation does not extend back to
1950 for all indicators, there is enough data to suggest that both
global military expenditure and the number of active duty military
personnel have increased since the end of the Second World War,
although this has begun to change over the past 20 years.
Harmonized total global military expenditure data is currently
only available back to 1990, although it is available back to 1955
for NATO member nations. The total level of NATO military
spending (excluding the US) increased from approximately US
$150 billion in 1955 to $268 billion in 2015, an increase of 78
per cent. US expenditure increased by 67 per cent over the same
period. However, there was a sharp decline in total spending by
NATO countries in the last decade, both including and
excluding the US. Total military expenditure has decreased
every year since 2009.

The nature of conflicts that are arising is also changing. While
the prospect of direct interstate conflict seems to be becoming
much more likely, the potential for indirect or proxy conflict
between nation states is rising. This can be seen in the current
conflict in Syria, where the conflict between the Assad regime
and multiple non-state actors has spilled over into a broader
proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran and more recently
the United States and Russia. Tensions between external
nations threatened to erupt into a much broader conflict when
Turkey shot down a Russian attack aircraft that had allegedly
strayed into Turkish airspace.

The end of the Cold War saw a massive reduction in military
expenditure, from US$1.5 trillion in 1990, down to $1 trillion in
1996. However, this decline proved to be short lived, with year
on year increases from 1996 to 2009 and a plateau in total
military spending since then.
In contrast to the increase in military spending, the total number
of armed service personnel has been decreasing in the last 20
years. Comparable data is available for the period 1995 to 2014. It
shows that the global number of armed service personnel has
fallen from 30.1 million in 1995 to 27.3 million in 2014. Of the
world’s 50 largest militaries, 26 saw reductions in the total
number of armed services personnel, including four of the ten
largest standing armies: China, the US, Russia and South Korea.

One potential reason for the
reduction in one-sided violence is
the increased commitment from
the international community to
violence prevention.

FIGURE 2.16 UN DEPLOYED PEACEKEEPERS BY TYPE, 1990-2016 (MONTHLY)
Peacekeeping deployments reached their highest ever levels in 2016.

TOTAL DEPLOYED UN PEACEKEEPERS

Troops
Police

120,000

Observers
100,000

80,000

60,000

40,000

20,000

20
14

20
12

0
20
1

20
08

6
20
0

20
04

2
20
0

0
20
0

19
98

19
96

19
94

19
92

19
90

0

Source: IPI Peacekeeping Database

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Trends in Peace

37

Figure 2.18 highlights the contrast
between military expenditure as a
percentage of GDP and declining armed
forces personnel, both as a global total
and for the world’s four largest militaries
(excluding North Korea).
After increasing the size of its armed forces
in response to conflicts in Iraq and
Afghanistan, the US army continued its
long downward trend in size. Total
spending rose by over $200 billion,
although as a percentage of GDP it has
returned to the same level as in 1995. The
trend in China was very similar, with an
even more pronounced increase in
spending, up nearly 600 per cent from
1995, although this occurred in tandem
with an unprecedented period of economic
growth. Russia also decreased its number
of armed forces personnel, from 1.8 million
down to 1.4. Of the four highlighted
countries, only India increased its number
of personnel, from 2.15 to 2.72 million, a
27 per cent increase.

FIGURE 2.17 TOTAL MILITARY EXPENDITURE IN 2014 USD, 1955-2015

TOTAL MILITARY SPENDING (2014 USD) TRILLIONS

Total global military expenditure has increased considerably since 1995, but levelled
off over the last decade.
2
1.8

Global Total

1.6
1.4
1.2
1

NATO

0.8
0.6
0.4

NATO
(excluding US)

0.2
0
1955

1960

1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995 2000 2005

2010

The reduction in the number of personnel
reflects the decreased likelihood of conflicts

2015

Source: SIPRI

FIGURE 2.18 MILITARY EXPENDITURE AS A % OF GDP AND TOTAL ARMED SERVICES PERSONNEL, 1995-2012

2.00
1.50

1.5%

1.00
0.50

1.0%

1995

2000

2005

2010

Milex (% GDP)

RUSSIA

5.0%

2.40

4.5%

2.20
2.00

4.0%

1.80

3.5%

1.60

3.0%

1.40

2.5%
2.0%

0.00

1.20
1995

2000

2005

2010

1.00

Armed Services
Personnel

2.00
1.90

4.5%

1.80

4.0%

1.70

3.5%

1.60

3.0%

1.50

2.5%

1.40
1.30

2.0%

1.20

1.5%
1.0%

1.10
1995

2000

2005

2010

INDIA

5.0%

1.00

3.50

4.5%
3.00

4.0%
3.5%

2.50

3.0%
2.00

2.5%
2.0%

1.50

1.5%
1.0%

1995

2000

2005

2010

1.00

ARMED SERVICES PERSONNEL
(MILLIONS)

2.50

2.0%

US

5.0%

ARMED SERVICES PERSONNEL
(MILLIONS)

3.00

MILITARY EXPENDITURE (% OF GDP)

3.50

2.5%

MILITARY EXPENDITURE (% OF GDP)

4.00

Source: World Bank, SIPRI

38

4.50

ARMED SERVICES PERSONNEL
(MILLIONS)

CHINA

3.0%

ARMED SERVICES PERSONNEL
(MILLIONS)

MILITARY EXPENDITURE (% OF GDP)

MILITARY EXPENDITURE (% OF GDP)

In the world’s largest military powers, the number of armed forces personnel has been declining.

between states and thus the need for infantry. It might also, however,
reflect a shift away from labour-intensive armed forces to more
technologically advanced military programs with a primary
emphasis on border protection and surveillance. There is also the
possibility that the trend of increasing internal conflicts has been
mirrored by a trend in violence containment spending away from
armed forces and towards the increased militarisation of internal
security in the form of counter-terrorism, surveillance and expanded
police capacity and powers.

past half century. Of the 40 countries in the dataset, 25
experienced increases in their homicide rate from 1960 to 2010,
with decreases in 15 countries. Figure 2.19 shows the five
countries with the largest percentage improvements and
deteriorations in their homicide rate from 1960 to 2010.
Homicides rates in Europe reached historic lows in the 1950s
and although these rates are still amongst the lowest in the
world, they increased steadily in many European countries from
1960 until the mid-1990s.
One factor that is often ignored when looking at changes in societal
safety and security is the level of resources devoted to containing
violence. Comparable security sector spending is only available for
a handful of countries. Figure 2.20 highlights inflation adjusted
police and prison system spending in the US and UK from 1950 to
2014, as a percentage of total government revenue.

SOCIETAL SAFETY
AND SECURITY
The greatest challenge in assessing trends in societal safety and
security is finding comparable data sources. The GPI relies on
expert qualitative assessments to fill these data gaps, but such
assessments are not available over the longer term. As such,
making an assessment of trends in internal peace is much more
difficult before the first GPI in 2007.
Homicide is widely considered to be the most reliable and
broadly comparable type of interpersonal violence data.
Comparing other types of violent crime for even a single year is
exceedingly difficult, owing to differences in classification,
counting, collection and reporting procedures across different
countries. By contrast, homicide data is usually collected and
classified in a similar manner across countries and
underreporting is not an issue, although misclassification might
be. As such, finding a harmonized dataset of violent crime for
the last 60 years is not possible, but there is comparable
homicide data for 40 countries from 1960 to 2010.
While the dataset is not large enough to be conclusive about
global homicide trends, particularly as most of the countries are
from Europe with a small number of South American countries
and a single sub-Saharan African country, it is indicative of how
homicide rates have changed in the developed world over the

In both countries the percentage of government revenue that is
spent on protection services, such as the police and the prison
system, has increased significantly, but has been decreasing over
the last five years. Although comparable data on protection
spending is not available for other countries, data on police
numbers does indicate that more countries increased their
police officers rate in the last thirty years than decreased. IEP
has data that covers 101 countries of which 76 increased their
police numbers while 26 decreased between 1981 and 2012.
Figure 2.21 depicts an index chart of violent crime,
incarceration and protection spending in the US from 1978 to
2014. The drop in homicide and violent crime in the US has
been widely touted as an example of increasing peacefulness,
but there has been a concurrent increase in incarceration and
spending on police.
This increased level of spending on protection services has been
paralleled by the large increase on counter-terrorism spending
and domestic surveillance in the wake of the September 11th
2001 terrorist attacks.
Internal violence can also take the form of government abuse
of citizens. The GPI uses the Political Terror Scale as its
measure of state sponsored violence, which has data available

FIGURE 2.19 HOMICIDE INDEX CHART (1960 = 1), FIVE YEAR MOVING AVERAGE, 1960-2010
Of the 40 countries in the long term homicide dataset, only Singapore and Japan saw a fall in their homicide rate
of more than 50 per cent from 1960 to 2010
HOMICIDE INDEX (1960 = 1)_
FIVE YEAR MOVING AVERAGE

7
1.6

6

1.4

4

1

Austria
Switzerland
Germany

0.8
0.6
0.4

Singapore
Japan

0.2
0

Ireland

5

1.2

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

Netherlands

3

Belgium

2

Norway
Spain

1
0

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

Source: CLIO-INFRA

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Trends in Peace

39

FIGURE 2.20 POLICE AND PRISON SYSTEM SPENDING AS A PERCENTAGE OF
TOTAL GOVERNMENT REVENUE, US AND UK, 1950-2014
In both the US and UK, the percentage of government revenue spent on protection
services has more than doubled.

PERCENTAGE OF
TOTAL GOVERNMENT REVENUE

7%

US

6%
5%

UK

4%
3%
2%
1%
0%

1950

1955

1960

1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

Source: Chantrill (2016), IEP Calculations

FIGURE 2.21 INDEX CHART OF VIOLENT CRIME, INCARCERATION AND POLICE
AND PRISON SYSTEM SPENDING IN THE US (1978=1)

back to 1976. Figure 2.22 shows the
composition of the Political Terror Scale
scores from 1976 to 2014.
The average country score improved
slightly, moving from 2.53 to 2.43,
although there was no change in the
median score. In 1976, 23.6 per cent of
countries received the best possible score
of one, a figure that improved slightly by
2014 to 25.3 per cent. Similarly, the
percentage of countries receiving the worst
possible score of five rose slightly from 3.9
per cent to 5.6 per cent. Even though other
long term indicators of political stability
and democratisation improved over the
same time period, there was virtually no
change in the likelihood of state violence
against citizens.

Although the violent crime rate in the US has declined, there has been a much larger
percentage increase in protection spending and incarceration.
4.500
4.000

Incarceration
rate

INDEX (1978 = 1)

3.500
3.000

Police and
prison spending

2.500
2.000
1.500
1.000

Violent crime
rate

0.500
0.000

1978

1983

1988

1993

1998

2003

2008

Source: FBI, IEP

FIGURE 2.22 POLITICAL TERROR SCALE, MEDIAN ROUNDED SCORE, 1976 TO 2014
The composition of the Political Terror Scale has not changed much since 1976.
0%

1

10%

Little to
no political
terror

PERCENTAGE OF COUNTRIES

20%

2

30%
40%

3

50%

4

60%
70%

5

80%

Very high
levels of
political
terror

90%
100%

1976

1981

Source: Political Terror Scale

40

1986

1991

1996

2001

2006

2011

The drop in homicide
and violent crime in
the US has been
widely touted as an
example of increasing
peacefulness, but
there has been a
concurrent increase
in incarceration and
spending on police.

GLOBAL
ECONOMIC
VALUE OF PEACE

$
$
$

$
$

GLOBAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF VIOLENCE

WHICH IS EQUIVALENT TO

13.3

%

$13.6

WHICH IS EQUIVALENT TO

$5

PER PERSON GLOBALLY
PER DAY

WHY?

Internal security
spending

Losses from conflict

$742 billion

Military spending

Economic losses
from conflict

Total ODA, gross
disbursement

$15 billion
(2% of the cost
of conflict)

$2.5 trillion

$167 billion
(22% of the cost
of conflict)

Losses from crime and
interpersonal violence

$742 billion

$4.2 trillion

Peacekeeping and
peacebuilding

$6.2 trillion

IF THE WORLD DECREASED
VIOLENCE BY ONLY 10% ...

... $1.36

trillion

IN ANNUAL ECONOMIC RESOURCES
& ACTIVITY COULD BE GENERATED,
EQUIVALENT TO:

42

More than total
global foreign direct
investment in 2014
10x the total Official
Development
Assistance in 2014
The value of global
food exports in 2014

HIGHLIGHTS
The economic impact of violence to the global economy was $13.6 trillion
in 2015, in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. This figure is equivalent to
approximately 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment, which
was $1.23 trillion in 2014.1
„„ The global economic impact of violence was
$13.6 trillion PPP in 2015.
„„ This figure is equivalent to 13.3 per cent of world
GDP or $1,876 PPP for every person in the world.
„„ The global economic impact of violence
decreased by two per cent in 2015, which is
equivalent to $246 billion PPP.
„„ The decrease has been driven mainly by declines
in homicide, internal security expenditures and
military spending in the industrialised countries.
„„ The global economic impact of violence is
approximately 11 times the size of global foreign
direct investment, which was $1.23 trillion in
2014.
„„ Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan incur the largest
economic impact as a percentage of their GDP at

„„ The global per capita economic impact of
violence was $1,876 PPP. This is $5 per day, per
person or approximately three times the daily
poverty line of $1.90 PPP.
„„ The direct cost of violence in 2015 is 30 times the
amount spent on official development assistance
(ODA) in 2014.
„„ A ten per cent decrease in the economic impact
of violence would produce a peace dividend of
$1.36 trillion PPP. This dividend would be
equivalent to global food exports in 2014.2
„„ The spending on peacebuilding and
peacekeeping is proportionally small compared
to the economic losses from armed conflict.
Peacebuilding and peacekeeping expenditures
represent two per cent of global losses from
armed conflict in 2015.

54, 54 and 45 per cent of GDP respectively.

IEP estimates of the economic impact of violence include direct
and indirect costs and a multiplier effect that measures the flow
on effect that would accrue were these expenditures allocated to
more productive areas of the economy.
Global military expenditures are the largest component, at
$6.16 trillion PPP. Global military expenditure has declined by
ten per cent in the last three years but it still remains
considerably higher than its level in 1960.3 The United States
and China have the highest expenditure on the military, with 38
and 10 per cent, respectively, of the global share.
Interpersonal violence, which includes homicides and violent and
sexual assaults, accounts for 17 per cent of the global economic
impact of violence and was $2.3 trillion PPP in 2015. The largest
cost associated with interpersonal violence is from homicide and
was calculated at $1.79 trillion PPP, equivalent to 13 per cent of the
total. Central America and the Caribbean is the region most
affected by homicides, followed by South America.

The global economic impact of armed conflict was $742 billion
PPP in 2015. The Middle East and North Africa is the region
most affected, resulting in a per person cost of conflict at $464
PPP. The economic impact of deaths from internal armed conflict
has increased four times from its 2007 level and now stands at
$133 billion PPP. In contrast, the losses from external battle
deaths have dropped by 70 per cent in the last nine years due to
the drawdown of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Despite the deterioration in global peacefulness, the global
economic impact of violence decreased by two per cent in 2015,
which is equivalent to $246 billion PPP. This decline has been
driven mainly by three changes in large industrialised countries:
the decline in homicide, domestic security expenditures and
military spending.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Global Economic Value of Peace

43

METHODOLOGY

The global economic impact of violence is defined as the expenditure and
economic effect related to “containing, preventing and dealing with the
consequences of violence.” The estimates include the direct and indirect
cost of violence as well as an economic multiplier. The multiplier effect
calculates the additional economic activity that would have accrued if the
direct costs of violence had been avoided.
Expenditure on containing violence is economically efficient
when it effectively prevents violence for the least amount of
spending. However, spending beyond an optimal level has the
potential to constrain a nation’s economic growth. Therefore,
achieving the right levels of spending on expenditures such as
the military, judicial and security services is important for the
most productive use of capital.
This study includes two types of costs: direct and indirect costs.
Examples of direct costs include medical costs for victims of
violent crime, capital destruction from violent conflict and costs
associated with the security and judicial systems. Indirect costs
include lost wages or productivity from crime due to physical
and emotional trauma. There is also a measure of the impact of
fear on the economy, as people who fear that they may become a
victim of violent crime alter their behaviour.4

An important aspect of IEP’s estimation is the international
comparability of the country estimates, thereby allowing cost/
benefit analysis of country interventions. The methodology uses
constant purchasing power parity (PPP) international dollars.
IEP estimates the economic impact of violence using a
comprehensive aggregation of costs related to violence, armed
conflict and spending on military and internal security services.
The GPI is the initial point of reference for developing the
estimates. The 2015 version of the economic impact of violence
includes 16 variables in three groups.

TABLE 3.1 VARIABLES INCLUDED IN THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF VIOLENCE, 2015
SECURITY SERVICES AND PREVENTION
ORIENTED COSTS

ARMED CONFLICT-RELATED COSTS

INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE

Military expenditure

Direct costs of deaths from internal violent
conflict

Homicides

Internal security expenditure

Direct costs of deaths from external violent
conflict

Violent assault

Private security

Indirect costs of violent conflict (GDP losses
due to conflict)

Sexual assault

UN peacekeeping

Losses from status as refugees and IDPs

Fear of crime

ODA peacebuilding expenditure

Small arms imports

Indirect costs of incarceration

Terrorism

44

BOX 3.1 THE MULTIPLIER EFFECT

The multiplier effect is a commonly used economic
concept, which describes the extent to which additional
expenditure improves the wider economy. Every time
there is an injection of new income into the economy
this will lead to more spending which will, in turn,
create employment, further income and additional
spending. This mutually reinforcing economic cycle is
known as the ‘multiplier effect’ and is the reason that a
dollar of expenditure can create more than a dollar of
economic activity.

income of the victim. The economic benefits from
greater peace can therefore be significant. This was also
noted by Brauer and Tepper-Marlin (2009) who argued
that violence or the fear of violence may result in some
economic activities not occurring at all.5 More generally,
there is strong evidence to suggest that violence and the
fear of violence can fundamentally alter the incentives
for business. For instance, analysis of 730 business
ventures in Colombia from 1997 to 2001 found that with
higher levels of violence, new ventures were less likely to
survive and profit. Consequently, with greater levels of
violence it is likely that we might expect lower levels of
employment and economic productivity over the
long-term, as the incentives faced discourage new
employment creation and longer-term investment.6

Although the exact magnitude of this effect is difficult to
measure, it is likely to be particularly high in the case of
expenditure related to containing violence. For instance,
if a community were to become more peaceful,
individuals would spend less time and resources
protecting themselves against violence. Because of this
decrease in violence there are likely to be substantial
flow-on effects for the wider economy, as money is
diverted towards more productive areas such as health,
business investment, education and infrastructure.

This study assumes that the multiplier is one, signifying
that for every dollar saved on violence containment,
there will be an additional dollar of economic activity.
This is a relatively conservative multiplier and broadly in
line with similar studies.7

When a homicide is avoided, the direct costs, such as the
money spent on medical treatment and a funeral, could
be spent elsewhere. The economy also benefits from the
lifetime

The analysis presents conservative estimates of the global
economic impact of violence. The estimation only includes
variables of violence for which reliable data could be obtained.
The following elements are examples of some of the items not
counted in the economic impact of violence:

The total economic impact of violence includes the following
components:
zz

perpetrator, and the government. These include direct
expenditures, such as the cost of policing.

zz Domestic violence
zz Violence against children and the elderly

zz

physiological trauma to the victim and lost

zz The cost of crime to business

zz Intimate partner violence

Indirect costs accrue after the violent event and
include indirect economic losses, physical and

zz Household out-of-pocket spending on safety and security

zz Spill over effects from conflict and violence

Direct costs are the cost of violence to the victim, the

productivity.
zz

The multiplier effect represents the flow-on effects of
direct costs, such as additional economic benefits

zz Self-directed violence

that would come from investment in business

zz The cost of intelligence agencies

development or education instead of containing or

zz Judicial system expenditures

dealing with violence. Box 3.1 provides a detailed
explanation of the peace multiplier used.
The term cost of violence containment is used to explain the
combined effect of direct and indirect costs. When a country
avoids the economic impact of violence, it realises a peace
dividend.

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Global Economic Value of Peace

45

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF VIOLENCE

RESULTS

Whilst the world experienced a slight increase in violence last year, the
economic impact of violence moved in the opposite direction and
decreased by two per cent. The deterioration in global peacefulness was
largely attributable to increases in terrorism, higher levels of conflict in the
Middle East and North Africa and increases in the number of refugees and
internally displaced people.
Meanwhile, the decrease in the overall economic impact of
violence has largely been driven by the decrease in the economic
impact of homicides, internal security and military spending in
the advanced western economies. The economic impact of
homicide accounted for the majority of the reduction, decreasing
by $134 billion PPP or seven per cent from 2014 to 2015. Internal
security expenditure, which captures incarceration and police
expenses, accounted for the remaining amount, declining globally
by three per cent or $118 billion PPP in 2015.
The driver of the reduction in the economic impact of internal
security spending was reduced spending in Russia and
Kazakhstan but also regionally in Eurasia and Europe. Russia
has seen very significant declines in internal security spending
due to the plan to cut the Interior Ministry’s budget by more
than 10 per cent in 2015.8 The cuts are directly related to the
country’s economic recession.
The single largest item was global military expenditure, which
reached $6.16 trillion PPP, or 45 per cent of the economic
impact of violence in 2015. According to IEP data, global
military expenditure decreased slightly in 2015, by one per cent
or $67 billion PPP.9 The decline was driven by continued cuts to
US military expenditure, which decreased by 21 per cent from
its peak in 2010.10
Due to the greater size of per capita income in the advanced
economies, changes in underlying measures have a greater
impact on the global model. Violence containment spending
does not always follow the global trends of peacefulness, as
there are some categories of expenditure which are more
expensive than others.

46

Regionally, military expenditure showed some countervailing
trends, decreasing the most in Europe followed by South
America, North America and sub-Saharan Africa. In contrast,
military expenditure increased in Asia-Pacific and South Asia in
2015. The increasing military spending in Asia-Pacific is
primarily driven by China’s military build-up, which saw the
military budget rise by approximately ten per cent in 2015.

The global economic impact of
violence was $13.6 trillion in 2015,
or 13.3% of world GDP.
In the case of the US, military-related expenditures such as the
significant spending on Veterans Affairs, the maintenance of the
nuclear arsenal and interest payments on military-related debt
are also included in the accounting. Due to the size of these
expenditures, at $848 billion, and the significance of the US
military, it is shown as a separate line item. The US is the only
country where these expenditures have been accounted for due
primarily to their size and transparent accounts.
There are large regional disparities in military spending. North
America and MENA have the highest levels of military
expenditure per capita, when calculated on the same basis,
while South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have the lowest levels
in per capita terms.
The second largest contributor to the economic impact of
violence in 2015 was internal security, which accounted for 26
per cent of the total. Internal security expenditure includes
spending on the police and prison systems as well as the indirect
costs associated with incarceration. The data for internal
security spending is obtained from the OECD and the IMF.11

FIGURE 3.1 BREAKDOWN OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACT
OF VIOLENCE, 2015

TABLE 3.2 ECONOMIC IMPACT OF VIOLENCE 2015,
BILLIONS PPP
CATEGORY

IMPACT
OF DIRECT
COST WITH
MULTIPLIER

IMPACT OF
INDIRECT
COST

Internal security expenditure

3,434.6

98.6

3,533.2

Deaths from external conflict

1.0

-

1.0

Fear

-

119.5

119.5

GDP losses due to conflict

-

317.4

317.4

Homicide

309.9

1,482.7

1,792.6

Deaths from internal conflict

133.1

-

133.1

4,461.8

-

4,461.8

US Military related expenditure

1,696.4

-

1,696.4

Peacebuilding and peacekeeping
expenditure

45.5

-

45.5

Private security spending

672.8

-

672.8

Refugees and IDPs

5.5

169.0

174.5

Sexual and violent assault

85.2

459.5

544.6

Small arms

8.3

-

8.3

Terrorism

19.6

93.9

113.5

TOTAL

10,873.6

2,740.6

13,614.2

Military expenditure
12

Over 70 per cent of the economic impact of violence
accrues from spending on military and internal security.

TOTAL

Military
expenditure 45%
Internal
security 26%

Homicide
13%
Other 4%
Conflict 3%
Private security
5%

Sexual and violent
assault 4%

Source: IEP

Source: IEP

Homicides, at 13 per cent, was the third largest category. The
economic impact of homicide in 2015 was approximately $1.79
trillion PPP. Economic costs arising from intentional homicides
are greater than the costs of any other category of crime or
conflict. The model accounts for the costs related to the victim
and perpetrators of crime. The indirect costs of homicide are
extremely high, as victims of homicide can have no positive
influence on productivity, unlike other crimes where the victim
may be able to contribute to the economy after recovery;
therefore their lifetime earnings are a loss to the economy.
Reflecting this, the economic impact of violent and sexual
assault was three times less than the impact of homicide. In
2015 violent and sexual crimes accounted for $545 billion PPP
or four per cent of the global economic impact of violence.

Direct costs of homicide and violent crime include medical
costs, lost earnings and damages to the victim and the
perpetrator. Indirect costs include the lost productivity of the
victim, family and friends due to psychological trauma. High
levels of crime impose social costs through increased
government spending on public health, the criminal justice
system and policing. Crime also reduces economic activity and
consumption and adversely affects the business climate.13
The economic impact of external and internal conflict was $452
billion PPP and represents three per cent of the total. This figure
is highly conservative, as IEP estimates of the economic impact of
violent conflict only include in-country effects and do not provide
estimates for the negative flow-on effects to other economies.

FIGURE 3.2 COMPOSITION OF GLOBAL VIOLENCE CONTAINMENT, 2015
The majority of expenditure for violence containment is for the military and internal security.
Small arms
Fear

Homicides

Deaths from internal conflict
Peacebuilding

UN Peacekeeping

Refugees
and IDPs

CRIME AND INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE
Violent and sexual crimes

CONFLICT
GDP losses

m

is
ror
Ter

Private
security services

Police and prison

Military expenditure

INTERNAL SECURITY
MILITARY

Source: IEP

GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2016 ­| Global Economic Value of Peace

47


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