Global Peace Index

Troubled world

Print edition : July 26, 2013
The world has become less peaceful than in 2008, says the 2013 Global Peace Index.

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is a measure of global peacefulness. It is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which gauges ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and militarisation in 162 countries by taking into account 22 separate indicators.

The GPI defines peace as “the absence of violence and the absence of the fear of violence”. All of the GPI indicators are given a normalised score on a scale of 1-5.

The overall GPI score assigned to each country applies a weight of 60 per cent for internal peace and 40 per cent for external peace. Internal peace measures how peaceful a country is internally and external peace measures the state of peace beyond a country’s borders.

Highlights of the 2013 GPI

The world has become 5 per cent less peaceful since 2008

Dramatic rise in the number of homicides drives reduction in world peace over the last year

Europe is the most peaceful region in the world and South Asia the least peaceful

Iceland maintains its status as the most peaceful country, whilst war-ravaged Afghanistan returns to the bottom of the index

Syria’s GPI score has fallen by 70 per cent since 2008

The total economic impact of containing violence is estimated to be $9.46 trillion in 2012

In eastern and western Europe homicides are dropping, contrary to global trends

In the past year the drug war in Mexico claimed twice as many lives as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan


According to Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University, “peace is defined not only by the absence of war, or only the absence of conflict and instability, but rather by the absence of violence and the freedom from being afraid of violence, such as dangers from drug cartels, insurgents, gangs and domestic abuse”.

The emphasis on “penalising” states for their military expenditure might skew the results, feel some critics. The index lacks a gender dimension, and leads to a situation where some “peaceful” nations may be the most violent to women and children.