ISLAMABAD: As the world marks the International Peace Day, it appears that Pakistan has not been able to improve much on the peace front.
According to a report by an international think tank, Pakistan has slipped by two points in an annual global index on peacefulness, finishing at 153 among 163 countries.
In its annual report, the Institute for Economics and Peace has presented a comprehensive data-driven analysis on peace, its economic value, trends, and how to develop peaceful societies.
The Sydney-based think tank reported that the average level of global peacefulness improved slightly in the 2019 Global Peace Index (GPI). However, trends show peacefulness since 2008 has deteriorated by 3.78%.
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While Pakistan has slipped two positions, Iceland continues to top the list as the world's most peaceful place. On the other hand, Afghanistan has replaced Syria as the most violent place.
With the overall trends showing signs of improvement for Pakistan in some areas, neighboring India slipped by four points in the annual global index on peacefulness this year, finishing at 141 among 163 countries. The recent annexation of Kashmir and the increase in state-sponsored violence in the occupied territory has tainted India's reputation.
India, together with the Philippines, Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Pakistan are the nine countries with the highest risk of multiple climate hazards. India also has the seventh-highest overall natural hazard score in the world.
Improvement and decline
Ukraine recorded the largest improvement in peace in the 2019 GPI. Sudan showed minimal improvement along with Egypt that made some progress on the global chart for peacefulness for the first time since 2015. Significant deterioration in peace levels were seen in Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Iran, and Brazil.
South Asia figures
In 2019, the average South Asian scores were upgraded due to improvements in Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, and a slight gain in Afghanistan. However, the region still has the second-lowest rank, just ahead of the Middle East and North Africa.
According to the report, South Asia’s regional scores were bolstered by Bhutan, which is now the 15th most peaceful country in the world, after rising two places in 2019.
The country improved in four indicators, deteriorated in only two and maintained strong scores in another 15.
Half of the countries in Europe, the world’s most peaceful region, have deteriorated in peacefulness since 2008. Iceland is the only Nordic country that has improved its peace ranking since 2008.
According to the annual ranking, the Middle East and North Africa region appears to be the world’s least peaceful region for the fifth consecutive year. The annual report identifies the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East has as the key driver of the global deterioration in peacefulness.
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Results from sub-Saharan Africa appeared mixed across both indicators and countries. Twenty-seven of the region’s 44 countries deteriorated in peacefulness.
The growing gap
The gap between the least and most peaceful countries continues to grow. Since 2008, the 25 least peaceful countries declined in peacefulness on average by 11.8%, while the 25 most peaceful countries improved by 1.7% on average.
A new threat
The 13th edition of the annual report identifies climate as a threat to world peace. Climate change can indirectly increase the likelihood of violent conflict through its impacts on resource availability, livelihood security, and migration.
Ten most peaceful nations
While world peace continues to fluctuate, Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Canada, Singapore, Slovenia, Japan, and the Czech Republic managed to climb the peace ladder. The countries are on the list of top ten most peaceful nations, according to the report.