Since 2008, global peace has deteriorated by about 3.78%, although this year registered a slight improvement of 0.09% compared to the previous one, due to "the reduction in the severity of several conflicts, which led to a lower number of deaths and a decrease in the impact of terrorism".
External peace is measured by the following: military expenditure as a percentage of GDP, armed services personnel rate, United Nations peacekeeping funding, nuclear and heavy weapons capabilities, weapons exports, refugees and IDPs, neighbouring countries relations, external conflicts fought, and deaths from external conflicts.
IEP executive chairman Steve Killelea told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: "We can actually get a much better idea of which countries are most at risk, what are the types of risk and what would be the level of impact before it leads to a break or an implosion within the country".
The index assigns each country a score between one and five, where one is the most peaceful and five is the least, based on 23 indicators ranging from homicide levels to weapons imports.
Four of the nine regions in the world improved in peacefulness in 2019: Russian Federation and Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and MENA.
This was partly due to Syria losing its tag as the world's least peaceful country and Iraq showing signs of recovery.
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Despite all the violence and conflicts of the world has become, for the first time since 2013, a little more peaceful. The greatest increase in peacefulness occurred in the Russian Federation and Eurasia region, followed by the Middle East and North Africa. The neighbouring country Pakistan has been ranked 153rd on the index. The fall in conflict deaths has also been mirrored by a fall in deaths caused by terrorism. Russian Federation and Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, and MENA recorded improvements across all three GPI domains. The number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people has fallen in 117 countries, and military expenditure as a percentage of GDP fell in 98 countries, with only 63 countries increasing their spending. Clearly it is good news that state sponsored terror has declined markedly over the last decade, with 62 countries improving their scores while only 42 deteriorated.
"Although peace has improved ... a deeper analysis finds a mixture of positive and negative trends", Mr Killelea said.
While most and least peaceful countries remain the margin, there is a growing gap of countries under risk of becoming unstable in between. Ten per cent of these people, or 103.7 million, are living in areas of countries ranked in the bottom 25 countries on the GPI: South Sudan, Iraq, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, North Korea, Nigeria and Mexico. Syria suffered the worst at 67 per cent.
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