Peace in today’s era is equivalent to the worth of diamonds as it is something which every nation is striving for. Development in any field and in any part of the world will prove worthless and fatal if ‘Peace’ is missing from that region.
The Institute of Economics and Peace has compiled the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2013 report by studying the condition of peace worldwide, identifying the ongoing violence and conflicts and also recognizing the main force for a peaceful nation.
The World’s most peaceful nations as listed by the Global Peace Index 2013 report are,
GPI Score- 1.162
Iceland has once again topped the list of the most peaceful countries of the world among the 162 countries surveyed. This island nation is a conflict free nation with crime rate and homicide rate comparatively very low. The prison population is significantly lower than any other place in Europe and in the entire world. According to the GPI measures of safety and security, Iceland attained the lowest possible scores.
The peace in Iceland is also attributed to the stable government under the centre left coalition of the Social Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Left-Green Movement (LGM). It has no standing army. Iceland being an active member of NATO since 1949 has actively participated in international peace keeping missions in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine and the Balkans.
GPI Score- 1.207
The GPI score of Denmark still remains intact since 2012 and it still retains the rank of the world’s second most peaceful nation. A trivial increase in the terrorism activity from a very minor base was an offset by a drop in imports of major conventional weapons, among ongoing budget constraints. Denmark outranks Iceland when it comes to internal peace as they have less number of police and internal security officers per capita. Denmark has good relations with neighboring countries like Sweden, Norway and Germany.
3. New Zealand
GPI Score- 1.237
New Zealand is the third most peaceful country in the world. The overall score gets worse due to the marginal rise in the expenditure of the military. The main GPI’s measures of safety and security put forward that the people of New Zealand are generally harmonious and an act of violence is fully condemned as such homicides and terrorist acts are very limited.
Though the jailed population has dropped, it does not have an impact on the nation’s overall GPI score having 194 per 100,000 persons, which is much higher than most of OECD countries specially Japan and Switzerland. The political scenario in the land of Kiwis is generally stable with the coalition of the Austrian People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party. This country shares a cordial relationship with the neighboring countries especially with Australia.
GPI Score- 1.250
Austria has climbed up two places in the index, becoming a more peaceful nation in 2012-13. This country has reported a gentler environment where brutal acts have likely become lesser in this year as given by the Compilers of the Political Terror Scale. The indicators of internal peace of Austria points to a broadly harmonious society with the tallies for the violent crime and the homicide rate still at the lowest of the 162 nations surveyed. The political scene is mostly stable with the coalition of the Austrian People’s Party (OVP) and the Social Democratic Party (SPO).
GPI Score- 1.272
In the latest GPI list, Switzerland has dropped down to 5th rank. This country entered the list for the first time last year because of the contractions in the military spheres. Switzerland has a tradition of impartiality that dates back to the Treaty of Paris in 1815. It has maintained a significant defence industry and exports of conventional weapons per capita is among the highest in Europe.
“ Switzerland enjoys very low levels of violent crime, homicides and political terror, although the GPI gauge of terrorist activity registered a modest rise from a very low base, with three incidents recorded in 2011 by the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database,” as said the report. The political scene is stable in spite of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party’s (SVP) continuation to follow opposition strategy in the five-party coalition government.
GPI Score- 1.293
Japan has now returned as a more peaceful country as compared from last year. Japan’s relations with neighboring nations are rated “fair”, a notably higher score than the other top-ten nations. It is ranked 88th in external peace but when it comes to internal peace it is second after Iceland. The political conditions of Japan are much more stable than any other countries of the region led by Shinzo Abe, leader of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The violent crimes and homicides are very rare and terrorist activity is highly unlikely in Japan.
GPI Score- 1.297
Finland still remains as a peaceful country in 2012-13. Though the country’s GPI score remains constant it has gone down to the 7th position, leading to a gain in Austria and Japan’s ranking. This country has taken up a policy of strategic non-alignment so they chose not be a member of NATO. Finland has witnessed the lowest number of internal security officers and police per capita (152 per 100,000 populations) in the OECD and fairly low volumes of imports and exports of conventional weapons. Finnish society is very safe and secure where crime rates are very low and terrorist activities are highly unlikely, although the homicide rate remains higher than the other Nordic countries which are just 60 per 100,000 people in 2012. Relations with neighboring Nordic countries are pleasant and ties with Russia have progressed.
GPI Score- 1.306
Canada became more peaceful to some extent in 2012-13, coming up by one position in this year’s ranking. The military expenditure and the army’s budget have dipped. The relation between Canada and U.S. is better mainly reflecting the ending of a protectionist-tinged period. The number of internal security executives and police has slightly increased to 204 per 100,000 people, which is still low by the standards of OECD countries. Canada led by Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, provides a stable political environment.
GPI Score- 1.319
Sweden astonishingly achieved a rank of 4 among the 162 countries surveyed in terms of “internal peace” only behind Iceland, Japan and Denmark. There is no social conflict, crime, and homicide rates are tremendously low, terrorist activities are highly unlikely and the jailed population is less – slipping to just 70 per 100,000 people in 2012. Since the Baltic States joined the European Union in 2004, Sweden’s relations with neighboring countries have long been cordial, and economic integration in the country has strengthened.
GPI Score- 1.339
The 10th most peaceful nation of the world in 2012/13 is Belgium. There is less prevalence of social clashes so the homicide rate and terrorist activities are extensively low. As such, only a small section of the society is imprisoned. “An active participant in NATO missions, Belgium typically channels around 1 percentof its GDP to military/defense purposes,” according to the report.
Belgium enjoys harmonious relations with bordering countries, but current tensions at home across the two linguistic communities have weakened political stability.