For the second year running, Iceland has been ranked the most peaceful country in the world.
According to data compiled by Vision Of Humanity for their Global Peace Index, Iceland ranked 1 out of a possible 158 in terms of its degree of peacefulness. This is measured by compiling data on “on-going domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and militarisation in 158 countries by taking into account 23 separate indicators.”
Iceland’s ranking actually improved due to a decrease in military expenditures, topping the list not only regionally, but also among western countries – the European average is 1.5 (the lower the number, the greater amount of peace), and Iceland scored 1.11.
Other data points from the survey include that “all regions apart from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) saw an improvement, with Sub-Saharan Africa lifting off of the bottom spot for the first time since the GPI was launched in 2007. Madagascar, Gabon and Botswana experienced notable improvements over the past year and the region also shows the largest improvement in ‘Relations with Neighbouring States’ from 2009 to 2012.”
However, “the Middle East and North Africa is now the least peaceful region globally. The drop largely reflects the upheaval and instability driven by the Arab Spring. Indeed the five indicators that deteriorated the most across the GPI last year were measures of safety and security in society, and appear to reflect turbulence that has shaken the Arab world since December 2010. Syria’s descent into civil war caused it to fall by the largest margin, followed by post-revolution Egypt and Tunisia respectively.”
The full report can be read here (6MB .pdf file).