Conflict and terrorism cost the world trillions, says peace index

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

Global peace index, which ranks Syria bottom and Iceland top, says political instability, terrorism and conflict cost the global economy $13.6tn last year

The world’s expensive slide into violence and unrest continued last year, with conflict, terrorism and political instability costing the global economy $13.6tn (£9.3tn), according to the annual global peace index.

The 2016 index, which analysed 163 countries and territories, rates Syria the least peaceful country, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The world’s most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Portugal.

While levels of peace improved in 81 countries, the gains were undermined by larger deteriorations in another 79, meaning that peace declined at a faster rate than in the previous year. Among the greatest destabilising factors were terrorism, political turmoil, and the intensification and persistence of wars in Syria, Ukraine, Central African Republic and Libya.

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) is once again the least peaceful region. Three of the five biggest declines in peace occurred in the region – Yemen, Libya and Bahrain – and violence and conflict in Mena are so fierce that, when considered separately, peace in the rest of the world improved.

“The historic 10-year deterioration in peace has largely been driven by the intensifying conflicts in the Mena region,” says the report. “Terrorism is also at an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict are at a 25-year high, and the number of refugees and displaced people are at a level not seen in 60 years.

“Notably, the sources for these three dynamics are intertwined and driven by a small number of countries, demonstrating the global repercussions of breakdowns in peacefulness.”

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