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These Are the 10 Most and Least Peaceful Countries in the World

Ensuring global peace is paramount to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and ultimately eliminating extreme poverty by 2030. But unfortunately, around the world, peace is on the decline.

That’s according to the most recent iteration of the annual Global Peace Index, which found that global peace decreased for the fourth straight year, and the eighth year within the past 10.  

The report, released each year by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), attributed the fall in peace to “a wide range of factors, including increased terrorist activity, the intensification of conflicts in the Middle East, rising regional tensions in Eastern Europe and northeast Asia, and increasing numbers of refugees and heightened political tensions in Europe and the US.”

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“There is an ongoing deterioration in global peace,” IEP head Steve Killelea, told DW. “It's gradual and it's been going on for the last decade.”

In measuring peace, the report took three factors into account — safety and security, ongoing conflict, and militarization. Researchers found that in 2017, peace increased in 71 countries, but fell in 92. 

This decrease was driven by mounting instability in Europe as countries across the continent continue to address rising concerns surrounding unprecedented migration, and continued conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

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The report also sounded out a dire warning. 

“Unless these underlying causes are addressed in a systemic fashion, and the attitudes, institutions and structures that build and sustain peaceful societies are supported,” researchers wrote, “it seems likely that the overall deterioration in peacefulness seen over the last decade will continue.” 

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and peace, justice, and strong institutions is Goal 16. You can join us and take action here

You can read the report here, and find the top 10 most and least peaceful countries below: 

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Most peaceful: 

  1. Iceland
  2. New Zealand
  3. Austria
  4. Portugal
  5. Denmark
  6. Canada
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Singapore
  9. Japan
  10. Ireland

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Least peaceful: 

  1. Syria
  2. Afghanistan
  3. South Sudan
  4. Iraq
  5. Somalia
  6. Yemen
  7. Libya
  8. Dem. Rep Congo
  9. Central African Rep
  10. Russia