When someone asks, “Which country has the most positive influence on the world,” does your country come to mind?
Earlier this summer, research firm Ipsos released their findings from a poll asking this question to over 18,000 people across 25 countries. They asked participants whether a handful of countries and supra-national governmental agencies (like the European Union) were “having an overall positive or a negative influence on world affairs.”
Their results might surprise you.
These are the top five most positive international influencers, according to the Ipsos poll:
Read More: The 15 Most Peaceful Countries in the World – In Honor of International Peace Day
5/ France (59% overall positive)
France fell 12% from last year’s poll, though they remain generally well-regarded as having a positive influence on world affairs. Their decline may have to do with a recent rise in anti-immigrant nationalism, though the country did not end up electing far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
France has a generally strong foreign aid assistance program, focused on four main issues including fighting climate change and protecting the environment; human development and gender equality; economic development for social progress; and boosting human rights, stability and peace.
The world could certainly benefit from a little more of all of these things.
4/ The United Nations (64% overall positive)
Coming in at number four is not a country, but a conglomeration of 193 member states dedicated to carrying out the common mission outlined in the organization’s 1945 charter. The UN has a hand in development across the globe, so it’s not a surprise that the majority of respondents viewed it as a positive force.
With recent refugee crises occurring in countless regions throughout the world, the UN has been an active force in providing aid to vulnerable people when they need it most. Global Citizen campaigns on the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and you can join us by taking action here.
3/ Germany (67% overall positive)
Though it fell 6% from last year’s rankings, Germany is still extremely highly regarded by the international community as a strong force for good around the globe. With the US seemingly poised to adopt a more nationalistic agenda following the election of Donald Trump, many are expecting Germany to fill their shoes as the global leader for democratic values.
Germany is now spending more money than ever before on foreign development assistance, coming in at the third largest overall spender after the US and the UK. In July, Germany hosted the G20 summit, at which German chancellor Angela Merkel laid out development plans focused around resilience, sustainability, and responsibility.
2/ Australia (79% overall positive)
With a whopping 79% rating of positivity from respondents, the land down under is clearly seen as a major player when it comes to wielding a positive influence around the world. According to the country’s website, Australia provides foreign aid to over 30 countries. The mission of their aid and development program is aimed at “promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, [and] enhancing stability.”
However, recent cuts to that aid have caused some controversy in the country. As many of Australia’s neighbors are developing countries, Aussies worry that withholding money that could be used for their development doesn’t accurately reflect their values. A recent study showed that this aid is in fact a good investment, bringing increased revenue to the country for every dollar spent.
1/ Canada (81% overall positive)
Of course. Who else but Canada?
It’s no surprise that the northerners take home the prize for most positive influencers on the global stage, and it’s also no surprise that they won the same title last year. At a time when many of the other top contenders dropped percentage points over the last 12 months, only Canada retained its 81% approval rating with no change.
How do they do it? One could point to charismatic prime minister, Justin Trudeau, known recently for cuddling a refugee baby named after him, and crying after being reunited with a Syrian refugee family recently settled in Canada. Trudeau seems intent on adopting the opposite stance to the US when it comes to refugee immigration policies, and it seems the world is taking note.
For those who may be wondering, the US was ranked #10, with only 40% of respondents seeing it as having a positive global influence.