In Brief

The world’s safest and most dangerous countries

Ukraine drops down the Global Peace Index as Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the list

Afghanistan has been named the least peaceful country in the world for the fifth consecutive year. 

Ten months on from the Taliban’s capture of Kabul the country’s level of “peacefulness” has improved, according to the Global Peace Index 2022. Still, it remains at rock bottom on the index behind Yemen. 

This year it sat at the very bottom of the Global Peace Index, created by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a comprehensive measure which takes into account factors such as militarisation, freedom of speech, violent and sexual crime rates and natural disasters to rank countries according to their safety.

Iceland continues to be the most peaceful nation in the world, a position it has held since the inaugural index in 2008.

The Global Peace Index (GPI), created by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), is a yearly measure of relative peacefulness across 163 countries, using data to rank nations on the basis of societal safety, levels of militarisation, and international and domestic conflicts.

“Peace across the world has declined to the lowest level in 15 years as uncertainty over post-Covid economic recovery and Russia’s war in Ukraine loom large”, said The Independent

Political insecurity, rising food costs and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have all played a large part in the 0.3% decline in global peace levels in 2021. However, militarisation and terrorism have improved; the latter recording its best result since 2008.

Despite the overall decline “we can say that never in the history of mankind have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast, for the better”, argued Jonathan Power at In Depth News. “We have to take the long view. The last three years, I suggest, will come to be seen as a blip.”

Responding to the findings, Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of the IEP, said “leaders must harness the power of peace” to combat a global trend of deterioration, and that the economic and political impact of the Ukraine conflict will “reverberate for years to come”.

Since the index began, 84 countries have deteriorated and 77 have improved their rating. Ukraine and Russia are two nations that have suffered a substantial deterioration because of the ongoing conflict, with Ukraine now ranked 11th most dangerous country, in 153rd place (136th in 2021) – the largest drop in 2022 – and Russia ranked 160th (155th in 2021), the fourth-largest fall.

Despite the impact of the war in Ukraine, peacefulness in Europe is on the up, including in the UK, whose score improved to push it from 36th to 34th in the index. Ireland has climbed into the top three this year, rising three places to sit behind New Zealand in third place. The US, however, dropped one place down to 129th.

Here’s the GPI ranking of the ten safest and ten most dangerous countries on Earth:

Ten most dangerous countries
  • Afghanistan
  • Yemen
  • Syria
  • Russia
  • South Sudan
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Iraq
  • Somalia
  • Central African Republic
  • Sudan
Ten safest countries
  • Iceland
  • New Zealand
  • Ireland
  • Denmark
  • Austria
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Czech Republic
  • Singapore
  • Japan

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