Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Global Peace Index 2008 Report Reveals:Iceland is the Most Peaceful Country in the World

20 May 2008 10:00 Africa/Lagos

Global Peace Index 2008 Report Reveals: Global Upturn In Peacefulness

Iceland tops the ranking of the world's most peaceful, Iraq rated least peaceful

U.S. remains largely unchanged, ranking at 97

Angola, Indonesia and India are among the big risers

Endorsed by Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Joseph Stiglitz and Professor Muhammad Yunus

WASHINGTON, May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Most countries in the world are performing better against key measures of peacefulness compared with last year, according to the latest rankings of the Global Peace Index (GPI), now in its second year.

This year the Index has been expanded to rank 140 countries - from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe - according to how peaceful they are, both domestically and how they interact with the outside world.

The Index is constructed from 24 indicators of external and internal measures of peace including UN deployments overseas and levels of violent crime. It has won the backing of an influential and distinguished group of supporters including Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Professor Joseph Stiglitz and Professor Muhammad Yunus as well as the Fulbright Center.

Steve Killelea, founder of the Global Peace Index, said: "The world appears to be a marginally more peaceful place this year. This is encouraging, but it takes small steps by individual countries for the world to make greater strides on the road to peace."

Supporters of the Index are urging policymakers to focus more on education, wealth and well functioning government to secure a greater peace dividend. They are also pointing to the crucial role of business in forging stability.

Iceland, making its first appearance in the Index, tops the rankings. Countries in Scandinavia have also emerged as among the most peaceful countries on the planet with Denmark (2) and Norway (3) scoring very highly. New Zealand (4) and Japan (5) - the only member of the G8 in the top ten - complete the highest ranked. The United States held virtually steady at number 97, dropping one slot from last year's rank of 96.

But other nations, including Angola (110), Indonesia (68) and India (107), have demonstrated the greatest improvements compared to last year's Index.

Based on a direct comparison of the 121 countries measured in the GPI 2007 to GPI 2008, a majority of the individual indicators have seen slight improvements. On average, scores for level of organised conflict (internal) and violent crime, political instability and potential for terrorist acts have all improved marginally. In contrast, the world's armed services have grown on average per country, as has the sophistication of its weaponry.

Other key findings:

-- Small, stable and democratic countries are the most peaceful - 16 of
the top 20 are western or central European democracies
-- The G8 fared very differently: Japan (5), Canada (11), Germany (14),
Italy (28), France (36), UK (49), United States (97), Russia (131)
-- Iraq is the lowest ranked country on the Index (140)

This year's launch is also highlighting the link between business and peace and the role that business has to play in creating more peaceful societies. The Study of Industries that Prosper in Peace report released today alongside the Global Peace Index points to the correlation between peaceful countries and business activity.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: "You ultimately can't have business where you have conflict. So, it is in the nature of self-interest to promote the kind of circumstances and the kind of environment where you can carry out your business when there is peace."

Since the first Global Peace Index was launched in 2007, it has been used as a tool by Presidents, Prime Ministers and academics. But Mr. Killelea believes the Index should be used by business to make more informed investment decisions and, while he acknowledges the role of business in creating peace, he is calling for business to do more.

"There is no doubt that investment and business benefit from more peaceful and less violent environments," commented Sir Mark Moody Stuart, chair of Anglo American and the UN Global Compact Foundation. "This research considers the many factors that contribute to this and I have no doubt that sound and transparent business practices, coupled with careful consideration of the social consequences of our businesses, can contribute to growing peace."

For more information please visit www.visionofhumanity.com.

Notes to Editors

The Global Peace Index covers 140 countries which make up 98% of the
world's population.

In 2007 the Index was made up of 121 countries.

The Global Peace Index is launched under the auspices of the Institute for
Economics and Peace, a new global think tank dedicated to the research and
education of the relationship between economics, business and peace.

The GPI is compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit and its worldwide
network of country analysts.

The Index was peer reviewed by an advisory panel of experts in the study
of peace.

Steve Killelea is an Australian IT entrepreneur and philanthropist. The
58-year-old is the Chairman and Founder of Integrated Research Ltd. He founded
his charity "The Charitable Foundation" in 2000.

"The Charitable Foundation" specializes in working with the poorest
communities in the world and is currently active in ten countries including
Rwanda, Uganda, Laos, Burma and East Timor.

For press enquiries and interview requests please contact Craig Brownstein
at 202-326-1799 or Craig.Brownstein@Edelman.com.
First Call Analyst:
FCMN Contact:

Source: Global Peace Index

CONTACT: Craig Brownstein, +1-202-326-1799,
Craig.Brownstein@Edelman.com, for Global Peace Index

Web Site: www.visionofhumanity.com

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