Thursday, June 20, 2019

Nepal third most peaceful country in South Asia

Nepal is the third most peaceful country in South Asia. Though economic cost of voilance stood at $4226.9 million, Nepal has been ranked at 76th position, out of 163 countries, in the Global Peace Index 2019.
Nepal – climbing by 12 notches – has been ranked 76th most peaceful country – among 163 independent states and territories – in the world, and the third most peaceful country in South Asia, according to the 13th edition of the report produced by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace measures the peacefulness according to factors such as military spending and deaths from conflict and terrorism, as well as an estimated economic cost of violence.
In South Asia, Bhutan ranked 15th followed by Sri Lanka (72), Bangladesh (101), India (141), Pakistan (153) and the Afghanistan (163) the least peaceful country in the World. The average South Asian score improved last year due to improvements in Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and a slight gain in Afghanistan. But the region still has the second lowest rank, just ahead of its neighbour Middle East and Northern America (MENA).
South Asia’s regional scores are bolstered by Bhutan, which is now the 15th most peaceful country in the world, after rising two places in 2019. The country improved in four indicators, deteriorated in only two and maintained strong scores in another 15, the report reads. “Only the police rate and the incarceration rate remain above a score of two.”
Very few Bhutanese were displaced, but the country did improve further on the refugees and IDPs indicator, as did its regional neighbour Afghanistan. Bhutan and Pakistan were amongst the 25 countries with the largest reductions in the homicide rate last year.
The region typically outperforms the global average on this indicator. Similarly, South Asia usually has lower levels of violent crime than the rest of the world, as the region’s challenges are more likely to be political than criminal.
While the regional impact of terrorism score showed almost no change in the 2019 index, the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka demonstrate that the region is not unaffected. Nearly 300 churchgoers and tourists were killed in coordinated attacks, credit for which was claimed by ISIL afterward. However, the Easter attack occurred after the cut-off for the 2019 GPI and is not included in this year’s index.
South Asia’s score for every indicator in Ongoing Conflict is less peaceful than the global average, with four out of six deteriorating last year. Only deaths from internal conflict improved, with fewer fatalities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India than the year prior.
However, the number and duration of internal conflicts fought worsened in Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The score for internal conflicts fought had the highest rating at five in both India and Pakistan.
Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world, replacing Syria, which is now the second least peaceful one, the report further reads, claiming that the gap between the least and most peaceful countries ‘continues to grow’. Eighty-six countries improved their score in the 2019 report, while 76 deteriorated. “South Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq comprise the remaining five least peaceful countries.”
Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008, the report reads, adding that New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark, with European nations dominate the top of the list, according to their level of peacefulness.
The report that covers 99.7 per cent of the world’s population and uses 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators – grouping into three key domains; ongoing conflict, safety and security, and militarisation – from highly respected sources to compile the index.
Global peacefulness improves for the first time in five years, but the world continues to be less peaceful than a decade ago.
The average level of global peacefulness improved very slightly last year on the 2019 Global Peace Index (GPI). This was the first time that the index improved in the last five years. The average country score improved by -0.09 per cent, with 86 countries improving and 76 recording deteriorations. Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark. Bhutan has recorded the largest improvement of any country in the top 20, rising 43 places in the last 12 years.
Despite the improvement this year, the world remains considerably less peaceful now than a decade ago, with the average level of peacefulness deteriorating by 3.78 per cent since 2008. The Global peacefulness has only improved for three of the last ten years. A wide range of factors drove the fall in peacefulness over the past decade including increased terrorist activity, the intensification of conflicts in the Middle East, rising regional tensions in Eastern Europe and northeast Asia, increasing numbers of refugees, and heightened political tensions in Europe and the US. This deterioration was partially offset by improvements in many of the measures of the Militarisation domain of the GPI. There has been a consistent reduction in military expenditure as a percentage of GDP for the majority of countries, as well as a fall in the armed services personnel rate for most countries in the world.
The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2018 amounted to $14.1 trillion in constant purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. This is equivalent to 11.2 per cent of the world’s GDP or $1,853 per person. In 2018, the economic impact of violence improved for the first time since 2012, decreasing by 3.3 per cent or $475 billion. The decline in the economic impact of violence is reflective of the improvement in global peacefulness, which is discussed in section one of this report. The reduction was primarily due to a decline in the costs associated with Armed Conflict. This improvement was mainly due to lower levels of armed conflict in Syria, Colombia and Ukraine. This also resulted in a positive knock-on effect for refugees and internally displaced persons and terrorism, with reductions in the costs for both.
For the first time, the GPI 2019 includes research on climate change and peace. The impacts of fluctuating climate conditions on societal stability and its potential to lead to violent conflict is of growing importance. Although long-term quantitative data on the interactions of climate and peace is scarce, what is available suggests that climate has played a role in triggering or exacerbating conflict through its effects on livelihood security and resource availability.
The effects of climate shocks on factors such as resource scarcity, livelihood security and displacement can greatly increase the risk of future violent conflict, even when climate change does not directly cause conflict. An estimated 971 million people live in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards, putting them at risk for both extreme weather events and breakdowns in peacefulness in the coming decades. Of this number, 41 per cent reside in countries with low levels of peacefulness, while 22 per cent are in countries with high levels of peace. The Asia-Pacific and South Asia regions collectively house twice as many people in high exposure climate zones as all other regions combined. A risk assessment carried out by the Index for Risk Management in 2019 found that South Asia, Asia-Pacific and Central America and the Caribbean have weaker coping capacities and higher risk to natural hazards as compared to other regions.
The GPI 2019 also includes new data on wellbeing and perceptions of peacefulness. The reports shows that there have been increases in average feelings of life satisfaction and well being, perceptions of safety, and confidence in the local police and military, despite the last decade showing a decline in peacefulness around the world. Perceptions of peacefulness have increased in some areas but decreased in others. More people across the world now feel that they have more freedom in life, are more satisfied with life, and are treated with more respect than in 2008. Many more people also feel that their countries are better places to live for ethnic and religious minorities. However, daily feelings of sadness, worry, and stress have also increased over the same time. There is a strong correlation between perceptions of peacefulness and actual peacefulness as measured by the GPI. Both men and women in more peaceful countries are more likely to report that they feel safe walking alone at night than people in less peaceful countries. There is also a greater level of trust in police in more peaceful societies.

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