Measure peace? The 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI) tries to do just that. There are a variety of ways of looking at just what it means to be at peace, or to have achieved it, and this annual index is important for its contributions toward an important measure of human well being, dignity and prosperity.
Compared to other countries, Canada’s rank in the June 2023 GPI is high, at the eleventh position. However it has fallen from the sixth position it ranked in GPI 2020. For smugness, yes, we rate far above our southern neighbour, who came in at 131 out of 163 countries measured.
The ranking across countries takes into account governance types, claims that its indicators cover 99.7 per cent of the global population, and uses 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators in three thematic domains: the level of Societal Safety and Security; the extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict; and the degree of Militarisation.
The GPI also seeks to identify trends in Positive Peace: the attitudes, institutions, and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies, and examines the relationship between the actual peace of a country, as measured by the GPI, and Positive Peace, and how a deficit of Positive Peace can be a predictor of future increases in violent conflict.
The indicators are: External Conflicts Fought; Perceptions of Criminality; Internal Conflicts Fought; Incarceration Rate; Intensity of Internal Conflict; Violent Demonstrations; Terrorism Impact; Nuclear and Heavy Weapons; Deaths from External Conflict; Weapons Imports; Violent Crime; Political Instability; Neighbouring Countries Relations; Access to Small Arms; Police Rate; Armed Services Personnel Rate; Weapons Exports; Homicide Rate; Military Expenditure (% GDP); Refugees and IDPs; Political Terror Scale; Deaths from Internal Conflict; UN Peacekeeping Funding.
According to the section on Canada in the 2023 GPI: “Overall peacefulness improved in Canada, owing to improvements on the Ongoing Conflict and Safety and Security domains. The Political Terror Scale, terrorism impact, incarceration rate and perceptions of criminality indicators all recorded improvements over the past year. Less than 20 per cent of Canadians report that they do not feel safe walking alone at night in their city or neighbourhood. The Militarisation domain recorded a slight deterioration, owing to an increase in weapons exports. However, Canada is ranked amongst the 25 countries with the highest levels of weapons exports per capita.”
There are subsections of the GPI which look at each of the above indicators in itself and regionally. Specific changes, either positive or negative for individual countries can be found. The report is important reading for everyone concerned with the building of more peaceful societies. That should be all of us….
Global Peace Index 2023, June 2023
Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP). IEP is headquartered in Sydney, with offices in New York, The Hague, Mexico City, Brussels and Harare.