The first annual Global Peace Index, which ranks countries according to their level of peacefulness, was recently made public. The index was compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The data were drawn from the United Nations, the World Bank, peace groups and the magazine researchers' own assessments.
According to its authors,
The Global Peace Index is a ground-breaking milestone in the study of peace. It is the first time that an Index has been created that ranks the nations of the world by their peacefulness and identified some of the drivers of that peace. 121 countries have been ranked by their ‘absence of violence’, using metrics that combine both internal and external factors. Most people understand the absence of violence as an indicator of peace. This definition also allows for the measuring of peacefulness within, as well as between, nations.
The index is based on 24 indicators of the existence or absence of peace, which are in turn divided into three key thematic categories.
- Measures of ongoing domestic and international conflict
- Measures of safety and security in countries [level of violent crime, political instability, level of respect for human rights, Number of jailed population per 100,000 people, etc.]
- Measures of militarization [Aggregate number of heavy weapons per 100,000 people, Number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people, Ease of access to small arms and light weapons
Cameroon ranked 12th out of the 21 countries surveyed in Africa, while Ghana came in first and Sudan last.
On the global stage, Cameroon ranks 75th out of 121 countries, ahead of US (96), South Africa (99) and Nigeria (117). Norway tops the lists while Iraq closes it.
Norway is ranked as the country most at peace, followed by New Zealand and Denmark
The United States ranks at an unenviable 96th position, barely ahead of Iran which is 97th. The United States’ poor ranking is the result of high levels of military expenditures, warfare, and homicide rates. As Andrew Williamson, the director for economic research, pointed out in an interview,
The United States suffers because it is the world's policeman, with high levels of militarization,'' said in an interview. We are just mechanics and technicians behind the index. We are not making judgments about foreign policy.
The Peace Index has the backing of influential individuals such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and former US President Jimmy Carter.