Which countries are the most peaceful in the world?

Which countries are the most peaceful in the world?”

The report found that the Middle East and North Africa region showed the second-most improvement in peacefulness worldwide, after Russian Federation and the Eurasia region.

The effects of climate change can create a "tipping point", exacerbating tensions until a breaking point is reached, particularly in countries that are already struggling, said Killelea.

Iceland topped the index as the most peaceful country in the world, while Afghanistan as the least. It is joined at the top of the Global Peace Index (GPI) by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark.

It is home to four of the ten least peaceful countries in the world, with no country from the region ranked higher than 30th on the GPI.

This was partly due to Syria losing its tag as the world's least peaceful country and Iraq showing signs of recovery.

According to the latest report, global peacefulness improved very slightly in the 2019 GPI with the average country score improved by 0.09 per cent.

In the annual Global Peace Index released today, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said an estimated 971 million people - including more than 2.4 million Australians - live in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards including cyclones, floods, bushfires, desertification and rising sea levels.

For the first time, climate change received a dedicated section in the report, which is the largest of its kind.

IEP founder and executive chairman Steve Killelea told the ABC that numerous countries in the Asia-Pacific region also have weaker coping capacities for natural disasters.

Overall, 86 countries improved in peacefulness, while 76 deteriorated. The neighbouring country Pakistan has been ranked 153rd on the index.

Mohib Iqbal, a research fellow at the institute, told RFE/RL that Afghanistan "is now the world's most violent conflict with the highest number of deaths from war and terrorism" after Syria "experienced a decrease in violence after the defeat of [the extremist group Islamic State] and the localization of the ongoing conflict in the country".

However, "a deeper analysis finds a mixture of positive and negative trends", Steve Killelae, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace was quoted as saying. The fall in conflict deaths has also been mirrored by a fall in deaths caused by terrorism.

Two of the three GPI domains deteriorated over the past decade, with Ongoing Conflict deteriorating by 8.7 per cent and Safety and Security deteriorating by 4 per cent. The number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people has fallen in 117 countries, and military expenditure as a percentage of GDP fell in 98 countries, with only 63 countries increasing their spending. However, despite ongoing armed conflict and instability in the region, it did become marginally more peaceful past year. "The decision was based on the innovative notion that a greater level of internal peace is likely to lead to, or at least correlate with, lower external conflict", said the report.

The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2018 represented 11.2 percent of the gross world product, according to the study.

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