x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Qatar top in GCC and 15th place overall on Global Peace Index

The emirate moved up two positions from last year's report to 15th overall out of 149 countries. It was ranked No 1 out of 18 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Qatar was ranked the most peaceful country in the GCC in the fourth edition of the Global Peace Index. The emirate moved up two positions from last year's report to 15th overall out of 149 countries. It was ranked No 1 out of 18 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Oman was second in the region and 23rd overall. Kuwait (39th), the UAE (44th), Bahrain (70th) and Saudi Arabia (107th) rounded out the rankings of GCC countries.

The index, published on Tuesday by the Institute for Economics and Peace, an international think tank based in Australia, monitors domestic and international conflicts, safety and security, and militarisation in calculating its rankings. It also tracks indicators such as the likelihood for violent protests and crime statistics, including a country's homicide rate. The research team included academics from New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Australia, Spain and Japan.

The report attributed Qatar's ranking to the country's public safety and security, and because "its military is smaller, less active and less sophisticated than that of its neighbouring countries". Overall, the world is a less peaceful place than a year ago with the rise in conflict and instability being attributed to the global economic downturn in late 2008 and early 2009, according to the report.

The least peaceful country on the index for the fourth year in a row is Iraq, followed by Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and Israel. For the second straight year, New Zealand is the most peaceful country in the world while Iceland, Japan, Austria, Norway and Ireland round out the top six. Of the nations that have permanent seats on the UN Security Council, the UK (31st) holds the highest ranking, one place higher than France (32nd). China is 80th while the United States is 85th and Russia was last of the council's veto-wielding members at 143rd.

Haiti (114) and Hungary (20) made the biggest improvement from least year's index with each jumping seven places. Drops in violent demonstrations and the homicide rate, respectively, were factors for the countries' improvements, the report said. Ethiopia moved up six spots to 127 because of "a sharp drop in the number of Ethiopian fatalities resulting from external conflict was a key contributor to the country's improved score and ranking position", according to the report. Mauritania also improved six places while Lebanon moved up three rankings from 137 last year to 134.

Syria had the biggest decline in ranking, falling 18 spots to 115. The index attributed this sharp decline to an indicator that considers weaponry by "its destructive capacity, Syria emerges with one of the highest scores, with only Cyprus, Israel and Libya harbouring more heavy weapons per head". The Philippines also had a steep fall on the index. The island nation dropped 10 places to 130, reflecting a rise violence from the government's conflict with Abu Sayyaf, according to the report.

iromboletti@thenational.ae