Two of the leading studies on trends in peace and violence, namely the Global Peace Index and the Human Security Report, have reported seemingly different findings, however on closer inspection we can see they actually support one another.
The 2013 Human Security Report focuses on a long-term “pacification process” and through an analysis of Stephen Pinker’s writing, argues that the world has become increasingly more peaceful since 10,000BCE. The report cites two key reasons for this reduction in violence as the end of colonialism and the end of the cold war.
The report and findings of this study are too complex to summarize in a simple paragraph, so I encourage all readers to take a look at the report or to skim through the highlights in the summary.
The 2014 Global Peace Index Report shows that the world has become less peaceful, with a 5% decrease in levels of global peacefulness since 2008. The Global Peace Index Report is based on an analysis of trends in peace according to the Index’s 22 indicators of peace. These indicators span across three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, as well as the degree of militarisation.
There are a number of reasons for the deterioration of peace which can be explored in the "trends" section of the Global Peace Index Report (page 41).
While there are many differences between the Global Peace Index Report and the Human Security Report, the one to focus on for this argument is the time period. The Human Security Report looks at long-term trends in violence, while the Global Peace Index report identifies short-term trends in peace.
Based on this and combining the findings of the two reports we can say long-term trends in violence show the world is becoming increasingly more peaceful; however over the last seven years there has been a relative deterioration in peace.Related Articles
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The 2013 GPI video explores peace around the world over the last year, and identifies the most peaceful and least peaceful countries.
Is the decline in global violence a myth or a reality? Has the world become less war-prone? Or has the global security environment declined? The Human Security Report analyses this argument with the very latest data.
The 2014 Global Peace Index analyses the state of peace around the world. It identifies the most and least peaceful countries, trends in violence and conflict, and calculates the economic impact of violence. This year the report includes a section on countries at risk of becoming less peaceful in the new two years.
Only got a few minutes but want to learn about the state of peace around the world? Check out this short video that shows what we can learn from measuring peace.
Vision of Humanity is an initiative of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). IEP have offices in New York and Sydney. For more specific inquiries related to the peace indexes and research, please contact IEP directly.