The Institute of Economics and Peace says global conflicts have decreased over the past year, but the pandemic has increased uncertainty.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a global increase in civil unrest and political insecurity, according to the 15th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) released on Thursday.
The GPI, an annual report prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), ranks 163 independent states and territories by level of peace and is the world’s leading measure of global peace.
“This year’s results show that the average level of global peace has deteriorated by 0.07 percent,” the report said. The report said it was “the ninth decline in peace in the last thirteen years.
“However, the change in score is the second smallest in the history of the index,” it added.
According to the 2021 GPI, while global conflicts and crises that have emerged over the past decade subsided, they were replaced “with a new wave of tension and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising tensions between several major powers”. .
In 2020, the world saw about 15,000 violent protests and riots. The damage caused was costing a whopping $15 trillion, or 11.6 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Of them, over 5,000 were related to the pandemic and were recorded between January 2020 and April 2021.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Sydney, Australia, IEP CEO Steve Killelia said: “There has been a very slight decrease in peace in 2020. This was mainly due to an increase in the number of violent demonstrations and the level of political instability. .
“Part of that was driven by the COVID-19 lockdown and the economic issues that followed.”
India, Eastern Europe and the United States showed the most declines at that level due to increased demonstrations over coronavirus-related restrictions.
According to Killalia, the impact of the pandemic has been mixed.
“Initially, we saw a drop in the number of murders and violent crimes as the lockdown was imposed. But after some time it changed.”
“It is still too early to fully assess the long-term effects of the pandemic on peace,” the report said.
estimated that more two third The world’s population has experienced lockdown measures lasting weeks to months.
according to world bank an estimateThe global economy shrank 4.3 percent in 2020, wiping out trillions of dollars. Countries already facing financial crunch went into further debt.
A report by Oxfam International (PDF) estimates that it may take more than a decade for the world’s poorest people to recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic.
most violent protest
Generally, however, the most violent protests in the past year were in Belarus, Myanmar, Russia, the US and Kyrgyzstan.
Belarus, a country of 9.5 million that Russia sees as a security buffer against NATO, has been rocked by mass demonstrations since August last year after the presidential election Alexander Lukashenko said he won. His opponents claim that the vote was rigged and they wanted him to resign.
Myanmar plunged into chaos after the military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on 1 February. Countrywide strikes, boycotts and protests crippled the economy as thousands were displaced by heavy fighting between the military and ethnic minority rebels and newly formed militias.
Nevertheless, Afghanistan has remained the most violent country in the world for the past four years. According to the report, it is followed by Yemen, Syria, South Sudan and Iraq.
On the opposite side of the scale, Iceland has held the status of the most peaceful country in the world since 2008. Along with New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, Slovenia, it forms the top five most peaceful countries worldwide.
According to Killalia, the number of deaths from violent conflict has improved over the past year.
“There has been an increase in militarization in the last two years. But if we go back to the last decade, it was improving, which is likely to continue over the next few years. “
improvement in three areas
According to Killalia, only three of the nine areas covered by the institute have shown an improvement in the level of peace in the past year.
“Looking at the nine sectors covered, three improved and the other six declined. The biggest drop was North America,” Killelia said, explaining that the decline was primarily related to violence during the last US election, the occupation of Capitol Hill and Black Lives Matter.
On the other hand, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) showed the greatest improvement, followed by Europe and South Asia, although the MENA region still remains the least peaceful region in the world, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the country that reported the highest fear of violence was Brazil, “where about 83 percent of Brazilians were very concerned about being the victim of a violent crime,” the report said.
But actual experience of violence was greatest in Namibia, “where 63 percent of the population experienced or experienced serious harm from violence”. [had] Knows someone who was in the last two years,” it said.