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Iran Ranks 99 out of 140 in Global Peace Index 2009

global-peace-index-2009-iThe concept of peace is notoriously difficult to define. The simplest way of defining it is in terms of harmony achieved by the absence of war or conflict. This is “Negative Peace” .

“Positive Peace” is to identify which structures and institutions create and maintain peace. The GPI is a first step in this direction; the index is calculated on the basis of 23 indicators measuring conflicts, societal security and militarization. 2009 GPI was calculated before Iran’s election, and Iran ranks as 99 out of 140 countries.


The UN defined a culture of peace as involving values, attitudes and behaviors that:

* Reject violence
* Endeavor to prevent conflicts by addressing root causes
* Aim at solving problems through dialogue and negotiation

The main findings of the Global Peace Index are:

* Peace correlated to indicators such as income, schooling and the level of regional integration (source and numerical coefficient?)
* Peaceful countries often shared high levels of transparency of government and low corruption
* Small, stable countries which are part of regional blocks are most likely to get a higher ranking

23 Indicators

The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from respected sources, which combine internal and external factors ranging from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its relations with neighboring countries and the level of respect for human rights. These indicators were selected by an international panel of experts including academics and leaders of peace institutions.

The Global Peace Index (GPI) Indicators
Internal Peace60%
External Peace40%
Measures of ongoing domestic and international conflictWeight
(1 to 5)
1Number of external and internal conflicts fought: 2002-075
2Estimated number of deaths from organized conflict (external)5
3Number of deaths from organized conflict (internal)5
4Level of organized conflict (internal)5
5Relations with neighboring countries5
Measures of societal safety and security
6Perceptions of criminality in society4
7Number of displaced people as a percentage of the population4
8Political instability4
9Respect for human rights4
10Potential for terrorist acts1
11Number of homicides per 100,000 people4
12Level of violent crime4
13Likelihood of violent demonstrations3
14Number of jailed population per 100,000 people3
15Number of internal security officers and police per 100,000 people3
Measures of Militarization
16Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP2
17Number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people2
18Volume of transfers of major conventional weapons,as recipient (Imports) per 100,000 people2
19Volume of transfers of major conventional weapons as supplier(exports) per 100,000 people3
20Funding for UN peacekeeping missions2
21Aggregate number of heavy weapons per 100,000 people3
22Ease of access to weapons of minor destruction3
23Military capability/sophistication2


Selected Countries and their 2009 Global Peace Index
1New Zealand1.202
35United Kingdom1.647
39 Vietnam1.664
40United Arab Emirates1.667
83United States of America2.015
104Saudi Arabia2.167
131North Korea2.717


A regional overview

The countries of the Middle East and North Africa are broadly ranked in the bottom half of the GPI, with war-torn Iraq the least at peace, as last year. Israel’s low rank reflects its very high levels of militarization as well as the Israel Defence Force’s incursion into Gaza in late December 2008 and very tense relations with neighbouring countries. Yemen’s fall of 13 places to 119th position reflects a sharply worsening security situation. Qatar and Oman are, by contrast, ranked in the top 25 of the GPI, with low levels of militarization by regional standards and fairly low scores for most measures of safety and security in society.

Middle East and

North Africa





United Arab
Saudi Arabia10413

Average of Western Europe region GPI is 20
Average of Central and Eastern Europe region GPI is 70

Average of Asia Pacific region GPI is 75
Average of Middle East and North Africa region GPI is 78

Average of Latin America region GPI is 83
Average of Sub-Saharan African region GPI is 96

Average of Iran’s neighboring countries is 110


New Zealand: 1st place

New Zealand is ranked the nation most at peace of the 144 ranked in the 2009 Global Peace Index. Its rise from 3rd position in 2008 is partly explained by an increase in the score for political stability, following the election of a new coalition government in November 2008. The centre-right National Party has a strong popular mandate and a robust parliamentary majority by New Zealand’s standards, putting the new prime minister, John Key, in a good position to push through his agenda. The rise to first position is also related to the fall of Iceland from the top spot last year, which reflects the deterioration in its indicators of political stability, the likelihood of violent demonstrations and perceived criminality in the wake of the banking collapse that engulfed the economy in September. Most aspects of safety and security in society, including the likelihood of violent

demonstrations, the homicide rate and the level of respect for human rights receive the lowest possible scores (unchanged from last year), although the proportion of the population in jail is higher than any of the Nordic nations. New Zealand maintains harmonious relations with neighbouring countries, notably Australia, links with which are underpinned by the 1983 Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement. Augmenting the single-market agreement is a Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement, which allows citizens of New Zealand and Australia to travel, work and live freely in either country.

Steps are also being taken towards greater harmonisation of competition policy, and banking and accountancy regulations with Australia, The ten most at peace although plans for a joint Trans-Tasman agency for the regulation of drugs and therapeutic goods were shelved in mid-2007 owing to a lack of agreement on the issue among New Zealand political parties. New Zealand’s measures of militarization continue to receive very low scores – military expenditure fell back to 1.07% of GDP in 2007 (latest available figures), which is a lower proportion than Norway and Finland, but higher than Denmark and Iceland.
Concerns have been raised in New Zealand that its low level of military spending could compromise the ability of the 8,600-strong New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to meet all its objectives, which include its alliance commitments to Australia and maintaining security in the South Pacific. New Zealand is
accorded a low score for its exports of major conventional weapons–slightly lower the score for Norway, Denmark and Finland and considerably below the score for Sweden.

Iraq: 144th place

War-torn Iraq remains the lowest-ranked nation of the GPI. The indicator for the level of organized conflict within the country stays at the highest possible score (5) in this year’s GPI; 9,204 Iraqis were killed in 2008 according to Iraqi Body Count, as were 322 Coalition troops. Some 946 Iraqis died in the first four months of 2009. Mosul remains an urban stronghold for al-Qaida, and the Iraqi security forces, despite their successes elsewhere, have largely failed to clear insurgents from Diyala governorate.

Iraq’s score for political stability has improved since last year, albeit from a low base, in line with a substantial enhancement of the position of the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, following a series of Iraqi army offensives in early 2008 in Basra, Baghdad, and Amarah against elements within the Mahdi Army (a militia ostensibly loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, a radical Shia cleric).

The crackdown on Shia militia’s has also precipitated thawing relations with neighbouring Arab countries (the score for this indicator falls from 4 to 3), and most of them have now reopened their embassies in Baghdad, although mutual suspicions remain. Despite these improvements, and an easing security situation since mid-2007, ongoing tensions and violence is far higher in Iraq than in most countries and the GPI’s measures of safety and security in society mirror this: the level of trust in other citizens, the homicide rate, the level of violent crime and the potential for terrorist acts all receive the highest possible scores (unchanged from last year).

The proportion of the population who are displaced rose to almost 8%, according to latest statistics from the UNHCR, higher even than Afghanistan. As a result of rising violence, some 1.5 million Iraqis are now thought to live in Syria, with another 500,000-750,000 in Jordan. “Sectarian cleansing” – most notably in the capital, Baghdad, but also elsewhere – by insurgent and militia groups has led to an estimated 2.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Fearful of reprisals, or in the face of explicit threats, most IDPs have withdrawn from mixed areas to those that are more religiously homogenous. In addition, many Iraqis have fled to the more stable Iraqi Kurdistan region. Iraq is a highly militarized country, the legacy of Saddam Hussein’s steady build-up of forces from his time as head of security in the ruling Ba’ath Party in the 1970s. The GPI score for its military capability sophistication has increased this year, in line with the Iraqi Army’s recent purchase of sophisticated US weaponry, including General Dynamics Abrams tanks, Lockheed Martin M-16 fighter jets and Bell helicopters.


Main Findings

Peaceful societies are characterised as countries with the following:

Social Structures

• Well functioning governments
• Good relations with regional neighbors
• Low levels of corruption
• High enrolment rates in primary education
• Freedom of the press
• Respect for human rights

Social Attitudes

• Do not see their cultures as superior to others
• Place a high value on tolerance
• Believe in free speech and respect human rights
• Believe military action should be limited and internationally sanctioned

Potential Size of a Peace Gross World Product

• For 2007, the total economic impact of the cessation of violence could have been US$7.2 trillion2. This consists of:

- US $2.4 trillion derived from the static economic effect of peace
- US $4.8 trillion derived from the dynamic peace dividend

Consumer Markets and Peacefulness

On average, for every 10 place improvement on the 2008 Global Peace Index the following is observed on a per capita basis:

• Gross Domestic Product increases by approximately US$3,100
• Consumer spending on food and nonalcoholic beverages increases by US$132
• Consumer spending on clothing and footwear increases by US$65
• Consumer spending on leisure and recreation increases by US$144
• Consumer spending on household goods and services increases by US$87
• Consumer spending on housing increases by US$309
• Consumer spending on communications increases by US$42


Click here to see a comparison of  Iran 99, USA 83, Qatar 16, Saudi Arabia 104, and Israel 141.
Contact GPI team: Form

PDF files:
1- Results Report 2009 (Methodology, Results, and Findings)
2- Discussion Paper 2009 (Peace, its Causes and Economic Value)
3- Endorsers List (List of endorsers of the Gobal Peace Index.\)
4- Fact Sheet GPI 2009 (Overview of the 2009 Global Peace Index results)