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Bahrain moves up six places on Global Peace Index.

BAHRAIN has moved up six places in a key peace index even as the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) remained the least peaceful region in the world, according to a new survey.

The kingdom's overall ranking was 124 among 163 countries in the 13th edition of the 2019 Global Peace Index (GPI) published yesterday (June 13) by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a think tank based in Sydney, Australia.

Bahrain was placed 130 in the same index last year (2018), 131 in 2017 and 132 in 2016.

According to the latest survey, Afghanistan (163) was the least peaceful country in the world, replacing Syria (162), followed by South Sudan (161), Yemen (160) and Iraq (159).

Iceland was ranked first in the index followed by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark as the top five peaceful countries.

Four of the nine regions in the world improved in peacefulness in 2019: Russia and Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Mena.

Europe maintained its position as the most peaceful region in the world, while the Mena region remained the least peaceful for the fifth year in a row.

In the Mena region, Qatar was ranked first, followed by Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The assessment covered 99.7 per cent of the world's population under three key parameters: ongoing conflict, safety and security and the degree of militarisation.

Russia and Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, and Mena recorded improvements across all three GPI domains.

The average level of global peacefulness improved very slightly last year on the 2019 GPI.

This was the first time that the index improved in the last five years.

"However, despite improvement, the world remains considerably less peaceful now than a decade ago, with the average level of peacefulness deteriorating by 3.78pc since 2008," the report stated.

It explained that a wide range of factors drove the fall in peacefulness over the past decade including increased terrorist activity, conflicts in the Middle East, rising regional tensions in Eastern Europe and northeast Asia, increasing numbers of refugees, and heightened political tensions in Europe and the US.

"The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2018 amounted to $14.1 trillion in constant purchasing power parity (PPP) terms," said the international think tank.

"This is equivalent to 11.2pc of the world's GDP or $1,853 per person."

The survey stated that last year (2018) the economic impact of violence improved for the first time since 2012, decreasing by 3.3pc or $475bn.

The report claimed the economic cost of violence in Bahrain was estimated at $5.7 billion, while the economic impact of the violence was estimated over $11bn.

The GPI 2017 stated that terror attacks had cost the country around $6.7bn.

The study also analysed the security risks posed by climate change.

It found that an estimated 971 million people lived in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards.

Despite progress made on many fronts in the last decade there were still challenges ahead, according to IEP founder and executive chairman Steve Killelea.

"Although peace has improved in the 2019 GPI, a deeper analysis finds a mixture of positive and negative trends," he said.

"Whilst conflicts that dominated the past decade, such as in Iraq and Syria, have begun to abate, new conflicts have emerged in Yemen, Nicaragua and Turkey."

sandy@gdn.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Jun 14, 2019
Words:588
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