Czech Republic ranks among most peaceful

The country is seventh in global peace but 17th in societal safety

The Czech Republic came in seventh on the 2018 edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The GPI ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their levels of peacefulness.

The ranking is often used to justify calling the Czech Republic one of the safest countries, but that is just part of what the ranking represents. The GPI tracks global peace across three topics: the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarization, based on 23 indicators.

While seventh place is a good score, the country has dropped from sixth, which it held in the 2017 and '16 rankings. The country was as high as fifth place in 2011 and as low as 18th place in 2008, the first year of the rankings.

Iceland came in at the number one spot in the 2018 ranking as has been at the top for all except one year. Second place went to New Zealand. Also ahead of the Czech Republic this year was Austria, Portugal, Denmark and Canada.

The last two spots went to Afghanistan and Syria.

In the ranking that matters most to people living in the Czech Republic, the country was 17th in societal safety and security. That category refers to internal aspects of violence, such as homicide, incarceration or the availability of small arms. 

The Czech Republic was eighth in militarization, and 13th in ongoing domestic and international conflict, with one being the most peaceful and 163 the least.

“The assertion is that low crime rates, minimal terrorist activity and violent demonstrations, harmonious relations with neighboring countries, a stable political scene and a small proportion of the population being internally displaced or made refugees can be equated with peacefulness,” the GPI report says.

Even though the Czech Republic dropped one spot in 2018, it is one of the most improved countries since the ranking started. “While there has been some fluctuation in the level of peacefulness of the world’s most peaceful countries, the change has been minimal, with a very slight 0.9 percent improvement in peacefulness,” the report states.

“The largest improvements occurred in Singapore and the Czech Republic. By contrast, the world’s least peaceful countries have experienced a clear and sustained deterioration in peacefulness over the last decade, with the average level of peacefulness deteriorating 12.7 percent,” it said.

In terms of the economic cost of violence, the Czech Republic was in 125th place, with it costing some 5 percent of GDP. Syria was first, with 68 percent of GDP going to violence. Switzerland was last with just 1 percent.

Overall, Europe remained the top region in the world, even though Europe declined in peace across all three main domains for the past three years.

“Improvements in political instability, terrorism impact, violent crime, and external conflicts were more than offset by deteriorations in the region’s scores for political terror, perceptions of criminality, relations with neighboring countries, and intensity of internal conflict. Despite this deterioration, Europe was the most peaceful region in the GPI for the 10th successive year. In 2018, Europe claimed 20 of the top 30 rankings in the GPI, and with 25 of the 36 European nations in the top 50,” the report said.

Worldwide, peace has worsened, according to the report. “The results of the 2018 GPI find that the global level of peace has deteriorated by 0.27 percent in the last year, marking the fourth successive year of deteriorations. Ninety-two countries deteriorated, while 71 countries improved. The 2018 GPI reveals a world in which the tensions, conflicts, and crises that emerged in the past decade remain unresolved, especially in the Middle East, resulting in this gradual, sustained fall in peacefulness,” the report stated.

“Underlying the fall in peacefulness, six of the nine regions in the world deteriorated in the last year. The four most peaceful regions – Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, and South America – all recorded deteriorations, with the largest overall deterioration occurring in South America, owing to falls in the Safety and Security domain, mainly due to increases in the incarceration rate and impact of terrorism,” the report said.

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