Report: Iceland world’s most peaceful nation

Iceland is the most peaceful country on the planet, according to this year’s Global Peace Index. It marks the second year in a row that the tiny island nation claimed the top spot, while a report from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) also suggests that the world has got more peaceful as a whole.

The Global Peace Index, now in its sixth year, ranks countries across the world on how peaceful they are according to 28 indicators, such as political stability, crime levels, deaths from conflict and access to weapons. Just behind Iceland at the top of the table were Denmark and New Zealand respectively, while Somalia stays at the bottom for the second year in a row, largely due to the country’s ongoing civil war.

Afghanistan and Sudan made up the remainder of the bottom three, while the ongoing violence in Syria has seen it drop 30 places to 147. In contrast, Sri Lanka has moved up almost 30 places since the end of the civil war, making it the highest climber on the list.

Largely due to instability caused by the Arab Spring, North Africa and the Middle East are now ranked as the most dangerous regions on the planet, while Western Europe holds its undefeated title as the most peaceful.

Speaking about the improved peace levels globally, IEP founder Steve Killilea said, “Peacefulness has returned to approximately the levels seen in 2007, but while external measures of peacefulness have improved, there has been a rise in internal conflict. This is particularly noticeable in the rise in fatalities from terrorist acts, which have more than trebled since 2003.”