Canada has been deemed the fourth most peaceful country in the world, behind only Iceland, Denmark and New Zealand on an annual ranking of peacefulness released Tuesday by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The organization is an Australian-American think-tank that produces the Global Peace Index using data from the Economist Intelligence Unit to show how valuable peace can be.
Rising from eighth place last year, Canada reached fourth place in the Global Peace Index as a result of reduced troop casualties in Afghanistan. The least peaceful place in the world, according to the ranking, is Somalia, which had the same position last year. The civil war in Syria caused it to suffer the worst drop in the ranking, falling 30 positions, followed by Egypt and Tunisia, largely due to the Arab Spring uprisings last year.
Overal the world is a more peaceful place this year than in 2012, says the GPI report, mostly because of budget cuts from six of the world’s top military spenders: Brazil, France, Germany, India, UK and the US, as well as improvements in the Political Terror Scale, which measures levels of political violence and terror.
The report attached to the GPI rankings also put a monetary tag price on the world’s peace:
If the world was completely peaceful in 2011, the additional economic impact would have been an estimated US$9 trillion (equal to the size of the German and Japanese economies combined). While a total elimination of violence may not be possible an achievable 25% reduction in violence could reap a peace dividend of at least US$2.25 trillion.
This amount would easily cover the European Financial Stability Facility’s $1 trillion allocation to deal with the European sovereign debt crisis while also covering the yearly cost of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.