On 24 June, The Hague Institute, together with the Institute for Economics and Peace, hosted the launch of the 2016 Global Peace Index. The Index ranks 163 countries in terms of their safety and security in society, occurrence of domestic or international conflict, and militarization.
Following opening remarks by Ms. Ingrid van Engelshoven, Deputy Mayor of The Hague, Ms. Camilla Schippa, Director of the Institute of Economics and Peace provided an introduction to the Index. She elaborated on its methodology, its indicators, and its relevance. She noted that the Index measured relative peacefulness, as no country is completely at peace.
In her remarks, Schippa offered some highlights of the report. While 79 countries deteriorated in terms of their peacefulness, 81 improved. Of the countries researched, Syria ranked least peaceful, while Iceland topped the list. She also noted that in the last year, there has been an increase in the willingness to pay for peacekeeping. However, the recurrence of conflict and the challenges for states to transition out of violence is the most significant challenge. Schippa argued that we need to better understand our investment in resolving these conflicts.
Secondly, Schippa highlighted the fact that terrorism is at an all-time high, though it is concentrated in the countries of Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria. Together with the high level of battle deaths, this has led to the displacement of sixty million people. She concluded by emphasizing that these trends have caused the world to become less peaceful but not in a uniform way.
Mr. Rob Sijstermans, Training and Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute, offered insights into the need for data from the field to support progress in security and justice. He remarked that there is insufficient funding for data collection despite the rhetoric of evidence-based approaches to policy making, which complicates security and justice programming. Sijstermans stressed the need for enhanced data collection. He further observed several other struggles in evidence-based work, including: methodologies, the translation of data into policy, and the lack of local voice.
The presentations were followed by an extensive and interactive Q&A-session, moderated by Dr. David Connolly, Head of the Conflict Prevention Program at The Hague Institute. Topics included the Sustainable Development Goal 16, military spending, the difference between positive and negative peace, and measuring development.