The last year has been marked by the rising intensity of the civil war in Syria and its geopolitical ramifications, the continued US withdrawal from Afghanistan alongside persistently weak performances by the major economies. These factors have contributed to the world becoming slightly less peaceful continuing the global slide in peacefulness which has now been in effect for the last six years.
2012 has also seen the continuation of two major contrasting themes for global peacefulness; the increasing intensity of internal conflict and declines in large collective inter-state conflicts. The index has again been topped by Iceland with the ten highest ranking nations in the GPI being all relatively small, stable democracies. Nordic and Alpine countries are particularly well represented. Asia-Pacific is also represented at the top, with New Zealand at 3rd and Japan at 6th.
The most peaceful region of the world continues to be Europe while the least peaceful region is South Asia. Afghanistan this year returns to the bottom of the GPI, partly due to increases in political instability and terrorist activity. It replaces Somalia which experienced a slightly more peaceful year and moved up from the lowest position in the GPI for the first time in two years.