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In June 2021, Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) published its 15th edition of the annual Global Peace Index (GPI). According to GPI 2021, the average level of the world's peacefulness deteriorated significantly for the ninth time in twelve years in 2020. Overall, 87 countries improved in peacefulness, whilst 73 deteriorated. This was the second smallest in the history of the index, but the report also reveals that improvements in peace are more gradual than declines. At the regional level, Europe remained the most peaceful region in the world and was home to eight of the ten most peaceful countries, while North America recorded the largest deterioration in 2021. Despite recording the most significant improvement in peacefulness in 2021, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) remained the least peaceful region in the world and South Asia one of the three regions to record an improvement in peacefulness, but it remains the second least peaceful region overall.
Among 163 countries in the rank, Iceland remained the most peaceful country in the world, and Afghanistan continued to rank last. Italy ranked 32nd, three places lower than last year.
From January 2020 to April 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic had a noticeable impact on Violence. At least 158 countries recorded one or more violent incidents directly related to the pandemic during this time. Meanwhile, the impact of violence in 2020 was equivalent to 11.6 per cent of global GDP, or $1,942 per person. As much of the world looks towards a COVID-19 recovery, increased civil unrest and political instability will be important to navigate.