Global Peace Index 2020: Armenia, Azerbaijan record largest increase in peacefulness

Armenia is ranked 99th (up from 118st last year) among 163 countries in Global Peace Index 2020 released by the Institute for Economics & Peace.

Armenia had the second largest increase in peacefulness on the 2020 GPI, with only its neighbouring country Azerbaijan having a larger improvement. It rose 15 places in the rankings and is now ranked among the 100 most peaceful countries, owing to a large improvement in relations with neighboring countries, as well as a substantial fall in its incarceration rate.

The largest improvement occurred on the Ongoing Conflict domain, with improvements in relations with neighbouring countries and a fall in deaths from internal conflict. The primary driver of these changes was an improved relationship with neighbouring Azerbaijan, helped in part by Armenia’s ‘velvet revolution’, and a stabilisation of the Nagarno-Karabakh conflict.

On the Safety and Security domain, Armenia’s incarceration rate improved significantly, falling over 35 per cent over the past three years to 76 prisoners per 100,000 people. This fall means that Armenia now has the lowest incarceration rate in the Russia and Eurasia region. There was also an improvement in its homicide rate, political instability, and a fall in terrorism impact.

Despite these improvements, Armenia did record deteriorations in some indicators. Although political instability improved, it came at the expense of increasing government interference, resulting in a deterioration in Armenia’s political terror scale score. There was also a deterioration in the Militarisation domain.Weapons imports rose significantly, as did military expenditure as a percentage of GDP.

The results this year show that the level of global peacefulness deteriorated, with the average country score falling by 0.34 per cent. This is the ninth deterioration in peacefulness in the last twelve years, with 81 countries improving, and 80 recording deterioration over the past year.

The 2020 GPI reveals a world in which the conflicts and crises that emerged in the past decade have begun to abate, only to be replaced with a new wave of tension and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Armenia’s neighbors in the region are ranked as follows: Georgia – 95th, Azerbaijan 120th, Turkey -150th, Iran – 142nd.

Armenia’s partners in the Eurasian Economic Union Russia and Belarus are placed 154th and 94th respectively, Kazakhstan is 70th, Kyrgyzstan is 93rd.

Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark.

Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the second year in a row, followed by Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen. All, except Yemen, have been ranked amongst the five least peaceful since at least 2015.

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