Yangyel Lhaden

Ranking 19th out of 163 countries across the world in peacefulness, Bhutan is the most peaceful country in South Asia according to the Global Peace Index (GPI) report, 2020.

Bhutan is the only country out of Europe and Asia-Pacific to rank in the top 20. However, Bhutan’s rank dropped four places from 15 in 2019.

GPI report 2020 shows the level of global peacefulness deteriorated with an average score of 0.34 percent which is the ninth deterioration in peacefulness in the past 12 years. Last year, 81 countries improved their peacefulness rank while 80 recorded deterioration.

Only two regions – Russia and Eurasia, and North America became more peaceful from 2019 to 2020.

The GPI measures the state of peace in three domains- the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarisation. Additionally, GPI 2020 includes an analysis of the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on peace.

Only one domain, militarisation improved in 2020 driven by improvement in United Nations peacekeeping funding and a fall in the level of both weapons import and export.

The report attributed the decrease in peacefulness due to deterioration in the safety and security domain whereby indicators such as political indicators and violent demonstrations deteriorated. There was also a higher police rate and incarceration rate.

The report states 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.

In 2019, GPI findings revealed the world became more peaceful for the first time in five years with the average level of country peacefulness improving slightly by 0.09 percent.

The report states peacefulness in South Asia deteriorated on the 2020 GPI owing to a fall in peacefulness in Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.

“However, despite its high level of peacefulness Bhutan had an overall deterioration in the score of 2020 GPI,” the report stated.

Police rate increased with about 581 police officers per 100,000. “Although the most peaceful country in the region, Bhutan has a significant higher police rate than any other South Asian country,” the report stated.

In South Asia, Nepal ranks second followed by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Nepal ranks 73 overall.

Out of 163 countries, Iceland is the most peaceful country and Afghanistan the least peaceful.