By Rafaella Georgiou
Cyprus ranked 51 out of 162 countries on the 2014 Global Peace Index falling two places from last year, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said on Wednesday.
The index is published annually by the IEP and ranks countries based on the levels of internal and external peacefulness.
One place down from Cyprus was Serbia, while the UK and France, were just a few places higher at places 47 and 48 respectively. Greece was ranked 86, while Turkey was at 128, the lowest ranking of all European countries.
The report blames Cyprus’ drop on the increased political instability on the island, resulting from the banking crisis over the past 12 months. It said that although there was a reduction on the import of weapons, military expenditure had increased.
On a financial level, the estimated costs for unrest, which includes all expenditure on military services, costs for internal and private security, UN peacekeeping and the cost of internally displaced people and refugees, cost the economy $885 million (€652m) since the last reporting period.
Deterioration of peacefulness was a feature worldwide.
Founder and executive chairman of IEP, Steve Killelea said this was due to the “continued economic repercussions of the global financial crisis, the reverberations of the Arab Spring, and the continued spread of terrorism. The impact on the global economy is estimated to have been $9.8 trillion in the past 12 months.
The report also identified Europe as the most peaceful region in the world and South Asia as the least. Iceland still holds is place as the most peaceful nation, while Syria took its place as the world’s least peaceful country. Georgia showed significant signs of improvement in peace levels, while South Sudan experienced the largest drop in the index.
The GPI also predicts that a strong rebound in peace is unlikely as Zambia, Haiti, Argentina, Chad , Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Burundi, Georgia, Liberia and Qatar, were identified as 10 countries with the highest risk of increasing levels of violence over the next two years.
Killelea also warned of a negative cycle in the world where low economic growth would lead to higher levels of violence and consequently even lower economic growth.