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Index ranks Botswana among the world's most peaceful countri...

The newly released 2010 Global Peace Index (GPI) has once ranked Botswana as one of the world's most peaceful countries, as well as the most peaceful country in Africa with an improved overall ranking.

Botswana's worldwide ranking in the 2010 Index was 33 out of the 149 countries measured in the survey, placing it just behind Singapore, France and the UK and otherwise well ahead of most European countries as well as the United States (85).

Since 2008 Botswana’s score has steadily improved, resulting in its moving up seven places in the overall international rankings.
According to the survey's authors “in a region least at peace Botswana fare best” further noting that its high global position was a result of minimal militarization, and freedom from internal conflicts as well as “low scores for most measures of safety and security [that] point to a relatively harmonious society”.

Botswana’s improved score since 2008 is further attributed to success in curbing crime and a reduction in the prison population. Like last year the study, however, noted that the country’s homicide rate remains relatively high.

Botswana high and improved position for 2010 stands in sharp contrast that of neighbouring states South Africa (121) and Zimbabwe (135), which were both singled out as numbering among the world's least peaceful societies.

New Zealand was ranked as the world's most peaceful nation, followed by Iceland and Japan. As with the past four surveys, the world's least peaceful nations were reported to be Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq.

Botswana's standing is consistent with recent Afrobarometer findings, which showed overwhelming majorities of Batswana expressing trust in both the courts and police service, while agreeing that people were rarely or never treated unequally under the law.

The Global Peace Index is maintained by the Institute for Economics and Peace and developed in consultation with an international panel of experts with data collected and analysed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The 2010 Index is composed of two data sets, being –

• 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, which combine such factors as levels of violence and crime, political stability, respect for human rights and the rule of law, potential for terrorist acts, likelihood of violent demonstrations, access to weapons, international standing and civilian control over the military; and

• an updated secondary dataset of 33 indicators measuring quality of life and good governance that attempt to gauge democracy, government competence and efficacy; the strength of institutions and the political process; international openness; demographics; regional integration; respect for religion and culture; education and material well-being.

In addition to the Economist Intelligence Unit, organizations engaged in the study include the United Nations Survey of Criminal Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, International Institute for Strategic Studies, University of Uppsala Conflict Data Programme, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Bonn International Centre for Conversion and the International Centre for Prisons Studies.

The Index is further said to have been tested against a broad range of “drivers” or potential determinants of peace, including levels of democracy and transparency, education and material wellbeing, which were collected from such additional sources as Amnesty International, the World Bank and Reporters without Frontiers.

The Global Peace Index was originally the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Killelea, who argues that it "is a wake-up call for leaders around the globe." It has been endorsed by such individuals as Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and Nobel Laureates such as Martti Ahtisaari, Mary Robinson and Jimmy Carter.

In its Executive Summary the 2010 report states that:

“The results of the Global Peace Index (GPI) for 2010 suggest that the world has become slightly less peaceful in the past year. The GPI, which gauges ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society and militarisation in 149 countries, registered overall increases in several indicators, including the likelihood of violent demonstrations and perceptions of criminality. In some nations, an intensification of conflicts and growing instability appears to be linked to the global economic downturn in late 2008 and early 2009.”

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