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Global Peace Index Factors in Climate Change Risks for the First Time

GPI 2019Every year since 2007, the Institute for Economics and Peace has published the “Global Peace Index (GPI),” which, as the title implies, measures the “peacefulness” of nations and regions of the world. In 2019, the GPI for the first time factored climate change into its analysis, and the results were significant. The GPI determined that climate change already has a notably negative impact on peace and security, illustrated by the following top 7 findings:

  • An estimated 971 million people live in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards. Of this number, 400 million or 41 per cent, reside in countries with already low levels of peacefulness.
  • Climate change can indirectly increase the likelihood of violent conflict through its impacts on resource availability, livelihood security and migration.
  • In 2017, 61.5 per cent of total displacements were due to climate-related disasters, while 38.5 per cent were caused by armed conflict.

  • Eight of the 25 least peaceful countries have ten per cent or more of their population in high climate hazard areas, amounting to 103.7 million people at risk. These countries are South Sudan, Iraq, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, North Korea, Nigeria and Mexico.
  • Regionally, sub-Saharan Africa has the weakest coping capacity for climate hazards, which could exacerbate climate-related violent conflicts. There are 122 million people at risk in the region.
  • The MENA region has the highest water-related risk levels of the nine regions, with 93 per cent of recorded river catchments at medium to extremely high risk of water stress.
  • Countries with high levels of Positive Peace are better able to manage climate-induced shocks and tend to have higher environmental performance than those with lower levels of Positive Peace.

To read the full 2019 GPI, click here.


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