Fly kites, not fighter jets. Photo: Colourbox
The Global Peace Index (GPI), released this week by the Institute for Economics and Peace, put Denmark behind only Iceland as the world's most peaceful country. It marks the fourth year in a row that Denmark has played second fiddle to Iceland, which has topped the index every year since 2008.
Austria followed Denmark in third place while fellow Nordic nations Finland, Sweden and Norway all ranked in the top 20, taking the 11th, 14th and 17th spots respectively.
The GPI comprises 23 indicators of the existence of violence or fear of violence, which include metrics such as the level of perceived criminality in the society, impact of terrorism, and military expenditure as percentage of the country’s gross domestic product.
Each of the indicators for a given country is graded on a scale of one to five and then indexed into a final score, which can then be compared against other countries.
Denmark’s indexed score was 1.246, up ever so slightly over last year's report while Iceland’s score improved to 1.192. In comparison, the indexed score of Syria, the lowest-rated nation in the report, was 3.806, even worse than it's last-place score from 2015.
Click through on the image to access the interactive map. Screen shot: Vision of Humanity
As a whole, the index concluded that "overall global levels of peace continue to deteriorate while the gap between the most and least peaceful countries continue to widen".
According to the report, Europe is far and away "the most peaceful region in the world, accounting for six of the first seven places in the global rankings".
"However, the average score for Europe deteriorated slightly, reflecting increases in the impact of terrorism due to the large terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels as well as the escalation of violence and instability in Turkey and its deteriorating relations with its neighbours," the report warned.
With military expenditure one of the primary factors in the index, it was perhaps more than a bit ironic that Denmark was named the second most peaceful nation in the world on the same day that parliament gave its final approval to the purchase of 27 new F-35 fighter jets
at a minimum cost of 56 billion kroner (€7.5 billion, $8.5 billion)
The full report from the Institute for Economics and Peace can be accessed here