The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has published the 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI), compiling the annual ranking of the most peaceful countries in the world.

This is the Sydney-based global think tank’s 17th edition of the Global Peace Index which ranks 163 independent states and territories in total, according to their level of peacefulness.

The GPI covers 163 countries comprising 99.7% of the world’s population, using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators and measures the state of peace across three domains:

• Extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict
• Level of societal safety and security
• Degree of militarization

This year’s results found that the world is a little less safe than last year, due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The average level of country peacefulness deteriorated by 0.42 per cent in the 2023 Global Peace Index. This is the ninth consecutive year that global peacefulness has deteriorated. The average level of peacefulness has only improved twice year-on-year since 2008,” the global think tank said. 

Sri Lanka’s rank dropped 18 places on the list to 107, as South Asia recorded a slight deterioration in peacefulness over the past year and remains the second least peaceful region overall.

The average level of peacefulness in South Asia increased by 0.13 per cent, owing to deteriorations in the Militarisation and Safety and Security domains. Four of the seven countries in the region experienced improvements in peacefulness, while three deteriorated.

The IEP said there is a wide disparity between the least and most peaceful countries in South Asia, with Bhutan ranked 17th overall and Afghanistan being the least peaceful country in the world in the 2023 GPI.

Meanwhile, Iceland has remained the most peaceful country in the world since the study was first released in 2008.

It also ranks as the third happiest country in the world, after Finland and Denmark.

More than 60% of the country’s population lives in the capital city of Reykjavik, according to National Geographic,

In Iceland, school is free for all Icelanders through college, and every student is taught to speak Danish and English.

Top 10 most peaceful countries in the world
1. Iceland
2. Denmark
3. Ireland
4. New Zealand
5. Austria
6. Singapore
7. Portugal
8. Slovenia
9. Japan
10. Switzerland

The second country on the list is Denmark. Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is home to institutions such as the Copenhagen Stock Exchange and serves as a hub connecting Northern Europe with the rest of the world, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Although people living in Denmark pay some of the world’s highest taxes, up to half of their income, it is for a reason.

Due to the high taxes, Denmark can offer its citizens most healthcare options with no fee, university students pay no tuition and receive a grant to help cover expenses while studying, childcare is subsidized, and the elderly receive pensions and are provided with care helpers who visit them at home, according to the country’s website.

Ireland rounds out the top three. After Great Britain, Ireland is Europe’s second largest island. Ireland is known for its lush, green fields hence its nickname, Emerald Isle, according to National Geographic.

Ireland’s population has increased by 10 percent in the last decade, according to a report released by the Central Statistics Office. According to the report’s author, the country’s population growth is among the fastest in the European Union.

– with inputs from agencies