It is very pleasant to report some good news! Ghana ranks High, number 40, as one of the more peaceful nations in the world on the Global Peace Index, developed in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit. Ghana scores high above the United States, which ranks Low, and is number 96 out of 121 countries rated. The full list of rankings is here.
As the Global Peace Index states:
Peace and sustainability are the cornerstones of humanity’s survival in the 21st century. The major challenges facing humanity today are global – climate change, accessible fresh water, ever decreasing bio-diversity and over population. Problems that call for global solutions and these solutions will require co-operation on a global scale unparalleled in history. Peace is the essential prerequisite, for, without peace, how can the major nations of the world co-operate to solve these issues?
- Highlight to the general population the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness;
- Catalyse philanthropic support for further research of peace and funding of peace initiatives;
- Serve as a foundation for primary, secondary and tertiary educational study;
- Emphasise the need for governments to consider the drivers of peace in policy decisions.
It’s fascinating to compare the indicators between different countries. For example, in New Zealand the level of distrust in other citizens is 2 (scale of 1-5, where 1 = most peaceful), whereas in Israel (119 on the index) it is 4. In Norway, the level of ease of access to small arms is 1, while in Iraq it is 5.
The study also sets out a range of potential determinants (“drivers”) that may “influence the creation and nurturance of peaceful societies”. These include functioning of government, 15-34 year old males as a percentage of total population, importance of religion in national life, and number of paramilitary personnel per 100,000 people.
I have a strong feeling that there are other important drivers, including:
- A society’s ability to deal with competition, conflict, grievance and aggression through lawful, regulated and fair mechanisms, e.g., a functioning legal system, parliamentary democracy, and sports.
- The capacity for governments to acknowledge and provide some measure of redress for past wrongs committed against minority groups, thus allowing societies to put chequered pasts behind them. (Interestingly, the New Zealand and Canadian governments have programmes to settle the colonial-era grievances of their indigenous peoples.)
- Equable access to natural resources (such as clean water) and recreational space, fair pricing for essential commodities and services (like electricity), and statutory protection for rivers, forests and other life sustaining ‘natural services’.
- An ethos of sustainability – which emphasizes living simply and within one’s means, rather than zero sum competitions with others for money, resources, and prestige.
And SethP in the comments to Strategist suggests another important driver:
I’d add effective local level govt which provides its citizens with an adequate level of basic services – sewerage, refuse collection, power etc etc.