New Zealand named world's fourth most peaceful country in 2024

  • 12/06/2024
New Zealand; Iceland; Yemen.
New Zealand; Iceland; Yemen. Photo credit: Getty Images

New Zealand has once again been recognised as one of the world's most peaceful nations at a time in history said to be marked by the most conflicts since World War II.

The 18th edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI) was released this week by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), with Iceland coming first, followed by Ireland in number two and Austria third.

Aotearoa is ranked fourth on the list, which the IEP calculates by scoring countries on 23 quantitative and qualitative indicators.

Our high ranking is attributed to low levels of domestic and international conflict, minimal violent crime and limited militarisation as well as robust social structures, effective governance and proactive peacekeeping measures.

Of the 23 indicators, those New Zealand scored most poorly on are 'perceived criminality in society' and 'weapons imports'.

Aotearoa has consistently ranked well on the GPI - a stability in stark contrast to the rising unrest observed in other parts of the world.

Yemen has the worst rating on the list at 163, followed by Sudan in 162nd, South Sudan 161st and Afghanistan 160th.

Ukraine is ranked 159th, Israel 155th and Palestine 145th.

New Zealand named world's fourth most peaceful country in 2024
Photo credit: Institute for Economics & Peace

The GPI found a concerning 97 countries are showing a deterioration in peacefulness. This year's index noted the ongoing conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine as primary contributors to a staggering 162,000 battle-related deaths in 2023.

By its definitions, the IEP found there are currently 56 conflicts raging around the world, more than in any previous GPI and the most since World War II.

Aotearoa is ranked as the most peaceful nation in the Asia Pacific region, which saw a slight decline in overall peacefulness, with Papua New Guinea experiencing the worst deterioration due to intensified tribal violence.

Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of IEP, said the current crises underscore the urgency for world leaders to commit to investing in resolving conflict.

"Over the past decade, peacefulness has declined in nine out of the ten years. We are witnessing a record number of conflicts, a rise in militarisation, and heightened international strategic competition," said Killelea.

"Conflict negatively affects the global economy, and business risk from conflict has never been higher, compounding the current global economic vulnerabilities.

"It is imperative for governments and businesses worldwide to intensify their efforts to resolve the many minor conflicts before they escalate into larger crises."