View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Thursday, May 31, 2007

How Peaceful is the UAE?

Sometimes when I meet up with people from other countries and they discover that I live in the United Arab Emirates, one of the first questions they ask is, “Is it safe? Do you feel safe?” The fact that the UAE is part of the Middle East has contributed to a common perception that the country is turbulent and prone to terrorist threats.

A more objective way to gauge a country’s level of peacefulness is being made available today through the launch of the Global Peace Index. This is the first ever study that ranks 121 countries from Algeria to Zimbabwe according to their peacefulness.

Top of the list is Norway (Scandinavia is one of the most peaceful regions in the world) and not surprisingly, Iraq is at the bottom. What might alarm many Americans is to discover that the USA is listed 96th, only one place ahead of Iran. The United Arab Emirates comes in at #38.

This Index of Peace has been compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit through extensive research from their analysts around the globe and is comprised of a broad range of 24 indicators which measures internal and external peacefulness of nations.

The indicators include the levels of violence, organised crime and military expenditure within a country. The Index has also been correlated against a range of social development indicators including democracy, transparency, education and well-being to better understand the determinants or “drivers” that create or sustain peace.

It is very difficult to define peacefulness but the project aims to go beyond a crude measurement of wars and systematically explore the dynamics of peace. It provides a quantitative measure of peacefulness, comparable over time. Its founders hope it will inspire and influence world leaders and governments to further action.

To read the project’s findings, the indicators and to see where and why your country rates, go to this link:

Global Peace Index

Image: Graphic on World Peace, taken from the report.