BROOMFIELD, Colo., June 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The results of the 2015 Global Peace Index (GPI), an annual report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, were revealed today at an event hosted by Broomfield-based One Earth Future. During the event, local global affairs experts, including Andrew Mack, a One Earth Future fellow, and Deborah Avant, director of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver reacted to and discussed the findings.
Some of the key findings of the report include:
- The intensity of armed conflict around the world increased dramatically, with the number of people killed in conflicts globally rising more than 3.5 times, from 49,000 in 2010 to 180,000 in 2014.
- Total deaths from terrorism in 2014 increased by nine percent to an estimated 20,000.
- Almost one percent of the world's population is now refugees or internally displaced (IDPs), the highest level since 1945, and numbers are expected to increase.
While the 2015 GPI findings, presented by Aubrey Fox, executive director of the Institute for Economics and Peace, show that violence around the globe is on the rise, representatives from One Earth Future Foundation stressed that a short term increase in violence and conflict isn't a foundational challenge to the idea that there has been a long-term decline.
"If international organizations, including many Denver-based organizations, fail to continue to prioritize global development, democracy, and human security then it's possible this uptick in violence may represent a movement away from the 100-year trend in increasing peace," said Dr. Conor Seyle, deputy director of research and development, One Earth Future Foundation. "I believe, however, that if the U.S. and global organizations re-commit to leadership in supporting fragile and at-risk countries through international aid and support for better governance, then the overall trends in peace may continue."
During the event, local experts weighed in on the findings and provided perspective on what the results mean within the context of history and the current state of extremist groups.
Andrew Mack, One Earth Future Fellow, and founder of the Human Security Report series, argues that this upsurge does not mean that the post-Cold War trend toward a more peaceful world has been permanently reversed. "Historically, less than 10 percent of insurgencies have succeeded," said Mack. "And there is little reason to believe that the current wave of insurgencies associated with ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups will be any different. Overall, we have reason for cautious optimism: the deadliest wars – those fought between states – have become almost non-existent; and the huge – and effective – increase in international efforts to end civil wars during the past two decades has been sustained."
Deborah Avant of the University of Denver urged a focus on the micro-dynamics of particular areas, as well as analysis of the general conflict trends. Beyond that, trends at the local and transnational levels are also critical for understanding movements from more to less peaceful, and the reverse. Finally, she urged attention to the interactions among local civilian groups, businesses, and transnational NGOs, in addition to those who hold government positions. "A wealth of research in the last 15 years has demonstrated that violence is not only the consequence of mobilization, but conflict can escalate inadvertently, and even small amounts of violence can open avenues for individual gain that fan more violent flames," said Avant. "Relations between a variety of authorities at the transnational, national, and local levels can generate more or less peaceful dynamics."
Leaders from several local businesses and NGOs with an inherent interest in global affairs and peace participated in discussion around the report's findings.
"Even though it may feel like we in Denver can't make a difference in creating peace internationally, we can," said Dr. Seyle. "Bringing all of these local organizations together today provided new insights about trends in peace and what may drive them, and I hope institutions in Denver can continue the kind of conversations that incite action toward ongoing peace."
About One Earth Future Foundation
One Earth Future leads initiatives aimed at improving systems that prevent armed conflict. The organization provides active operational, research, and strategic support, allowing our programs to focus deeply on complex problems and create constructive alternatives to violent conflict.
About the Global Peace Index (GPI)
The GPI is the world's leading measure of global peacefulness produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). It gauges on-going domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and militarisation in 162 countries by taking into account 23 indicators.
About the Institute for Economics and Peace
IEP is an international and independent think tank dedicated to shifting the world's focus to peace as a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human well-being and progress.
SOURCE One Earth Future Foundation