Positive Peace Report 2015

(Original article: Vision of Humanity, 10-22-2015)

Positive Peace is a transformational approach to achieving development, resilience and peace. It offers an alternative perspective to identify and measure long-term investments that create an optimum environment for human potential to flourish. 

Download the report

Positive Peace is a new approach to identify and measure long-term investments that create sustainable peace and resilience at the country level.  This contrasts with most research in the field which focuses on what does not work and why systems fail.

Well-developed Positive Peace represents the capacity for a society to meet the needs of citizens, reduce the number of grievances that arise and resolve remaining disagreements without the use of violence.

It is the first global, quantitative approach to defining and measuring Positive Peace and is based on the factors that have strongest statistically significant relationships with the absence of violence.

The Eight Factors of Positive Peace

Eight Factors of Positive Peace


Positive Peace Index

The Positive Peace Index measures Positive Peace in 162 countries, covering 99.6 per cent of the world’s population. Explore the Positive Peace Index of 162 countries on page 24 of the report.


  • Positive Peace has been improving steadily since 2005. Of the 162 countries ranked in the Index, 118, or 73 per cent, have improved.

  • The Positive Peace factor that deteriorated the most is low levels of corruption, with 99 countries recording a deterioration, compared to 62 that improved.

  • Positive Peace deteriorated in the United States and in more than 50 per cent of the countries in Europe due to increases in corruption and limits to press freedoms.

  • Hungary, Greece, the United States and Iceland recorded the largest deteriorations in Positive Peace. All by more than five per cent.

  • Poland, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates recorded the largest improvements. Each improved by at least seven per cent.

  • Democracies consistently have the strongest level of Positive Peace, but represent the minority of countries. Similarly, high-income countries dominate the top 30 countries in the Positive Peace Index.

Trends in Positive Peace

Positive Peace creates resilience

  • Countries with high levels of Positive Peace have fewer civil resistance campaigns, those campaigns tend to be less violent, shorter and more likely to achieve their aims.

  • 91 per cent of all violent movements took place in countries with low levels of Positive Peace.

  • Many low-income countries have Positive Peace scores lower than their Negative Peace levels indicating a potential for violence to increase. The majority of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Positive Peace creates the resilience needed for societies to better adapt to change, whether planned or unplanned. Countries that perform well on measures of Positive Peace recover better from shocks, as demonstrated by Iceland’s response during and after the Global Financial Crisis, or Japan’s recovery after the 2011 tsunami.

Resistance Movements

Why Positive Peace is transformational

Without better understanding how to conceptualise and measure the factors that support peace, it is difficult to develop programs that holistically address peace. The best programs start from a conceptually sound base and utilise as much evidence as possible.

Positive Peace also provides a framework for risk analysis, as historical research has shown that countries which have low levels of violence but weak Positive Peace tend to experience falls in peacefulness over time. In 2008, IEP identified 30 countries that fit this profile were at risk of deteriorating and becoming more violent. By 2015, 22 of the countries had fallen in the Global Peace Index, four had stayed the same and four had seen their levels of peace increase.


For the first time since its inception, IEP is now able to publish a complete time series of Positive Peace scores for 162 countries from 2005 to 2015. 

Download the Positive Peace Index map and key highlights.

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