How data can help build world peace

The Institute for Economics & Peace is dedicated to analysing data to understand peace, developing the world’s leading metrics to quantify its value.

In the past, measuring peace was a difficult task. Peace was invisible, misunderstood. Now, the Global Peace Index (GPI) gives us quantitative and qualitative analysis that sheds light on the questions of whether we are becoming more or less peaceful and what are the underlying factors sustaining peace. After more than a decade of global data analysis, the GPI remains the world’s leading measure of peacefulness, ranking 163 countries.

The robust data garnered by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) over the years has now led to the development of the Positive Peace Index and the Positive Peace framework – an innovative conceptual model that uncovers the eight factors underpinning peaceful and thriving societies. Based on the expert statistical analysis of over 4,000 cross-country data sets, the framework sheds light on what society should invest in, to strengthen or maintain levels of peace.

Yet, challenges remain in the field of peace data analysis. In 2016, IEP began one of the first comprehensive progress audits on the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG16), which measures peace, justice and strong institutions. While the inclusion of peace within the framework is significant recognition, IEP found that there are major challenges facing the measurement of SDG16, including practical and implementation issues around data collection and statistical capacity at the national level.

National statistics offices in some countries are unable to measure SDG16 targets due to politically sensitive reasons. Measuring corruption or the detention of journalists can be challenging for some governments to monitor. In the absence of peace, countries in outright conflict will be unable to maintain statistical capacity; and independent conflict monitors will continue to be important.

IEP joined the SDG16 Data Initiative, which brings together a coalition of well-respected international organisations that will collaborate to identify information gaps and useful alternative data sources in SDG16 target areas.

Measuring SDG16 is not an easy task, but it is a challenge that needs greater investment and levels of cooperation.

IEP is dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable and tangible measure of wellbeing and progress using data-driven research.

Are you interested in the UN’s SDGs? IEP will release its next SDG16 audit report shortly. Look out for the report here.