Narrator: We are living in the most peaceful century in human history. However, the last seven years have seen a notable deterioration in levels of peace. The 2014 Global Peace Index shows that this decline has not been felt evenly. While 51 countries have improved in overall levels of peace since 2008, 111 have deteriorated. The 11 least peaceful countries are embroiled in violent conflict and are significantly dragging down the global average.
People living in these areas experience homicide rates twelve times higher than those countries with high levels of peace. And despite what popular media leads us to believe, over 85% of all terrorist activity is targeted in these 11 countries. The recent trend towards violence is of global concern. The key question is: Will this trend get worse? And what can we do to reverse it?
A new research methodology has been produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace. It has identified that things could get worse with 500 million people living in countries at risk of becoming less peaceful. Of this, 200 million people are already living below the poverty line and are particularly vulnerable to decline in the security situation. There is an urgent need to support these countries and to prevent them from becoming fragile states.
The Global Peace Index shows that we need to invest in the attitudes, structures, and institutions that underpin peaceful societies in these countries and others before we can expect to see an improvement in the levels of peace. Last year, the world spend $9 trillion on containing violence. That's over 75 times foreign aid expenditure. If we were able to reduce violence related spending by just 25% it would allow us to invest over $2.3 trillion in peace-building institutions such as healthcare, education, job creation, which lead not only to peace, but development and economic prosperity.
This is known as the virtuous cycle of peace, and it's present in the world's most peaceful countries. Peace is not an utopian vision. It is the most fundamental of human rights and the basis of human development. In creating more peaceful societies we also create the optimal environment for human potential to flourish. Visit www.visionofhumanity.org and explore the fabric of peace around the world.There may be small errors in this transcript.