Portugal has dropped one position in the 2022 Global Peace Index, to sixth place among 163 countries, due to an increase in crime and political instability, according to a report by the Institute of Economy and Peace (IEP).

Iceland and New Zealand retain the top two spots, followed by Ireland, which climbed three positions, overtaking Denmark and Portugal. Austria also improved to 5th position.

IEP founder and director Steve Killelea downplayed Portugal's decline, which he attributed to "a higher arrest rate, slight increase in homicide rates, a slight increase in political instability and a slight increase in crime perceptions".

Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the fifth year in a row, followed by Yemen, Syria, Russia and South Sudan, countries that have been in the top ten of least peaceful countries for the past three years.

Due to the ongoing war, among the five countries with the greatest deteriorations in peace are Russia and Ukraine, along with the Republic of Guinea, Burkina Faso and Haiti, also the scene of conflicts.

Unstable conditions

The report indicates that the world has already started to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, but that the effects are still being felt, namely in delays and problems in supply chains, lack of products, higher energy and food prices.

Rising inflation, particularly in food and fuel, "has heightened food insecurity and political instability globally, but especially in low-resilience regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa," the authors wrote.

"It is in these already unstable conditions that Russia launched an attack on Ukraine in February 2022. The conflict will only exacerbate these problems. The conflict will accelerate global inflation, with Western sanctions further contributing to shortages and increases in prices”, the report predicts.

According to the IEP, peace has worsened in the last fourteen years and, of the 163 countries analysed in the Index, 84 have deteriorated, while 77 have improved and two have not changed.

The Global Peace Index, currently 16th edition, analyses trends in peace, the economic value and how to develop peaceful societies, using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators in three domains: the level of security and social protection, the dimension of conflict Domestic and International Ongoing, and the degree of militarisation.