Global conflicts cause highest death toll in 21st century, Africa tops the list — IEP study
Conflicts around the globe cause more deaths — over 238,000 people in 2022 only — than they have ever done this century, with Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) having all ranked among the world’s ten least peaceful countries since the index was launched in 2007.
The number of conflict deaths almost doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year, whereby wars caused a 13% loss of global GDP, according to the Global Peace Index, released recently by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). The Global Peace Index is put together evaluating almost every country in the world based on 23 indicators. It has found that the average level of “global peacefulness” had dropped for the ninth year in a row, with conflict deaths exceeding the previous global peak reached in 2014 during the Syrian Civil War. The sharp increase in deaths was mostly driven by the war in Ukraine, where 83,000 people were killed in the past year, though the bloodiest conflict was in Ethiopia, where 100,000 people lost their lives.
The new survey also shows that “wars are really hard to win,” according to Steve Killelea, IEP’s founder and executive chairman, who adds that the conflicts in Yemen and Syria have now been raging for 9 and 12 years respectively, and in neither is there any apparent prospect of a military victory. The report by the global think tank also points out that the number of non-state groups using drones doubled between 2018 and 2022, and the total number of drone strikes nearly tripled over the same period. It also highlights the fact that war and peace both prove durable: while Iceland has consistently ranked as the world’s most peaceful country for the past 15 years, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and the DRC have all been among the ten least peaceful countries since the index was launched in 2007. However, the overall trend in the Middle East and North Africa seems to be positive, as 13 countries have actually improved their peacefulness, and only 7 have deteriorated, according to the IEP survey.