Positive Peace report 2015

Institute for Economics and Peace


This report is a comprehensive summary of the concept of Positive Peace – an optimal environment under which human potential can flourish or, the attitudes, institutions and structures which create and sustain peaceful societies –  and its eight dimensions. It aims to address the lack of guidance on conceptualising, measuring and supporting interdependent key factors that promote peace through a focus on the structures and institutions that work, rather than those that fail.

The framework is based on an empirically-focused and data-driven approach designed to understand what works, where the sources of resilience are within a society and how to positively build up the attitudes, institutions and structures that make peace possible.  The report is broken into three parts:

  1. An overview of IEP’s framework of Positive Peace discusses the systemic approach to peace. It details the magnitude and pace of changes in Positive and Negative Peace for various groups of countries.
  2. Summary of the findings from the 2015 PPI with a nuanced analysis of changes in the attitudes, institutions and structures that underpin peaceful societies over the past 10 years.
  3. Detailed discussion of each of the eight pillars of Positive Peace and how each pillar supports this process, some of the challenges societies face in developing these social characteristics, and how they are measured.


  • Positive Peace creates the resilience needed for societies to better adapt to change, whether planned or unplanned: countries high in Positive Peace experience less civil resistance movements, and if they do, the movements last for a shorter duration, have less ambitious goals (and are therefore more likely to achieve them), and are much less likely to resort to violence.
  • 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.
  • New measurements of the equitable distribution of resources demonstrate that outcomes are more important than income: the fact that every group in society can meet its needs is most important.
  • The Positive Peace factor that deteriorated the most is low levels of corruption, with 99 countries recording a deterioration compared to 62 that improved.
  • Globally, Positive Peace has been improving since 2005, with the average country score 1.7% better in 2015. 118 of the 162 countries (73%) ranked in the PPI, have improved in Positive Peace over the period. North America is the only region in the world that did not show an improvement in Positive Peace.
  • Largest deteriorations: Hungary, Greece, the United States and Iceland.
  • Largest improvements: Poland, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The PPI provides a framework for risk analysis: 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 which were at risk of deteriorating and becoming more violent. By 2015, 22 of the countries had fallen in the GPI, four had stayed the same and four had seen their levels of peace increase.


Institute for Economics and Peace. (2015). Positive Peace Report: Conceptualising and measuring the attitudes, institutions and structures that build a more peaceful society . Sydney, Australia: IEP