The 2010 Failed States Index [index; FP special report] was released Monday, describing state failure as a "chronic condition" after finding that the same group of countries have occupied the top 10 spots as failed states for the last six years. The index is published by Foreign Policy Magazine (FP) [media website] and the Fund for Peace [advocacy website] and uses publicly available sources to measure 177 countries, judging their stability based on a rubric of 12 factors [FP backgrounder]. These factors include human rights, external intervention, demographic pressures, refugees and economic development. According to an FP special report outlining the findings of the index, Somalia [JURIST news archive] is the archetypal failed state, topping the rankings for the third year in a row due to continued unrest, an Islamist insurgency and the general ungovernability of the state. Despite this "wearying consistency" in the rankings of failed states, the report noted the few instances of improvement, citing Colombia as a "stunning success story" and also pointing to the improvement of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Among the least stable states in the world after Somalia were Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Haiti [JURIST news archives]. Listed among the most stable were most of the countries of Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Oman. In conjunction with the Failed States Index, FP published a Watch List [text] of four countries that are in danger of growing failure, comprised of Guatemala, Honduras, Nigeria and Iran [JURIST news archives].
Earlier this month, the Global Peace Index (GPI) [report; materials] found that world peace has declined [JURIST report] over the past year due to a global increase in states' internal violence and unrest. The GPI cited factors such as the rise in violent demonstrations and the increase in fear of violent crime as factors for the drop in global peace. New Zealand, Iceland and Japan top the list as the most peaceful, and Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan were the least peaceful. According to the GPI, nearly USD $30 trillion would have been added to the global economy over the last four years in the absence of the world's conflicts. The GPI has been published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace since 2007. The GPI is based on information compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit [official website], and compares the relative peacefulness of 149 countries.