The economic cost of global violence reached more than $10 trillion or more than $1300 per person last year, the annual Global Peace Index has found.
The report, which measures the level of peace in 162 countries, found the amount spent on trying to prevent violence or dealing with the aftermath had increased by more than $179 billion since 2012.
Global peacefulness has also fallen over the past seven years, overturning a trend, which saw global peacefulness rise over the last 60 years, since the end of World War Two.
Australia ranked 15th out of 162 countries, but had an overall higher score than 7 years ago, meaning violence had increased.
“While Australia saw improvements through a reduction in the level of violent crime, increased weapons imports and heavy weapons capabilities were detrimental to Australia’s 2014 GPI score,” said Steve Killelea of the Institute for Economics and Peace.
The top 10 most peaceful countries were Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Japan, Belguim and Norway.
Syria was ranked the least peaceful country in the world. Brasil fell 10 places on the index to 91 and South Sudan dropped the most, slinking 16 places to 160.
For the first time, the report included modeling on countries at risk of becoming less peaceful over the next two years. These countries included Qatar, Zambia, Haiti, Argentina and Chad.
The report looked at the economic cost of conflict. North Korea, Syria and Afghanistan spent the largest amount of their GDP on containing violence.
Australia spent 4 per cent of it’s GDP (nearly $40 billion), coming 96 out of the 162 countries. The United States spent 10 per cent and Britain spent almost 5 per cent.
Australia’s total violence containment spending includes military and security expenditure, and GDP losses from conflict.
“Until the leaders of governments, Australia included, value non-violence, there will continue to be large armament industries and armies, and governments will continue to use them,” said Professor Emeritus Stuart Rees of the Sydney Peace Foundation and Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney.
“Governments only take human rights seriously when it suits them.”
The annual study, started in 2008, gives a score to countries by looking at the level of political instability, number of deaths from organised conflict, number of refugees and displaced people and amount of terrorist activity, among other indicators
The full report can be found here.