The small nation of Bhutan has become the most peaceful country in the world by moving up 43 places on the Global Peace Index.
This movement has only taken a decade for this small nation that has a population of fewer than one million people. There’s no denying that peacemakers around the world could learn a thing or two from this nation and how they moved up the charts so quickly.
Currently, the nation of Bhutan is 15thon the index, and it’s the most peaceful nation in the South Asian region. This position is 43 spots higher than where this country was ranked only 12 years ago.
Peace is Easy When Compared to the Neighbors
The South Asia region of the world includes three of the least peaceful countries in the world. Strangely, this is the quadrant of the world to which Bhutan belongs. The other three nations are India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, which is the least peaceful nation in the entire world. How is it that all you would have to do is cross the border, and you’ll find yourself in a nation that has become of the most peaceful in the world?
Even though this quadrant of nations includes three of the least peaceful, the fact that Bhutan is part of the mix allows this region to rank ahead of two other regions on the list. The Middle East and North Africa are two of the least peaceful areas in the world. The impact that the peaceful country of Bhutan is incredible and helps the regional ranking by quite a bit. Let’s take a look at how this country found a way to move up through the ranks.
How Did This Country Move Up the Charts
There are 21 indicators of peace that the Global Peace Index uses to rate countries on their peacefulness. Bhutan found a way to improve in four areas and only deteriorated in two of them. The other fifteen indicators showed no change from the previous year. This country fell backward in the police rate and incarceration rate, which became the poorest performing indicators for this country.
Even though very few Bhutanese are displaced, they found a way to improve on these indicators. Strangely, so did Afghanistan, which is still one of the least peaceful places in the world. Bhutan and Pakistan were among the nations that showed the largest reduction in homicide rates last year.
This area of the world also typically reports lower levels of violent crime than the rest of the world. You might not think that to be the case with some of the neighbors, but this area faces more challenges of a political nature rather than criminal.
Positive Peace is Rampant in a Strange Country
The peaceful country of Bhutan is located between India and China, which are very often not thought of as peaceful at all. While the Global Peace Index measures reports of negative peace indicators, there’s also a Positive Peace Index. This index shows you how this country has implemented some of the solutions needed to create better economic, political, and social benefits.
Positive Peace is measured through the attitudes, institutions, and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. Some of these indicators include a well-functioning government, free-flowing information, and a sound business environment.
The Form of Government Has Helped this Nation
When people in a country make more money and can afford a better quality of living, they are happier and thus more peaceful, most of the time. The income per person in Bhutan has grown from 1980 at a level of $340 to $5,570 in 2011. This was accomplished by shifting from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 2008. This was the year in which this little country elected its National Assembly for the first time ever.
The education and poverty rates have improved steadily through the use of socio-economic development programs and funded hydroelectric exports. These programs, along with plenty of foreign aid, have aided the index that measures the happiness of a country (yes, it’s a real thing), the Gross National Happiness metric. Many of the marginalized communities in the country have improved through Rural Economy Advancement Programs.
Another improvement in this peaceful country of Bhutan offers essential help to entrepreneurs through a National Portal to provide legal information to these business owners.
A Challenge that Brought Scrutiny
Between 1988 and 1993, more than 100,000 Lhotshampas were displaced by the country of Bhutan. This brought the last bit of scrutiny against peacefulness in this country. Since that time, this country has become a role model in terms of peace and development policy with continued growth and development of what brings more peace to this nation that sits between a pair of countries we don’t think of as peaceful at all.
Could Buddhism Have Anything to Do with Peace?
The teaching of Buddha are founded in peace, and Bhutan is the last standing Buddhist Kingdom in the world. Much of the culture that comes from the 17thcentury has been preserved while this nation remains somewhat isolated from the rest of the world. Only a select number of foreigners are allowed into the country every year. This nation also requires that visitors pay two hundred dollars per day to visit this country, which is another reason very few outsiders enter Bhutan.
The Growth of Peace in a Small Country
With a population of fewer than one million people, isolation through borders, the teaching of Buddha, and exponential development over the past decade, it’s easy to see why Bhutan is such a peaceful country. This nation might be situated in a region filled with turmoil and trouble, but it has kept to itself and avoided entry into conflicts and problems that go on in other nations. Could this be the lesson for other countries to learn from? Maybe more nations need to adopt the teachings of Buddha while working toward economic and social improvements.
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