The UAE has been ranked as even more peaceful in 2018 compared to last year even as the Middle East region as a whole remains the least peaceful in the world, according to a survey of 163 countries.
The Emirates has risen 12 places in the annual global peace index published by the Institute of Economics and Peace.
The country also ranked the second most peaceful in the Mena region behind Kuwait, which has emerged as the chief mediator in the Qatar crisis moving it up five places to 41st in the index. Qatar experienced the highest drop of all countries on the list, plummeting 26 places to 56th.
Steve Killelea, chairman of the think tank, which is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, said that the economic and diplomatic embargoes placed on Doha by its neighbours resulted in Qatar dropping down the rankings.
Last year, Doha became subject to a boycott by four Arab countries — Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain — over its support for terrorism and interference in the internal affairs of its neighbours.
The UAE, which ranked 44th worldwide, scored highly on factors such as levels of violent demonstrations, impact of terrorism and levels of refugees in the country, according to Mr Killelea.
Despite the UAE’s improvement, the Mena region as a whole remains the least peaceful in the world, the Global Peace Index revealed.
The report said the Mena region is home to four of the 10 least peaceful countries in the world — Syria, which at 163rd is the lowest ranking of all countries in the report, Afghanistan (162), Iraq (160) and Yemen (158).
“The Middle East and North Africa remained the world’s least peaceful region in 2018, despite a slight improvement in its overall score. The scores for both Iraq and Syria improved, although the conflict is no less bitter, the diminishing geographic reach of ISIL and other rebel groups means that overall levels of violence have diminished," the report said.
The report said that four out of the biggest deteriorations in the Middle East rankings — Qatar, Iran (131), Oman (73) and Saudi Arabia (129) — are down to increased tensions between the GCC and Iran. Iran's increasingly interventionist ambitions include the sponsoring of terrorist organisations, such as Hezbollah and the backing of the rebel Houthis in Yemen, where the UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition seeking to restore the legitimate government.
Hezbollah has been one of the main non-state actors in Syria fighting alongside the regime of President Bashar Al Assad.
“Where [the UAE] scored low was in the level of external conflict, which increased because of the situation in Yemen,” said Mr Killelea.
While the Middle East includes four of the 10 lowest ranking countries in the report, it is also worth remembering the region saw 11 countries, out of 20, improving on last year’s performance, said Mr Killelea.