The Global Terrorism Index 2016

2016 Global Terrorism Index

Despite a ten per cent reduction in the number of deaths from terrorism in 2015, the overall GTI score deteriorated by six per cent since due to many countries experiencing record levels of terrorist activity.

This is the fourth edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI), providing a comprehensive summary of global trends in terrorism over the last 16 years from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2015.

Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the GTI is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) - the most comprehensive dataset on terrorist activity globally and has now codified over 150,000 terrorist incidents. The index is a comprehensive measure of the direct and indirect impact of terrorism in 163 countries in terms of lives lost, injuries, property damage and the physiological after effects of terrorism. It provides the public, civil society and policymakers with the evidence-base to better understand the patterns, drivers and tactics behind terrorist activity. By doing so, it aims to deepen our collective understanding of the social, economic and political conditions that lead to this form of violence.

Key Findings

Whilst a ten per cent decrease in the number of deaths from terrorism in 2015 resulted in 3,389 fewer deaths than 2014, a global total of 29,376 deaths made 2015 the second deadliest year on record. The continued intensification of terrorism in a number of countries is a cause for serious concern.

In previous years, Iraq and Nigeria have been the two countries most affected by terrorist activities. The weakening of ISIL and Boko Haram in their central areas of operations in Iraq and Nigeria indicates military interventions in these regions have been successful - however, findings indicate that these organisations have spread terror to neighbouring states which poses new threats to previously less affected areas.

Boko Haram has expanded into Niger, Cameroon and Chad, increasing the number of people the group has killed through terrorism in these three countries by 157 per cent. Meanwhile ISIL and its affiliates were active in 15 new countries, bringing the total number of countries they were active in to 28. This is predominantly why a record number of countries experienced their highest levels of terrorism in any year in the past 16 years. In 2015, 23 countries registered their highest number of deaths from terrorism on record, compared to the previous high of 17 in 2014.

In Europe, ISIL’s transnational tactics combined with lone actor attacks inspired by the group, drove an increase in terrorism. This increase was recorded in many OECD member countries resulting in a 650 per cent increase in deaths to 577 from 77 in 2014. 21 of the 34 OECD member countries experienced at least one terrorist attack, with the majority of deaths occurring in Turkey and France.

This 2016 GTI report reinforces the fact that terrorism is a highly concentrated form of violence, mostly committed in a small number of countries and by a small number of groups. The five countries suffering the highest impact from terrorism as measured by the GTI; Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria, accounted for 72 per cent of all deaths from terrorism in 2015. Similarly, only four groups were responsible for 74 per cent of all these deaths; ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qa’ida.

For more information, please read the full report here: 

The GTD is collected and collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland. 

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