Mauritius ranks the sixth with 80.6 score in the 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI).
Iceland leads the world with a score of 93.5 in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges, according to EPI produced by a team of environmental experts at Yale University and Columbia University. This is the third edition of the EPI, which has been revisited biannually since 2006.
Released on Thursday at the World Economic Forum annual meeting, the EPI ranks 163 countries on their performance across 25 metrics aggregated into ten categories including: environmental health, air quality, water resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and climate change..
Iceland’s top-notch performance derives from its high scores on environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation. Other top performers include Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Norway and Mauritius – all of which have made substantial investments in environmental infrastructure, pollution control, and policies designed to move toward long-term sustainability, said the report.
Occupying the bottom five positions are Togo, Angola, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, and Sierra Leone –impoverished countries that lack basic environmental amenities and policy capacity.
The US places 61st in the 2010 EPI, with results on some issues, such as provision of safe drinking water and forest sustainability, and weak performance on other issues including greenhouse gas emissions and several aspects of local air pollution. This ranking puts the United States significantly behind other industrialized nations like the UK (14th), Germany (17th), and Japan (20th). Over 20 members of the EU outrank the US.
Of the newly industrialised nations, China and India rank 121st and 123rd respectively – reflecting the strain rapid economic growth imposes on the environment. However, Brazil and Russia rank 62nd and 69th, suggesting that the level of development is just one of many factors affecting placement in the rankings. Similarly, France ranked seventh, Australia eighth, South Africa at 115th and Madagaskar at the 120th.
The 2010 EPI report provides a detailed analysis for each country, showing its performance on each of the 25 basic indicators, the ten core policy categories, and the two over-arching objectives of environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. In addition, each nation is benchmarked against others that are similarly situated with groupings based on geographic regions, level of development, trading blocs, and demographic characteristics. These peer group rankings make it easy to highlight leaders and laggards on an issue-by-issue basis and to identify “best practices.”
Analysis of the policy drivers underlying the 2010 rankings suggests that income is a major determinant of environmental success. At every level of development, however, some countries achieve results that exceed what would be anticipated, demonstrating that policy choices also affect performance. For example, Chile, where substantial investments in environmental protection have been made, ranks 16th, while its neighbor, Argentina, which has done much less to improve its pollution control and natural resource management, lags in 70th place. Regulatory rigor, the rule of law and good governance, and the absence of corruption also show strong correlations with high EPI scores.
The Environmental Performance Index builds on the best data available with indicators drawn from international organizations, such as the World Bank, the UNDP, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as research groups such as the World Resources Institute and the University of British Columbia. But many of these data sets are based on reporting by national governments that is not subject to any external review or verification.
Serious data gaps, moreover, limit the ability to measure performance on a number of important issues. And incomplete data resulted in the exclusion of dozens of countries from the 2010 EPI, the report observes.
1 Iceland 93.5
2 Switzerland 89.1
3 Costa Rica 86.4
4 Sweden 86.0
5 Norway 81.1
6 Mauritius 80.6
7 France 78.2
14 United Kingdom 74.2
17 Germany 73.2
20 Japan 72.5
28 Singapore 69.6
38 Nepal 68.2
61 United States of America 63.5
115 South Africa 50.8
120 Madagascar 49.2
121 China 49.0
123 India 48.3