Switzerland leads the world in addressing environmental challenges, according to the 2014 Environmental Performance Index
(EPI), which was released today by a research team from Yale and Columbia universities.
Luxembourg, Australia, Singapore, and Czech Republic round out the top five positions of the Index, which ranks countries on high-priority environmental concerns including air quality, water management, and climate change.
While reinforcing the challenges nations face in promoting sustainable development, the 2014 EPI shows that top countries have relatively strong performance across the board and have advanced on a range of environmental issues over the last decade. But the scorecard reveals weaknesses for many countries and areas of concern for even the best performers. Switzerland, for example, is only average on forest protection, demonstrating that all countries — regardless of rank — can improve.
The EPI was produced by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy
(YCELP) — a joint undertaking between F&ES and Yale Law School — and Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network, in collaboration with The World Economic Forum and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.
“Many perennial top performers repeat their strong showings in 2014,” said YCELP’s Angel Hsu
, lead author of the report. “A quick scan of who does well year after year suggests that good environmental performance is securely tied to policymakers prioritizing environmental concerns and committing resources to them.”
The full report is available at http://epi.yale.edu
With expanded data coverage, the 2014 EPI ranks 46 more countries than the last EPI release. These countries are mostly sub-Saharan African nations and Small Island Developing States, providing a first look at where these developing countries stand on their environmental efforts. In total, the 178 countries in the Index represent 99 percent of global population, 98 percent of the world’s total land area, and 97 percent of global GDP.
The sweeping coverage of the 2014 EPI reveals important global trends. For example, the world is doing well on improving drinking water and sanitation. Child mortality has declined as a result. Progress in these categories tracks the concerted pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, which have clear targets, strategies, and metrics for assessment on water and sanitation.