The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, as well as United Nation’s targeted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), guided the nations to a new era that countries must integrate improve range of pollution control and natural resource targets to enhance the environmental performance index. EPI is a step that shows the path to the nations towards environmental awareness and reveals them about where they stands in the environmental policy making and what are the areas of leading and lagging of environmental conditions for a particular nation. EPI is the quantifiable and numerical methods developed in the form of matrix, to mark the performance of any countries environment policies.
EPI is a performance index, which was first published in 2002 as Pilot Environmental Performance Index, developed by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with World Economic Forum (WEF). This EPI is a descendant of Environmental Sustainable Index (ESI), which was also developed by the same institutions and was active in the duration between 1999 to 2005. The main focus of ESI was to produce the relative evaluation of environmental sustainabilities of different countries whereas the EPI mainly focuses on the outcome oriented performance of environmental policies of any particular nation and also categorize their performance relative to other nations (in the form of scores and rankings).
The EPI of 2018 gives scores to 180 countries on the basis of 24 performance indicators which was distributed across 10 environmental issues with centered around two basic objectives– Environmental Health and Ecosystem Vitality, where environmental health rises with economic growth and prosperity and ecosystem vitality comes under the strain from industrialization and urbanization. These two sustainable objectives are evaluated and scores are given from 0 to 100 on the basis of having worst implementation of environmental policies to best procurement of environment practices respectively. These scores reveal the performance of steps taken for the environment state upliftment- like air purification, water purity, availability and reachability, GHGs gases reductions etc. and EPI index and organizing it according to index and finally gives national rankings.
The overall EPI rankings indicate which countries are doing best against the array of environmental pressures that every nation faces. From a policy perspective, greater value derives from drilling down into the data to analyze performance by specific issue, policy category, peer group, and country. Such an analysis can assist in refining policy choices, understanding the determinants of environmental progress, and maximizing the return on governmental investments.
The structure of the EPI index with their dimensions, environmental issues and all 24 indicators is as follows-
Key findings of EPI 2018 report
In the recent summit of World Economic Forum in Davos, WEF releases the report on Environmental Performance Index 2018, based on data of 180 nations-
- In the indices matrix of EPI provides a comparative study between the nations which reveals that Switzerland scored the highest in both the dimensions of economic health and ecosystem vitality. Switzerland leads the world based on strong performance across most issues, especially air quality and climate protection. In general, high scorers exhibit long-standing commitments to protecting public health, preserving natural resources, and decoupling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from economic activity.
- Air quality remains the leading environmental threat to public health. Most countries have improved greenhouse gases emission intensity over the past decade, many nations has reduced their carbon dioxide with also degradation in the intensities of methane nitrous oxide and black carbon which is compatible with the sustainable development goal.
- India and Bangladesh come in near the bottom of the rankings. Low scores on the EPI are indicative of the need for national sustainability efforts on a number of areas, especially cleaning up air quality, protecting biodiversity, and reducing GHG emissions. Some of the lagging nations face broader challenges, such as civil unrest, but others seem to be suffering the effects of weak governance.
- India despite of making heavy attention in this area, could not withstand with the standards of indicators which have been recorded for the environmental performance index. India places at 177th position among the 180 countries of which the data matrices has been prepared on the basis of 24 indicators. Democratic Republic Congo, Bangladesh and Burundi are the only nations behind India’s EPI score. Which is a major concern for indian government to improve on the different parameters of environmental health with ecosystem vitality so that the future generations may breath in a pure and sustainable environment.