Every two years, Yale University in collaboration with Columbia University releases the world Environmental Performance Index which ranks most countries environmental performance. This year, Egypt topped the list for the MENA region, followed closely by Israel and the United Arab Emirates. In the wider context, however, the region is still trailing far behind with Egypt making it only to the ‘modest performers’ list. Egypt was ranked the 60th most environmental country with an EPI score of 55.18, while Switzerland which topped the chart scored 76.69.
The 2012 world EPI ranked 132 countries on 22 performance indicators including air pollution, water resources, forestry, fisheries, climate change and biodiversity. As well as tracking the environmental record of countries, the EPI list tracks that made the most significant gains in a ‘trends list’.
|For example, Egypt made it to the top five in the trends list due to substantial gains made in the environmental health objective. This includes dealing with indoor air pollution, improving access to drinking water and sanitation. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait scored very low on the trends list.|
|Some of the worst performed in the MENA region included Iraq which scored an EPI of 25.32 due to the water scarcity facing the country, significant sustainability challenges and weak governance structures, as the EPI website stated.
Although not included in the MENA region list, Turkey scored 44.8 which places it between Morocco and Oman in the weaker performers list. To provide a pinch of salt to their research, Yale and Colombia acknowledge that there are significant data gaps in their index. These include nuclear safety, wetlands loss, species loss, freshwater ecosystems health, recycling, and desertification and municipal and toxic waste management.