A Groundbreaking Set of Measures on the State of the World Ranks 180 Countries by Human Development and Environmental Conservation Sweden 1st, United States 27th, Turkey 129th, Afghanistan 179th

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Sustainability consultant Robert
 Prescott-Allen will announce the findings of his new book, The Wellbeing of
 Nations: A Country-by-Country Index of Quality of Life and the Environment
 (Island Press, October 11, 2001, Cloth $50.00, Paper $25.00) at the Woodrow
 Wilson International Center for Scholars today. His assessment concludes that
 nations around the globe sacrifice their environment for high standards of
 living. The method, developed and used by Prescott-Allen, is a new set of
 measures that ranks 180 countries by examining human wellbeing as conditioned
 by the health of the environment. This has never before been done
     The findings include:
     *     The top-ranking countries (Sweden, Finland, and Norway) have
           achieved their advanced standard of living at great expense to the
           environment-the others in this group include Canada (ranked 7th),
           Germany (13th), Australia (18th), Japan (24th), the United States
           (27th), and the United Kingdom (33rd)
     *     116 countries have weak environmental development and inadequate
           social development-the worst performers are Afghanistan, Syria, and
     *     27 countries (mostly in Africa) make low demands on the their
           ecosystems, but are desperately poor
     *     Europe and North America have the worst water and air quality, and
           are, by far, the main producers of greenhouse gases
     *     4 billion people live in countries with a poor or bad level of human
           development less than one billion live in countries with a fair or
           good standard of living
     Indicators like the Gross Domestic Product have been typically relied on
 as signs of prosperity and wellbeing. To the contrary, these measures
 completely neglect many aspects of the economy and all non-monetary
 contributors to human fulfillment. They ignore the state of the ecosystem and
 either omit environmental and social costs or count them as benefits if they
 cause money to change hands. Prescott-Allen's Wellbeing Assessment Method
 extends the approach of indicators to the field of sustainable development.
 His method includes 36 indicators of socioeconomic conditions (including
 income distribution, health, education, freedom, security, and peace), and 51
 indicators of the state of the environment (including biodiversity, pollution,
 and resource depletion).
     The Wellbeing Assessment Method was developed with the support of the
 International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and IUCN-The World
 Conservation Union. Robert Prescott-Allen has been a consultant on sustainable
 development for 20 years. Since 1993 he has designed and advised on
 sustainability assessments and provided assessment training in the Americas,
 Africa, and Asia, working with the United Nations, governments, environment
 and development organizations, communities, and industry.
     The Wellbeing of Nations is published by Island Press, the International
 Development Research Centre and in cooperation with IUCN -- The World
 Conservation Union, International Institute for Environment and Development,
 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Map Maker Ltd., and
 UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
     For more information about the assessment, the book, the author, and the
 sponsoring organizations, please log on to http://www.islandpress.org .
     The report will be launched on October 11th at the Woodrow Wilson
 International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C., 1300 Pennsylvania
 Avenue, N.W., One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 6th Floor Conference Room, 12-1:30pm,
 featuring Thomas E. Lovejoy of The World Bank, and Melinda Kimble, Senior Vice
 President for Programs, United Nations Foundation.
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SOURCE Island Press

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