European nations dominate the top 10 ranks in an index that measures what countries contribute to the world outside and what they take away.
The ninth edition of the index, called the Good Country Index, puts Sweden on the number one spot out of 169 countries for the second time in a row.
Denmark is on the second rank, Germany on third, Netherlands on four, Finland on five, Canada on six, Belgium on seven, Ireland on eight, France on nine and Austria on 10.
Countries have been assessed on the basis of their global contributions to science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, climate, prosperity and health.
The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand take the 14th, 18th and 19th spots, respectively. The United States is way below them at 46.
India ranks 52, one spot up from its position on the previous Good Country Index.
The Good Country Index, an initiative of independent policy advisor Simon Anholt, aims to start a global discussion about what countries should do. The fundamental question is: “should they exist only to serve their own interests, or do they have a wider responsibility to humanity and the planet?”
The index uses data from diverse sources to ascertain a country’s rank. For instance, for ranking in contributions to peace and security, the number of peacekeeping troops sent by a country to United Nations is taken into account, among other things.
To measure a country’s contribution to planet and climate, the index considers “national Footprint Accounts, Ecological footprint (according to Global Footprint Network) relative to the size of the economy, renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption, hazardous pesticides exports”, among others.
The index says on its website that it does not make moral judgements“It simply reports on each country’s external impacts, positive and negative, outside its own borders, using the most reliable data available,” the website adds.“The idea of the Good Country Index is simple: to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away, relative to its size.”