Sweden best at balancing growth with environment
GENEVA - Sweden does best when it comes to balancing the demands of economic growth with protection of the environment, according to a report released by a leading conservation agency last week.
It is followed by two other Scandinavian countries - Finland and Norway - with Iceland fourth and Austria fifth in \"well-being\" rankings which grade a country according to a combination of living standards and environmental health.
Germany was 13th, Japan 24th and the United States 27th.
Six developing countries - the Dominican Republic, Belize, Guyana, Uruguay, Surinam and Peru - made it into the top 20 in the complex points system adopted by the report entitled the Wellbeing of Nations, which grades 180 countries.
The report is sponsored by the Swiss-based World Conservation Union (IUCN), which links 79 governments, 754 non-governmental organisations and 10,000 experts, and the Canadian International Development Research Centre.
Indicators used to assess living standards included not only wealth and services, such as infrastructure and education, but also measures of good governance, freedom, peace and order.
The environmental standards took into account land use, water and air quality as well as such questions as biodiversity and resource use.
IUCN director-general Achim Steiner said the report sent a clear message to the United Nations-sponsored World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg next September.
\"All countries need to recommit themselves to sustainable development and find practical ways to combine human development with the protection of ecosystems,\" he said.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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