A new study has created a system which can measure sustainable development (SD) in numerical terms and used it to score the performance of 132 countries around the world. Norway ranked highest in its 'league table' of sustainable development, whilst Angola was ranked the lowest. The study identified three indicators of SD: social, technological and environmental. The social sustainability indicator is measured in terms of attributes such as human rights, human survival and income equity. The technological sustainability indicator is defined by research and development, percentage of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Environmental sustainability is measured according to attributes such as clean air, water usage and ecological protection. Information about each of the attributes was taken from data from respected international sources, including the UN and the World Economic Forum. Each country was given a score on the three SD indicators and then a total score was calculated. Overall, Norway scored the highest at 1533 out of a possible 1800 points, followed by Sweden and Finland. Angola had the lowest score of 170. The average score was 998, as awarded to Uzbekistan. The countries fell into five major groups according to the relationship between scores on the social and technological indicators. Those with low scores on both indicators were severely in debt with low GDP and life expectancy, and included Nigeria and Rwanda. The research related the five groups of countries to a well-known hierarchy ('Maslow's hierarchy') of five individual needs that range from basic survival needs to more complex emotional needs. It suggests that countries in the low-scoring group must meet their basic needs before moving onto the advanced needs of environmental sustainability. A 'one-size-fits-all' policy will not lead to equal global SD, as there are many national levels of progress. Further research could reveal how resources, such as foreign aid and relieving countries of their debt, can close the gap in global SD between countries.


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