In spite of a tumultuous year, 2016 laid a foundation of promise for taking better care of the planet. 

170 countries agreed to ban a major climate change contributing chemical, and 130 countries signed the United Nations Paris Agreement pledging to curtail efforts to reduce global climate change on Earth Day. 

However, the top country when it comes to investing in the environment for its own society’s prosperity (measured by the Legatum Prosperity Index) might surprise you more than this year’s progress toward environmental care. 

Read More: These Countries Are the Best and Worst Recyclers in the World

The top spot for the country with the highest quality of environment, and pressure to preserve natural habitats goes to a country that doesn’t hit top 10 in any other category — Slovenia. 

The tiny country has been investing in protecting the environment to boost economic and social prosperity for years. Slovenia has been No. 1 on Legatum’s list since 2012.

“Slovenia is a country with a high diversity of natural environment gathered in a small area," the Slovenian ministry of the environment told Voa News. 

But with news about countries from Vietnam to the UK cutting down on coal and carbon emissions will Slovenia be able to keep its reign in coming years? 

Worst environments for prosperity include Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. 

Below are the best and worst countries for environmental prosperity in 2016. 

10 Best Countries For the Environment

1. Slovenia

2. Finland

3. Luxembourg

4. France

5. Norway

6. Germany

7. Estonia

8. Switzerland  

9. Sweden  

10. United Kingdom

10 Worst Countries For the Environment 

1. Pakistan

2. Iraq

3. Afghanistan

4. Mauritania

5. Yemen  

6. DRC

7. Sudan

8. Moldova

9. Azerbaijan

10. India  


Defend the Planet

The 10 Best (and Worst) Countries for Environmental Prosperity

By Meghan Werft