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The Environmental Performance Index is a project lead by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy (YCELP) and Yale Data-Driven Environmental Solutions Group at Yale University (Data-Driven Yale), the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University, in collaboration with the Samuel Family Foundation, McCall MacBain Foundation, and the World Economic Forum.
The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is constructed through the calculation and aggregation of 20 indicators reflecting national-level environmental data. These indicators are combined into nine issue categories, each of which fit under one of two overarching objectives. The two objectives that provide the overarching structure of the EPI are Environmental Health and Ecosystem Vitality. Environmental Health measures the protection of human health from environmental harm. Ecosystem Vitality measures ecosystem protection and resource management. These two objectives are further divided into nine issue categories that span high-priority environmental policy issues, including air quality, forests, fisheries, and climate and energy, among others. The issue categories are extensive but not comprehensive. Underlying the nine issue categories are 20 indicators calculated from country-level data and statistics. After more than 15 years of work on environmental performance measurement and six iterations of the EPI, global data are still lacking on a number of key environmental issues. These include: freshwater quality, toxic chemical exposures, municipal solid waste management, nuclear safety, wetlands loss, agricultural soil quality and degradation, recycling rates, adaptation, vulnerability, and resiliency to climate change, desertification.