Slovenia has been ranked first worldwide in terms of quality of natural environment and preservation efforts in the 2016 edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index issued in November. “A healthy, protected environment not only protects citizens’ health, but also encourages tourism, bringing more revenue into the country,” the Legatum Institute said in a summary of its annual ranking.
Slovenia has 98.4% of its marine area protected, the highest of all 149 countries in the Prosperity Index, far ahead of the country sitting in second place – Ecuador, with 75.6%. The Alpine country also has the highest overall percentage of its land protected, at 54.5%, constituting an impressive 41.4% increase since 2009.
Natura 2000, the EU conservation network aimed at protecting areas with rare wildlife and habitat types, covers 37.16% of Slovenia’s territory, the highest percentage among all 28 EU member states, Legatum said.
London-based Legatum Institute is an independent charity within the Legatum Group, a private investment group with a 30-year heritage of global investment in businesses and programmes that promote sustainable human development. Slovenia also performs particularly well in terms of the Personal Freedom and Social Capital sub-indices, ranked 20th and 25th respectively.