One of the few Caribbean nations to resist the whaling industry, a new compulsory primary school curriculum educates kids to care for marine life, including whales. Literacy is at 94% of the population. Free healthcare and a hospital partnership with nearby islands increases the nation's quality of emergency care. But it has yet to decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships.
As part of the Small Island Developing States coalition with Tonga, FS Micronesia, Grenada and Tuvalu, it pushes for climate change action. Its installation of new solar plants last year sees it well on its way to achieve 100% sustainable energy by 2017.
The African island nation targets to draw half of all its energy needs from renewable sources before 2020. Many women also take up leadership positions in both public and private sectors here; there is also a high chance that it will elect its first female Prime Minister this year.
The 'Island of Spice' in the Caribbean is pro-active towards the protection of coral reefs. It is a new addition to the 2016 list for its progress towards the consideration of LGBT decriminalization.
The Polynesian kingdom is building solar arrays on nine of its outer islands.
Mongolia is the first developing nation in mainland Asia to make it to the list. Conservation efforts by the government to protect the environment from the mining boom can be improved; in partnership with the UK government and Zoological Society of London, Mongolia is looking to stem the wildlife trade with tougher law enforcement.
The Family Protection and Domestic Violence Bill criminalizing domestic violence was passed by Tuvalu’s parliament last year. Tuvalu is also part of The Vulnerable 20 (V20) which looks at applying innovation to climate finance.
Its new national animal welfare law regulates performing animals in circuses, while prohibiting bullfighting, dogfighting, greyhound racing and hare coursing. Unemployment rates are under 5%, and life expectancy is high, averaging at 79 years.
While Uruguay needs further work on the protecting savannas from large-scale ranching, it is a stellar performer in green energy. 90% of its electricity was powered by renewable sources in 2015. It has plans to power all its public transport with electric energy, plus build the world’s first fully sustainable airport.
Federated States of Micronesia
The country set in the western Pacific Ocean has passed 78 acres of forested wetland in the Yela Valley to be protected. While trafficking remains problematic, it has retained at a Tier 2 ranking. The nation will grow renewable energy to 30% or more by 2020.