Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for Tuvalu.
The nation of Tuvalu consists of 9 small islands in the west-central Pacific ocean between Australia and Hawaii. The two most pressing issues facing Tuvalu are sea level rise and waste management, both of which have wide implications for the health of both citizens and the islands themselves (NEMS 2015-2020).
Sea level rise poses a major threat to the island nation, as it is estimated that some islands will be uninhabitable within the next 50-100 years, according to the IPCC. As part of the 7 year Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project (TCAP), the Tuvalu government is building sea walls to mitigate the effects of sea level rise, protect inland infrastructure and increase local resilience to climate change hazards. It is pursuing a transition toward a green economy which will offer the best chance of achieving sustainable economic, social, and environmental development, through the creation of green jobs designed to mitigate the hazards of climate change.
Ineffective waste management has caused pollution to local waters and affected local fishing businesses which are a primary source of employment and domestic food production. The ‘Tuvalu Integrated Waste Policy and Action Plan 2017-2026’ is the primary political framework for addressing these challenges. The government is investing in waste management infrastructure to ensure that citizens have access to appropriate waste disposal systems, and levy’s and bans on certain high waste production goods will be imposed to reduce unnecessary excess waste entering the island. Overarchingly, Tuvalu is transitioning toward a circular economy which emphasizes recycling and reusing old materials to reduce waste production. So far, Tuvalu has made significant progress toward reducing waste production, however weak government enforcement persists.
- Tuvalu is highly dependent on foreign aid and donations.
- Tuvalu ranks as one of the most environmentally vulnerable nations in the region as a result of sea level rise and extreme weather events.
- Damage from climate change, including loss of domestic fisheries, reduced crop yields due to salt water intrusion, and risk of cyclones, are costly to handle and have hampered Tuvalu’s capacity to address other economic, environmental and social issues.
* Tuvalu’s contribution to global climate change is too insignificant to rank it in certain categories.
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.