In May 2005 a consortium led by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University, which included the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy (YCELP), the University of New Hampshire Water Systems Analysis Group, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Columbia University Tropical Agriculture Program, submitted a proposal to the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in response to the MCC's search for a natural resources management indicator. In July 2006 MCC selected a revised version of the proposal.
In 2006 CIESIN began producing the Natural Resources Management Index (NRMI), made up of four indicators calculated by CIESIN with data from international sources:
- Eco-Region Protection: Developed by CIESIN, this indicator assesses whether a country is protecting at least 10% of all of its biomes (e.g. deserts, forests, grasslands, aquatic, and tundra). It is designed to capture the comprehensiveness of a government’s commitment to habitat preservation and biodiversity protection. The World Wildlife Fund provided the underlying biome data, and the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Center provided the underlying data on protected areas.
- Access to Improved Sanitation: Calculated with data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), this indicator measures the percentage of the population with access to facilities that hygienically separate human excreta from human, animal, and insect contact. Facilities such as sewers or septic tanks, poor-flush latrines and simple pit or ventilated improved pit latrines are assumed to be adequate, provided that they are not public.
- Access to Improved Water: Calculated with data from the WHO and UNICEF, this indicator measures the percentage of the population with access to at least 20 liters of water per person per day from an “improved” source (household connections, public standpipes, boreholes, protected dug wells, protected springs, and rainwater collection) within one kilometer of the user's dwelling.
- Child Mortality (Ages 1-4): Calculated with data from the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the 2006-2008 releases of the NRMI used the number of deaths per 1000 children aged 1 to 4 (mx(1-4)). In 2009, thanks to further guidance from the Population Division, the indicator was changed to the probability of dying between age 1 and 5 (4q1), which is highly correlated with mx(1-4). Because the causes of child mortality among 1–4 year olds are strongly influenced by environmental causes, this indicator is considered to be a useful proxy for underlying environmental conditions.
Since 2012 the MCC has used the Eco-Region Protection indicator as the sole component of a Natural Resource Protection Indicator (NRPI) and the other three indicators as the components of a Child Health Indicator (CHI). The NRPI and CHI are produced annually in support of the MCC scorecards.
Policies for Improving Performance
Links to a number of resources can be found below that provide an indication of how governments can improve their indicator scores.
- Eco-region Protection:
- Access to Improved Sanitation and Improved Water:
- Child Mortality (Ages 1-4):