64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

Human Environment Index and its Efficacy


Prof. Arun Kumar Sinha


  • A
    Ashbindu Singh, Environmental Pulse Institute, VA20120, USA
  • M
    Markandey Rai, UN-Habitat, Nairobi, KENYA


64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

Format: CPS Paper

Session: CPS 41 -Environmental statistics III

Tuesday 18 July 8:30 a.m. - 9:40 a.m. (Canada/Eastern)


The need for the human environment index (HEI) has been felt for a long time because there is no single characteristic that could help measure the existing environmental state of a place quantitatively. There are several natural conditions that influence the environment and no global targets can be set because of the enormous diversity of environmental issues across countries and regions. The construction of the HEI aims to represent the three basic dimensions of the human environment that include green land, blue sky, and clean water by a single number. Being expressed in different units these are transformed into dimension indices using linear transformations, and they are pooled to obtain the HEI. For combining them we use an averaging method. This index, in turn, exhibits the managerial efforts a country/area makes for ensuring the environmental sustainability. The ranking of the countries / areas based on the index produces a sense of competition to improve their investment towards the environmental protection goal, which is the most important factor for our survival and well-being. Further, this index is expected to fulfil an urgent need for a composite index to monitor the environmental characteristics of countries and regions irrespective of their affiliation to the United Nations (UN) in a single number on a regular basis, This attempts to measure the relative progress towards the environmental protection goal. As this measures the relative change its value needs to be interpreted with extra caution. We need to update this index at a regular interval for making it a stronger tool of our environment protection goal just like UN human development index (HDI), which is being computed by the UNDP regularly.