Huilo Reserve

Huilo ReserveWho doesn’t love supporting a good cause that involves travel?

Ethical Traveler recently unveiled its annual list of the top 10 developing countries, all of which have made significant steps towards promoting and protecting its local citizens, wildlife, and environment. These countries are also working towards the goal of establishing an organized and well-respected tourism industry.

To organize the list, Ethical Travel takes into account each country’s history as well as survey data from resources such as UNICEF and Human Rights Watch. Using this information, they identify the countries that have made significant improvement in three main categories: Social Welfare, Environmental Protection, and Human Rights. More specifically, they look into issues such as preservation of resources, sustainable practices, availability of safe drinking water and universal primary education, as well as political rights and civil liberties.

Here are the top countries for 2014 and their most notable achievements:

The Bahamas
This island nation has made significant efforts in the fight against human trafficking. The country also established new Marine Protected Areas and expanded the number of conservation areas in Andros West Side National Park.

Barbados
When it comes to sustainable tourism and protecting the environment, all islands in the Caribbean should look to Barbados. According to UNICEF, it has also experienced a significant reduction in child mortality rates.

Cape Verde
Earlier this year, The World Bank referred to Cape Verde as a ‘success story’ in its efforts to expand tourism and protect the local community and environment. Cape Verde also committed to achieving some major energy goals, which they hope to reach over the next two decades.

Chile
Chile continues to support its sustainability efforts with conservation programs to protect its forests and endangered species. In doing so, the country also has made it a priority to get locals involved in tourism, instead of logging, as a primary occupation. The World Bank also gave Chile the best equality ranking, according to its Gini Index.

Dominica
In an effort to increase sustainable practices and preserve the environment, Dominica is working towards saving a rare species of chickens and expanding solar power energy throughout the island. It’s also continuing efforts to preserve native forests and species, including frogs and iguanas. Dominica has also made significant progress in universal primary education, child mortality rates, and maternal health.

Latvia
Latvia is one of ten countries in the world with excellent policies related to environmental public health. It’s also considered to be a leader in gender equality.

Lithuania
According to the United Nations, Lithuania has very high human development and low mortality rates. It also scored high in environmental protection.

Mauritius
The UN has praised Mauritius for making significant progress in protecting the environment and supporting sustainable practices. It’s also made strong efforts towards improving human development overall, particularly in property rights and labor freedom.

Palau
Palau protects the highest percentage of marine and terrestrial areas out of all the countries on the list. It also received the highest scores for press freedom ratings.

Uruguay
Uruguay once again receives the highest score in human rights among the list of ethical destinations. In addition to passing a marriage equality law, they also legalized first trimester abortions to reduce and hopefully end unsafe abortions. They’re the first South American country to do so.

It should also be noted that Chile, Cape Verde, Dominica, Uruguay, Palau, Lithuania, Barbados, and The Bahamas also received the highest scores from Freedom House in Political Rights, Civil Liberty, and Press Freedom ratings.

Ethical Travel also names Cuba, Egypt, Iran, and The Philippines as Destinations of Interest for 2014, for “their commitment to improving social justice and sustainable environment practices.”

Photo from This Is Chile.

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About The Author

Monica Montesa is a writer at Scribewise. An explorer and foodie at heart, she loves traveling to new places and discovering exotic cultures and cuisines. Visit www.scribewise.com.

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