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 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. This composite index is comprised of four indicators:
- 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: Produced by 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: Produced by 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): Produced by 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.
For the 2011 release, MCC has decided to report both the overall NRMI and to repackage the indicators into two new indices: The Natural Resource Protection Indicator (NRPI), which is solely composed of the eco-region protection indicator, and the Child Health Indicator (CHI), which is an unweighted average of the proximtiy-to-target scores for access to water, access to sanitation, and child mortality. In the future the MCC will be using the two new indicators in place of the NRMI.
Policies for Improving Performance
Links to a number of resources are provided to governments or individuals who wish to learn more about how to improve their performance on the four components of the NRMI.
- Eco-region Protection:
- Access to Improved Sanitation and Improved Water:
- Child Mortality (Ages 1-4):