A partnership convened by the World Resources Institute

Indicators and Scoring

Indicators and Scoring

EDI consists of 75 legal indicators developed under 23 of the UNEP Bali Guidelines that are concerned with the development and implementation of legislation. In addition to the legal indicators, EDI includes 24 supplemental indicators that assess whether there is evidence that environmental democracy is being implemented in practice. The EDI legal indicators assess laws, constitutions, regulations and other legally binding, enforceable rules at the national level.

Nearly every indicator is accompanied by a guidance note, which typically consists of a short paragraph that defines any key terms, provides clarification, and offers illustrative examples.  The legal indicators have four scoring options, ranging from zero (lowest) to three (highest). Each score is accompanied by scoring criteria which must be in place for that score to be defensible. In this way, subjectivity in scoring is limited, though not eliminated.

In general, there are two types of legal indicators:

  1. indicators that test the extent of provisions that promote environmental democracy across the range of types of environmental decision making;
  2. indicators that test the strength of a given provision in providing an enforceable legal right for the public.

A score of three 3 means that the respective provision exemplifies accepted good practice. A score of 2 indicates that a majority—but not all—of environmental decision making includes a certain provision, or indicates moderately strong provision. A score of 1 translates to a weaker provision that allows significant discretion to government agencies to fulfil these rights, or that a right only applies to a minority of environmental decision making processes.  A score of 0 indicates that the law is either silent or prohibits some aspect of procedural rights, depending on the indicator. 

Practice Indicator Scoring

The practice indicators are scored qualitatively on a three point scale:

  1. Yes (practice is observed in full)
  2. Limited (practice is observed irregularly or partially)
  3. No (no observation of practice)

Similar to the legal indicators, practice indicators are typically accompanied with guidance limit subjectivity for the researcher. Unlike the legal indicators, the scores are simply presented as sums, and not averaged. There are 4 practice indicators under the transparency pillar, 7 under the participation pillar, and 13 under the justice pillar. However, as previously mentioned, several of the practice indicators indirectly assess accessibility of information due to the method of research.

how edi works schema
  • Country level

    70 Countries

    Pillar scores averaged into one overall score for the country

  • Pillar level

    3 Pillars

    Guideline scores averaged for each pillar

  • Guideline level

    24 Guidelines

    EDI indicators were developed under the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Bali Guidelines on Rio Principle 10. These guidelines were adopted by UNEP in 2010.

    Guideline scores are the arithmetic average of its legal indicators.

  • Indicator level

    75 indicators

    Individual indicator score

  • Practice indicators

    Supplemental indicators on environmental democracy in practice.

    Results do not affect the legal indicator scores.


What is EDI

Know more about EDI background and methodology


Know more about the index

Frequently asked questions.