Professor Simon Anholt sheds light on Good Country Index at Government Summit

DUBAI, 10th February, 2015 (WAM) — Professor Simon Anholt, an international policy aisor and creator of the Good Country Index, has introduced the Index and its mechanism to attendees of The Government Summit in Dubai.

As a progression to the earlier ‘Nation Branding’ concept, the Good Country index relies purely on data available through global agencies such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Various socio-economic data points around each country are gathered in the areas of science and technology, culture, contributions to international peace and security, participation in the world order, focus on the planet and climate, prosperity and equality, and health and wellbeing. These data points are then analysed using Anholt’s MARSS model, to give the rankings of the nations of the world as good countries.

The MARSS model uncovers standing by Morality, Aesthetics, Relevance on the global stage, Sophistication, and Strength, whether hard or soft power. These characteristics are what go towards people forming an opinion about a nation.

“The image of a country is a fixed asset or capital, and not, as one would imagine, a liquid currency that changes easily and quickly. With around 205 countries in the world, people actually spend very little time thinking about a number of nations. We have found that the focus on any point in time is on three countries, at the most,” Professor Anholt said.

There is direct linkage between a country’s progress and prosperity, and its global image. The defining take-away from the study was that the perceived Morality of a country was its primary and most critical image driver. Of the top 10 nations, nine were European countries, showing that the European Union has been successful in bringing together multiple sovereign states for the greater good.

“Countries seem to believe that for their own success, someone else has to suffer. They seem to look outwards at neighbours as either enemies or customers. We are driving a dual mandate for politicians, as well as civil and business leaders. Their responsibility is not only towards their territory and people, but to every inch of the earth and its atmosphere, and every single resident of this planet. This culture change is not easy, but it is also not impossible,” he added.

An example of countries that are doing good is the ability to successfully take a negative perception and convert it into a force for good. Professor Anholt referenced the UAE’s Drones for Good award as a great example of this – the nation took the maligned subject of UAVs and encouraged the uncovering of its positive potential.

“The Good Country Index is not judgment in any way, but it throws a spotlight on the data that helps us rank each country. We also want to ensure that all countries are ranked on common factors, and so initiatives in one country alone will not positively affect its ranking, since there is no point of reference for the other countries. We believe that a real benefit from this index will be the conversations that this will enable and the changes that this could create – this will be the real value of this undertaking,” he concluded.