The island of Cabo Verde off the coast of West Africa tops the 2016 list of the World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations, as chosen by Ethical Traveler.
In the late summer of each year, the nonprofit organization surveys the world’s developing nations to determine how each is faring in environmental protection, social welfare , human rights and animal welfare—all while creating a lively, community-based tourism industry. A short list of 25 countries is established before the top 10 list is released.
Cabo Verde (aka Cape Verde) notched the top spot in the 2016 list, released this week, partly because of its steady progress in gender equality; many women now hold high-ranking leadership positions in the public and private sectors, and there is a strong possibility that it will select its first female prime minister (Janira Hopffer Almada) this year.
The countries rounding out the top 10, in successive order, are: Dominica (not to be confused with Dominican Republic, a much larger island also in the Caribbean), Grenada, Micronesia, Mongolia, Panama, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Uruguay.
In creating the list, Ethical Traveler reviews not only the current state of each country, but how it has changed over time in each of the four categories. The goal is to encourage behaviors that are creating a safer and more sustainable world.
Each destination also needs to offer unspoiled natural beauty, great outdoor activities and the opportunity to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful, mutually enriching way.
Ethical Traveler is under the umbrella of Earth Island Institute, based in Berkeley, California.