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The UK went from 4th place in 2016 to eight in the current standings of the Good Country Index iStock

The UK has made a lesser contribution to world progress for the second year in a row. The Good Country Index measures how much countries have contributed to the "common good of humanity, " ranks them and update itself accordingly.

But the UK was downgraded for the second year in a row, from seventh to eighth place.

The index ranks 163 countries under seven categories: Contributions to science and technology; culture, international peace and security; world order; planet and climate; prosperity and equality and health and well-being. Each country is evaluated according to five indicators per category.

The overall standings is the average of the ranking obtained by each country in each category.

In order to rank them accurately, the index relies on data produced by the UN, the World Health Organisation and the World Food Bank amongst others.

In 2016, the UK placed 4th overall on the index but has since been downgraded twice in a row. It used to be first in terms of contributions to science and technology but has since dropped to fifth.

In 2017, its highest ranking was in health and well-being, where it came fourth for its contribution.

In the updated standings, the UK's ranking still improved in some categories, such as planet and climate, where it climbed to 11th place from 22nd in 2016. However, its biggest drop was in prosperity and equality, where it plummeted to 35th from fifth.

The top five ranked countries in the Good Country Index were Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Germany.

Sweden, a country ranked first on a previous index is now placed sixth, but still ranks first in health and well-being.

Ireland is a new entry at seventh, ranked first for its contribution to global prosperity and equality and second for its contribution to global health and well-being.

The US drops a few places, from 20th in 2015 to 25th in 2017. It ranked lower in almost every category, except in health and well-being, where it climbed 10th from 12th in 2016.

The three lowest ranked countries include Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, all ravaged by conflict for more than a decade.

According to the index's creator, Simon Anholt, a successful country is one that "contributes to the good of humanity".

"Of course it must serve the interests of its own people, but never at the expense of other populations or our shared resources," Anholt said. He adds: "This is the new law of human survival, and it's a balance which is far more easily maintained than many people imagine."

Top 10 Good Country Index -

CountryOverall RankScience and TechCultureInternational Peace and SecurityWorld OrderPlanet and ClimateProsperity and EqualityHealth and Well-being
Netherlands18th2nd27th3rd19th4th9th
Switzerland211th4th44th10th2nd5th6th
Denmark34th6th64th9th14th2nd3rd
Finland47th13th52nd8th6th9th12th
Germany521st15th37th2nd18th14th7th
Sweden617th5th67th4th26th3rd1st
Ireland732nd8th50th21st10th1st2nd
UK85th11th48th12th11th35th4th
Austria96th7th65th1st17th13th28th
Norway1049th22nd51st7th5th8th5th