Bangladesh has improved significantly on the index over the last three years, from its high-water mark at No. 12 in the index to 24th today. Democracy was restored to the country in 2008 after the Army declared “emergency rule” a year earlier. The last two years of civilian authority haven’t been seamless, to be sure — a military uprising, for example, left more than 70 dead in 2009 — but a daily calm has returned. Now, the greatest threats might come not from politics but from Mother Nature. Always prone to disasters, Bangladesh worries that climate change will push it over the edge as cyclones, floods, and mudslides grow more common. Coastal homes like the ones pictured here are among the most threatened.