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About the inventory

Methodology for collecting initiatives included in the Inventory

The activity started out with a worldwide survey, conducted by Metagora at the OECD, which addressed national institutions, NGOs, research centres, government bodies and experts worldwide with a questionnaire aimed at collecting basic information on the objectives, sources and methods of their work. A Task Team was established and started to develop the basic questionnaire; this questionnaire was tested with selected NGOs based in developing countries. The reviewed questionnaire was sent out for implementation of the survey in August 2004.
From the outset, the activity could count on an invaluable asset, namely, the significant and comprehensive repository of information developed during preparation and follow-up for the 2000 Montreux Conference on Statistics, Development and Human Rights, and throughout the preparatory work of Metagora. This allowed Metagora to take advantage of a large database of records, which included those of government bodies, national statistical offices (more than 500 of these), international organizations (about 430 records), academics and experts. On a smaller scale, Metagora also was able to tap into the resources of NGOs and foundations concerned with the issue of measuring democracy, human rights and governance. Even so, this initial database showed a number of weaknesses: Out of the 3500 records present in the database, the actual number of valuable contacts was considerably reduced, to approximately 1800, after duplications and faulty, old or difficult-to-reach addresses were excluded. For these reasons, the MCT and the Task Team on the Inventory of Initiatives agreed upon the immediate need to diversify the target of the survey and to reach out with the questionnaire as much as possible.
From September 2004 onward, priority was given to updating and expanding the database with new records retrieved through extensive desktop research. Around 700 more records were then added, out of which 600 were successfully addressed with the questionnaire. By the end of November 2004, about 215 out of 2400 recipients of the survey had either sent back their completed questionnaires (134), or stated their lack of expertise in this field, or expressed their interest in the project and requested moretime to fill in the questionnaire.
The Task Team met in Rome in December 2004 to review progress, criteria and priorities for implementation of the survey, its assessment, and next steps. The Team agreed that:
  1. the research, consequent extension of the database, and further dispatch of the questionnaire should be an ongoing process;
  2. the main goal of the operation at that stage was collection of a significant number of responses to the questionnaire and further development of the survey, focusing on NGOs, local organizations and public bodies, the Southern hemisphere and transition countries, and recent and ongoing empirical initiatives that are policy- oriented on a local/national level;
  3. all data captured through the survey had to be accurately uploaded into the online database designed and set up by Metagora ;
  4. a further step had to be the assessment of the Inventory’s potential contribution to the development of methods and tools for DHRG measurement, taking stock from and complementing existing international studies and presenting alternatives and new approaches developed by the South.
Thus, an associated expert, in collaboration with Metagora partners, further developed and expanded the survey through personal and direct networks and organizational contacts. In addition, desktop research and subsequent further dispatching of the questionnaire to potential respondents were undertaken. The survey concentrated on focal points in the Southern hemisphere and transition countries, taking advantage of previous and recent contacts established by Metagora. The “snowball effect,” as well as the Internet search, provided both interesting information and relevant contacts.

A large variety of respondents

The results show that the need for measuring democratic governance and human rights and related policies -- and for a more rigorous use of quantitative methods in the collection, production and analysis of data in these fields -- is strong in the South. In addition, it is an academic exercise and an international concern.
From the hundreds of responses received, 223 reported initiatives were retained as relevant. Initiatives considered non-relevant were either (a) especially poor in the information provided; (b) not measuring an aspect of democratic governance or human rights; (c) not showing any aspect of data collection or systematic documentation; or (d) focusing on regular production of statistical information that is not based on a rights-based approach nor focused on explicitly measuring governance, but that may be used as secondary sources for human rights or democratic governance assessment (i.e., sectoral official statistics).
Regarding the geographical distribution of the initiatives, it is worth noting that more than 40 percent of implementing organizations are based in the Southern hemisphere or in transition countries, largely reflecting the same provenance of the participants in  the 2000 Montreux Conference. These data are confirmed and emphasized when we look at the place of implementation of each initiative: Half are carried out in developing countries or countries in transition, either by local institutions or by Northern and international organizations. Finally, about 70 (or 28 percent) have been identified as “global initiatives,” since they have a cross-country scope that involves more than one continent. Most questionnaires were filled out in English; 11 were in French and 33 in Spanish.

The added value of the Inventory of Initiatives

The added value of the Inventory of Initiatives lies in:
  1. its direct first-source information (provided by the initiatives themselves) on tools and methods currently used in measuring human rights, democracy and governance, as well as on current available resources;
  2. its pilot character and inclusiveness: The information, although not yet exhaustive, covers a broad range of countries; types of organizations (universities, research centres, inter-governmental agencies, government bodies, non-government organizations, local institutions, individual experts worldwide), themes, and methods; brings to light original initiatives; and shows the richness of expertise around the globe;
  3. its bottom-up approach, aimed primarily at identifying initiatives implemented by local organizations with a local/national focus, in the Southern hemisphere and transition countries;
  4. its policy orientation, documenting initiatives that measure local policies or provide data for their design;
  5. its networking potential, fostering communication and enhancing synergies and information sharing among a worldwide network of organizations and experts.

The Inventory Today

In 2007 the Inventory was handed over to UNDP and the Global Programme on Democratic Governance Assessments. The inventory has received a new look, but its basic ideas and principles remain the same.
The Inventory continues to be updated by users who post initiatives. It is more focused now on promoting country-led efforts to measure governance, so that global initiatives are no longer included. Instead, such global initiatives are represented in the Source Guide to Global Governance Indicators.