State fragility has become a buzzword in international development policy, leading to a dramatic explosion in the production of indices to rank countries according to levels of fragility. Despite this proliferation, no systematic analysis of such indices has yet been produced. The Users’ Guide on Measuring Fragility aims to meet this need by providing a rigorous, comprehensible and user-friendly examination of eleven country-level indices measuring facets of fragility.
Researchers and policy-makers are key target groups for the Users’ Guide. Whereas researchers may find the guide helpful when considering fragility indices to inform their studies, whereas policy-makers may discover a tool of relevance for cross-national assessments and impact analysis. Development practitioners may also find some of the debates and findings from the publication (e.g. on measurement types and data sources) useful in their professional practice.
The Users’ Guide on Measuring Fragility is a publication jointly produced by the German Development Institute and the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre (Democratic Governance Group, Bureau for Development Policy) with funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany. It is a new addition to the UNDP Users’ Guide series published by the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre as part of its flagship programme on country-led governance assessments.
The Users’ Guide was informed by a desk review and systematic analysis of existing fragility indices, accompanied by interviews with producers of such indices. A readers group made up of some twenty experts, including the UNDP Bureau of Conflict Prevention and Recovery, provided comments to the document. The Users’ Guide was also peer reviewed to secure academic rigour.
Maximising the potential of UNCAC implementation: Making use of the self-assessment checklist
The self assessment checklist of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is a unique opportunity to maximize national ownership of the UNCAC and may lead to several positive outcomes as a part of the broader assessment processes. This U4 Issue publication outlines the potential benefits as well as the challenges the checklist poses, and makes recommendations for States Parties, donors, and UNODC to ensure that the benefits are realised. The document is available on the U4's Corruption wepages, or may be downloaded here.
A tale of two processes: Streamlining national monitoring and the APRM in Djibouti
Djibouti has recently launched a task force charged with developing a monitoring strategy for the National Development Strategy’s pillar on governance, and is also poised to take the first steps in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Recognizing that there are opportunities to capitalize on these parallel processes, and wishing to make the most of lessons learned by “APRM pioneers”, national stakeholders and the UNDP global programme recently met and identified key strategic points for coordination between the two processes.
Governance assessment in Djibouti:
A special unit was recently tasked to monitor the implementation of the Djibouti national development strategy and report directly to the prime minister. To develop a monitoring framework for the governance pillar of the strategy, the General Secretariat of the Government is leading a multi-stakeholder task force. The task force is composed of concerned ministries, the national statistical office, academics, the office of the auditor general, the national coordinator for the upcoming APRM process, and is supported by the UNDP Global Programme on Democratic Governance Assessments.
Simultaneously, Djibouti is scheduled to launch the APRM self-assessment process following the turn of the year, and the APRM national council, a body of independent experts charged with planning and implementing the APRM process, has recently been appointed.
Tapping into Synergies:
A recent review of experiences by ‘APRM pioneers’ has revealed that key shortcomings of the APRM process included lack of follow-up on recommendations made in national APRM reports, as well as the lack of monitoring of the implementation of national ‘programmes of action’. In Djibouti, this challenge could be addressed by synchronizing ongoing efforts to develop a national governance monitoring system with the soon-to-start APRM process.
By investing early in the design and institutionalization of a monitoring system, it is hoped that the follow-up on Djibouti’s APRM Programme of Action will be made easier and more systematic. In this context, it was agreed that the expertise and work of the task force responsible for developing a governance monitoring system for Djibouti should also be leveraged by the national APRM coordination unit, and vice versa.
For instance, the task force plans to map governance data sources in Djibouti. This mapping will also be useful to the APRM committee; in turn, the task force could take advantage of the consultative process facilitated by the APRM committee when conducting the APRM self-assessment, to seek feedback from all stakeholders on proposed governance indicators for Djibouti. The APRM questionnaire suggests a list of assessment ‘criteria’ for the various themes of governance, but stops short of suggesting specific indicators which could be used to measure these criteria.
Support from the UNDP Global Programme:
In a recent mission to Djibouti (10-15 Nov.), the UNDP Global Programme on Democratic Governance Assessments met with both the multi-stakeholder task force for national governance monitoring, and the APRM national council. UNDP led discussions on the limitations of global governance indicators and the importance of selecting country specific indicators through a nationally owned process. This led to plans to formalize coordination between the national task force and the APRM national council. For further information please see the project page.
Project Launch for Governance Assessment at the State Level in Mexico
On October 26th, UNDP Mexico and CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas) launched the project “México Estatal: Quality of Governance and Accountability in the Federal Entities of Mexico”, at a public seminar focusing on the conceptual framework and methodologies of the project. The seminar gathered local experts, public officials, regional partners and international organizations to discuss key themes and methodological challenges. The project’s Advisory Board also presented during the seminar, which was covered by national media, and streamed online.
Through the construction of objective indicators to assess democratic governance throughout Mexico’s 32 federal entities, the project México Estatal aims to generate systemized, generalized and comparable data on the operation of state government institutions. These indicators will be developed through open public and interdisciplinary debate among scholars, public servants and civil society interested in strengthening democracy in the state governments.
Through this process of open debate, coupled with a methodological rigor in the construction of indicators, it will be possible to create a database of state government information. The database will be available to the general public, providing empirical data and support public debate on the management and accountability mechanisms of state governments.
The interdisciplinary network responsible for generating indicators will be active throughout the project’s lifecycle, generating publications on the topic, harnessing public interest in democratic governance reform, and facilitating feedback to refine the indicators and their use at the state level.
Government, academia and civil society join to revamp governance framework in Senegal
In Senegal, the first National Programme for Good Governance suffered from a lack of coordination amongst governance actors, and from the absence of a monitoring framework to help track results and inform decision-making. Key stakeholders recently met to address these deficiencies head-on in preparation for the National Programme’s ‘second edition’.
A New and Improved
In Senegal, the first National Programme for Good Governance (which ended in 2007) suffered from a lack of coordination amongst governance actors, and from the absence of a monitoring framework to help track results and inform decision-making. The ‘second edition’ (2007-11) of the Programme addressed these deficiencies head-on by establishing a new unit (DREAT) responsible for the coordination of all governance projects and programmes in Senegal, and for monitoring progress towards achieving the objectives outlined in the Programme.
The need for a nationally owned governance monitoring system in Senegal was made evident by a diagnostic study which examined current practices in governance monitoring. The study showed that most of the data currently collected tracks resources and activities, but fails to measure the results and impact of governance interventions. The study also pointed to the fact that governance data is mainly collected to meet donor reporting requirements, but rarely used for planning and decision-making by national actors. Moreover, governance databases are rarely computerized, which makes difficult the sharing of such information amongst relevant actors.
Indicator Selection Jump-starts Joint Planning
In an effort to enhance the quality of governance monitoring in Senegal, the coordinating unit (DREAT) steering the implementation of the national governance programme has embarked on a participatory process for developing a monitoring framework. During a workshop on 22-26 September, representatives from the central and local governments, the planning commission, the parliament and senate, civil society, universities, etc. formed thematic working groups (composed of institutions playing a leading role in a given sector/theme of governance) to collectively design a logical results-based framework for the Programme, and to identify ‘balanced baskets’ of indicators, with technical support from the Oslo Governance Centre.
The thematic working groups not only took strong ownership of their respective indicator sets, but also used these thematic platforms for joint planning exercises, and for partnership-building. Once the monitoring framework is endorsed by all, data collection tools will be developed and a governance data management system will be the institutionalized, possibly in the existing National Observatory of Poverty (housed in the national statistical office).
Global Programme Support
Once the draft monitoring framework is endorsed by all, the UNDP Global Programme on Democratic Governance Assessments will support DREAT in refining the proposed governance indicators (with a special focus on the poverty and gender sensitivity of indicators), and in developing data collection tools. A mission by the French research institute DIAL, a partner of the Global Programme, is planned for next year to support the statistical office in collecting governance data by adding a governance module to household surveys. The Global Programme is also supporting the development of a governance data management system, which is likely to be housed in the existing National Observatory of Poverty (in the national statistical office). For further information please see the project page and press release.
Anti-Corruption Agencies convene in Oslo to discuss how to measure corruption
Representatives from the anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) of Kosovo/1244, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey gathered for this workshop (27-29 Oct.), organized in Oslo in collaboration with the UNDP Regional Centre in Bratislava. This workshop was held in response to a growing demand and interest on the part of ACAs in strengthening their capacity to assess and measure corruption in countries.
In addition to tracking progress in the implementation of national anti-corruption strategies, there is an opportunity for ACAs to play a more active role in the reporting processes related to the implementation of UNCAC and to the EU accession process (the political criteria for EU accession include anti-corruption). In one session, participants examined the opportunity offered by the UNCAC and its ‘self-assessment checklist’ to undertake a more comprehensive and evidence-based diagnosis in areas of particular concern to a country. To access the workshop report and presentations, click here .
Workshop: Sharing African Assessment Experiences in Namibia
A regional workshop entitled "Country-led Governance Assessments: Sharing Experiences and Increasing Political Accountability" recently gathered 77 participants from over 20 African countries. The participants hailed from lead institutions that included UN agencies, government bodies, national statistical offices, academic institutions and civil society.
This broad participation provided a rich and productive context for the exchange of resources, tools and experience, and the served as a catalyst for developing new proposals. Participants reported that the workshop was significant success, especially noting knowledge gained in regards to designing indicators, strategies for partnership with local actors, and support for initiating projects.
The workshop took place in Windhoek, Namibia 2-5 November 2009, and was hosted by the Namibian Institute for Democracy, in collaboration with the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre and the InWent Centre for Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics. For further information, including presentations and a full report, please click here.
OECD World Forum: Better Measurements for Better Policies
Several thousand professionals gathered for four days in Busan, Korea at the end of October to discuss “Statistics, Knowledge and Policy.” 40 breakout sessions and several plenary roundtables provided a wealth of ideas and demonstrated the creativity and diversity of the global ‘measurement business’. This search is not new.
The State of The Art
There is a widening consensus that the what and thehow of how we measure the progress of societies is out of touch present day realities, and inadequate to face the challenges of the future. The limitations of focusing on GDP and economic growth has been highlighted by the recent financial crisis and correlations between growth and inequality. As Joseph Stiglitz phrased it, “there is a huge gap between what statistics show and how people understand their own reality” (while discussing the findings of the Sarkozy Commission).
This sentiment was also voiced by the OECD Secretary-General, Angel Guerria, who discussed how the OECDMeasuring Progress of Societieswas driven by the need to find better ways to measure social progress in ways that are meaningful to ordinary people, and stressed the need for human rights, governance, ecosystems and similar issues to be factored into our understanding – and measurement – of progress.
Much discussion was devoted to the widely accepted frameworks developed over the last 3 decades to promote and measure well being, quality of life, human development and sustainable development. Participants noted that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights urges member nations to promote a number of human, civil, economic and social rights, while the Millennium Development Goals have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest, and the Human Development Index ranks countries by level of "human development". Many participants also asserted the need to move beyond the MDGs and the HDI, indicating that the 2010 anniversary of the Human Development Report and review of the Human Development Index, is likely to be discussed at great length in the ‘measurement community’.
The OECD has also set up Wikiprogress, a global platform for sharing information in order to evaluate societal progress. Here, users can browse topics, statistics and articles relating the measurement of societal progress. See http://www.wikiprogress.org/.
Fourth Round of Funding open for United Nations Democracy Fund
The United Nations Democracy Fund invites civil society organizations to apply for funding for projects to advance and support democracy. Project proposals may be submitted on-line between 16 November 2009 and 31 December 2008 at www.un.org/democracyfund, where applicants can also find guidelines, FAQs and lessons learned from previous rounds. Only on-line applications in either English or French will be accepted. The full announcement may be downloaded here.
On October 20th, the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark visited the Oslo Governance Centre. During the visit, Ms.Clark and OGC staff discussed the Centre’s efforts to position UNDP as a champion of democratic governance through knowledge networking and multi-disciplinary team work. Ms. Clark expressed great interest in the OGC’s work to support country offices and cooperation between national actors. The newly produced Governance Assessment Portal and soon to be launched virtual community for governance assessments, was highlighted by Helen Clark as a strong example of such cooperation.
The GAP Newsletter is published quarterly. It is produced by staff working for the Global Programme on Democratic Governance Assessments, and primarily reports on issues relating to UNDP's work in the area of governance assessments. If you have a good story to tell, please email us at email@example.com
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