The year 2019 marks four years since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the accompanying Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Founded in the same year, the SDG16 Data Initiative (SDG16DI) is a consortium of 16 organizations dedicated to the implementation and open tracking of progress toward SDG16 targets.
The SDG16DI is pleased to present its third annual Global Report, part of a series aimed at evaluating global progress towards realizing the 2030 Agenda’s promise of peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. The Global Report provides governments, UN officials, and civil society stakeholders with a resource to help understand progress on SDG16 targets. It also provides an evidence base for identifying gaps in both the implementation and monitoring of SDG16, and for altering course to accelerate implementation where needed. It also serves as a peer-reviewed compilation of available and robust civil society data on SDG 16 - also known as third-party, unofficial, or non-official data - to support governmental statistical agencies in monitoring and reporting on SDG16 implementation.
Four years into this ambitious agenda, two critical challenges stand out in the state-of-play regarding current SDG 16 data. First, major data gaps remain in the official SDG16 indicators due to methodological issues, limited resources, and the capacity of national statistical offices (NSO) to collect data. Second, conceptual gaps remain within the official SDG16 indicators themselves, preventing an accurate measurement of target objectives -- for example, 16.3 fails to include a civil justice indicator.
The 2019 Global Report builds on several key developments to focus on key recommendations from civil society on advancing the state of SDG16 data; firstly, the previous two SDG16DI reports covering availability of data on all 12 SDG16 targets (2017);the triune aims of SDG16 goal for peace, justice, and inclusion (2018). Finally, these recommendations build on the fact that 2019 marks the first time SDG 16 will be reviewed under the auspices of the High-Level Political Forum, and that the entire SDG agenda will be reviewed for the first time by heads of state during the 2019 UN General Assembly.
Civil society has a role to play in supporting and complementing the work of governments in collecting, monitoring, and reporting on data for SDG16. Data sources collected by civil society (i.e. data not collected and/or published by national statistical services and henceforth referred to as non-official data) can fill methodological and conceptual data gaps in SDG16 data through innovative methodologies and partnerships. Civil society can also reduce the capacity strain on NSO through strategic partnerships with official data collectors.
The 2019 Global Report proposes an overarching recommendation to include non-official data sources alongside official data sources in the global and national monitoring of SDG16 implementation. In addition, the 2019 Global report draws out three opportunities for change needed if we want to collectively drive progress on this ambitious agenda by 2030. These recommendations include the following:
At its best, data is used to track, monitor, and inform policy making and implementation through transparency, accountability, and participation. The SDG16DI hopes that the 2019 Global Report inspires all actors working to advance this ambitious agenda and to highlight the biggest data obstacles facing SDG16, by providing concrete solutions on how to accelerate its implementation target-by-target in this vital year for peace, justice, and inclusion.
What is the state of the world according to non-official data?
This report evaluates the measurable global progress, based on non-official data, towards meeting the targets under SDG 16. Overall, the findings show somewhat mixed evidence as to whether the world is experiencing improvements towards the different targets. In some areas, the data presented suggest an overall improvement, yet in others, progress has been limited, or significant deteriorations have been noted. Hence, the overall lesson seems to be that significant work lies ahead, and that there are several worrisome trends that may act as obstacles in achieving the 2030 agenda commitments to peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.
For instance, there is some evidence suggesting favorable developments towards target 16.1, related to the reduction of all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere. Since 2014, citizens’ perceptions of safety have improved at the global level Regarding conflict deaths, the world has experienced an unprecedented decline in the number of people killed in conflict since WWII. From 2012-2016 the number of people killed globally in conflict spiked, driven by the Syrian conflict, but has since declined, meaning that the sudden increase due to the Syrian conflict is time-bound. Other examples of improvements include a significant progress towards goal 16.9, measured by a significant reduction in the number of people without any official government identification.
Nevertheless, significant obstacles remain in efforts to reach many of the goal 16 targets. Crucially, when it comes to many aspects of governance, the world has experienced an overall deterioration in recent years, including:
What is the state of data coverage of SDG 16?
Overall, the report demonstrates that non-official data can be used to monitor developments toward the SDG 16 targets. Throughout the following chapters, we demonstrate that some form of non-official data exists to monitor the majority of the twelve SDG 16 targets. Many of the relevant indicators discussed throughout the report cover a large share of countries, and many indicators have extended their coverage in recent years. For instance, among the data sources proposed to measure the Inter-Agency and Expert Group (IAEG) official indicators, International IDEA offers a range of indicators that currently cover 158 countries, measuring aspects such as checks on government, civil society participation, and local democracy.
Transparency International’s annual corruption perceptions index (CPI) covered 180 countries and territories in 2018, and has data going back over 20 years. The Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) data on deaths due to violent conflict currently cover all United Nations (UN) member states, with annual updates. The Small Arms Survey, an independent research project located at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, does the same for homicide rates. Non-official data also exist for many of the complementary indicators offered by the SDG 16 Data Initiative. For instance, the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, which measures the accessibility, affordability, impartiality and effectiveness of civil justice systems, increased its coverage from 113 to 126 countries in the last year.
Yet, for many of the SDG 16 targets, there are serious limitations when it comes to data coverage, and thus the ability to track progress. For instance, there is a lack of available data to measure indicator 16.4.2, concerned with illicit arms flows. Although the Data Initiative proposes complementary indicators to measure target 16.7 (responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making), there is no global data available to measure the proposed IAEG indicators of this target, such as the proportion of positions in public institutions compared to national distributions. No available data currently exists that can allow us to reliably estimate the proportion of population subjected to physical, psychological, or sexual violence (indicator 16.1.3).
Non-official data helps to fill gaps in existing measurement of SDG 16 not only by offering indicators that are currently not covered by official sources, many with relatively extensive global available data coverage, but also by providing data that can complement the indicators proposed by IAEG. Non-official data can help to fill methodological gaps, by building on a wide range of methods and sources that offer complementary evidence on developments in the SDG 16 targets, including surveys, expert-coded data, and event-based data. To that end, the SDG 16 Data Initiative proposes the use of expert surveys to measure progress on aspects such as combating corruption, and fostering inclusive, participatory decision-making, as well as the use of event-data based on news sources to measure violent conflict.
On target 16.5 (corruption and bribery) we propose to complement official indicators with data on the perceptions of experts and private sector leaders vis a vis corruption in the public sector. To measure progress on target 16.3, we propose the use of legal needs surveys on access to justice. Non-official data can also cover important conceptual and thematic gaps. For instance, on target 16.3, related to the rule of law and equal access to justice, non-official data can complement the suggested IAEG indicators by also offering indicators capturing access to civil justice.
Globally for 16.1.1, according to Small Arms Survey Global Violent Deaths Database (SAS GVD),approximately 403,000 people died as victims of intentional homicide in 2017. This translates to 5.34 victims of intentional homicide per 100,000 population. Approximately 16 per cent of the victims were women and girls (75,600 deaths); thus, the homicide rate among males are more than four times higher than among females (8.76 vs. 1.98, respectively).
For 16.1.2, according to Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), 49 state-based conflicts were active in 2017 (mostly in the Middle East and Africa), down by four compared to 2016. Ten of these reached the level of war, with at least 1,000 battle-related deaths each. These interstate or intra-state armed conflicts resulted in about 70,000 documented direct deaths in 2017, according to the conservative estimate of the UCDP.
For 16.1.3, no data is currently available to reliably and comparably estimate the proportion of population subjected to physical, psychological or sexual violence, globally.
For 16.1.4, according to estimates based on Gallup World Poll data, as of 2018, the proportion of people that feel safe walking alone at night where they live is 68 per cent, leaving nearly a third of the world’s adult population lacking this basic sense of safety in their immediate area.
For 16.1.1, SAS GVD reports that the global homicide rate declined from 2004 to 2015, a trend that concluded in 2016, the first year demonstrating a marginally higher homicide death rate than in previous years. The 2017 figure suggests that we are potentially witnessing a true trend change: homicide death rates increased rather substantially from 5.15 per 100,000 population in 2016 to 5.34 in 2017 globally (Figure 1). 2017 saw the highest annual number of homicide deaths registered since 2004, with approximately 403,000 victims globally according to SAS GVD.
For 16.1.2, which refers to direct conflict deaths, data by UCDP and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) shows that the world has experienced an unprecedented decline in the number of people killed in armed conflict when considering the entire post World War II period (Figure 2). 535,512 battle deaths were recorded in 1953, the deadliest year since WWII, while under 70,000 such deaths were recorded in 2017. The last 20 years have been more peaceful than preceding decades, with the number of battle deaths usually falling below 30,000. However, as previously stated, the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011 led to a resurgence in battle deaths (see Figure 3). In 2014, and for the first time since 1989, over 100,000 battle-related deaths were recorded in a single year-- unfortunately, a conservative estimate. Since then, this figure has continued to decline, which is thought to be driven primarily by a shift in the Syrian conflict.
Hence, the most current trend suggests a potential decline in battle-related deaths. It should also be noted that the recent peak in battle-related deaths driven by the Syrian conflict was nowhere near that of the most violent periods of the post-WWII period, such as the 1967-1974, and the 1981-1997.
While the number of battle deaths has recently declined, the world still counts a larger number of active conflicts. In 2016, UCDP reported 53 active armed conflicts worldwide - the highest number since 1946. This number, however, declined to 49 in 2017. These conflicts are increasingly concentrated in the Middle East and Africa. This underscores the fact that, while large swaths of the world have been free from active armed conflict, additional efforts are needed to spread these zones of peace. We also see a trend towards more recurring armed conflicts – most of the armed conflicts breaking out today are not new, but rather re-emerging ones. The UN’s renewed commitment to preventing armed conflict is especially timely in this regard.
According to surveys conducted globally by Gallup (Gallup World Poll - GWP), in 2018 more people felt safe in their immediate area than ever before since 2006. The trend is clearly improving since 2014.1 Many world regions saw improvements in citizens’ perception of safety over the period covered by GWP (most of Europe and Asia as well as Northern Africa ).2 However, in some regions the trends are concerning. To varying degrees, the perception of safety score is in decline in all regions of the Americas (most prominently in Southern and Central America), in Southeast Asia as well as in Southern and Western Africa.
For 16.1.1, sophisticated and comprehensive data-recording systems for intentional homicides are available in all high-income regions and several low and middle-income regions; yet in several parts of world, primary source data for homicide counts may not exist at all. For 2017, no data were available for 26 of the 226 countries tracked by the GVD, and data from criminal justice statistics were missing for 106 countries (for most of these, only public health statistical estimates were available). Of the 226 countries tracked, 78 collected any information on victims’ gender distribution for 2017.
For 16.1.2, data on conflict-related deaths is obtained from the UCDP, which collects data on direct battle deaths for every country on an annual basis, releasing the information each September. UCDP’s battle deaths data are based on a clear and concise definition of armed conflict, which has been extensively vetted by the academic community, that distinguishes armed conflict from other types of violence. However, the UCDP excludes events, and thus deaths where conflict actors could not be unambiguously identified and gives conservative estimates for events with unclear/conflicting fatality counts. These practices contribute to better data consistency and quality but may also incur the potential underreporting of battle deaths.
Regarding 16.1.3, there is no data currently accessible for the SDG16 Data Initiative to reliably and comparably estimate the proportion of population subjected to physical, psychological or sexual violence, on a global level. The Gallup World Poll (see next point for details on GWP), includes an item that could be used in approximating the prevalence of physical violence worldwide, namely, a question that asks respondents if they have been assaulted or mugged in the last 12 months. Afrobarometer also provides data on physical violence (“During the past year, have you or anyone in your family: Been physically attacked?”), albeit with a much more restricted coverage. However, as of yet, there is no ongoing global measurement for sexual or psychological violence that would allow for a comprehensive estimate of all types of non-lethal violence worldwide.
For 16.1.4, the GWP offers a comparable global measurement of perception of safety, going back to 2006, when the poll was launched. GWP has surveyed 119 countries on average each year in the 2006-2018 period, with the lowest number of countries being 94 (in 2007) and the highest 138 in 2011. The global data presented in this report is based on 2017-18 results. GWP was carried out in 137 countries in 2017 and in 97 countries in 2018—covering 155 countries over these two years. For the rest of the countries, the most recent available data point was used. GWP claims periodically covering 98 per cent of the world’s population. Indeed, GWP has no history of data collection in most of the smallest nations of the world (countries with a population of about 500,000 or less), some of the relatively new and emerging countries (Kosovo, Eritrea, etc.), and some of the countries that are generally inaccessible for foreign research entities (i.e. North Korea). GWP is conducted in each country with a random sample of at least 1,000 individuals, typically covering all regions, urban and rural populations, with surveys being conducted either face-to-face or via telephone. GWP is accepted as a trusted data source by several international bodies and organizations. The World Values Survey also has internationally comparable data on neighborhood security perception. Despite this study’s important scientific merits, it is unfortunately rather incomplete---and inconsistent between waves---in terms of global coverage, and it is conducted at the low frequency of twice a decade.
The possibilities to systematically include non-official data vary by the sub-indicators of Target 16.1. For some of these indicators, official data do not currently exist on global level, such as for 16.1.4 (perception of security). As such, any systematic global analysis for these indicators must rely on data collected by third parties. Similarly, data on direct conflict deaths (16.1.2) are typically generated by non-official sources (academic research institutes and NGOs that track and document fatalities in particular conflict zones). Finally, data on interpersonal or communal non-lethal violence (16.1.3) also lacks comprehensive coverage in national statistical systems, especially in the holistic form as it is defined for the SDG Target. While part of violent criminality (including various forms of physical and sexual violence) is reflected by national criminal statistics and public health systems, this is, however, a function of reporting by victims. Reporting levels of violent crimes are known to be fairly low and variable across countries, especially if these crimes do not result in reported injury.
Psychological violence, while being the most prevalent among the three forms of violence, is normally not criminalized, thus it falls off the radar of the national record-keeping systems that feed criminal statistics. Another obstacle in capturing the extent of psychological violence is the lack of a globally accepted standard of operationalization in measurement. Initially established by the International Crime Victimization Surveys (ICVS), more or less established measurement standards exist for measuring physical and sexual violence and threats of thereof.). However, no such widely used nomenclatures exist for psychological violence. Depending on the measurement approach used, the results could be vastly different and hardly comparable, for example, if a detailed list of various forms of psychological violence is collected, and the total prevalence is determined after the aggregation of these. Alternatively, results could be based on one or two general questions, or the measurement of psychological violence would change if it includes economic violence, controlling behaviors, etc.
Meanwhile, the necessity of official sources remains clear. The sub-indicator for homicide statistics (16.1.1) is expected to generally rely on official record-keeping and statistics. Any independent effort to construct annual homicide death statistics in any country without referring to national administrative or statistical sources is subject to a high level of estimation bias and/or latency.
As non-official data support three out of the four indicators in the 16.1 domain, the question is rather if there is any reasonable prospect of generating official data on sub-indicators 16.1.2, 16.1.3 and 16.1.4. The following sections will explore this question.
Data supporting the four sub-indicators of Target 16.1 are created using three distinct approaches: record-based official statistics, event-based data collection (captured typically from media reports) and perception or victimization surveys. These three methods jointly cover the full spectrum of sub-indicators in the 16.1 domain, but none of these alone can produce estimates for all four sub-indicators. This requires that states and other stakeholders invest in several of these methods (or utilize already existing tools adopting these) to ensure the full coverage of indicators for this domain.
Administrative Record-Based Method
As homicides are typically brought to the attention of law enforcement agencies that are legally required to process and keep records of this information, criminal statistics are usually considered to capture the phenomenon fairly reliably. It must be acknowledged, however, that in certain vulnerable settings authorities are not capable of fulfilling their duty of policing and law enforcement. There, a proportion of fatal crimes remains unreported and is not recorded by these systems. Additionally, in active conflict zones, states typically lose control over territory, thus the only chance to report any violent loss of civilian life is relegated to a combatant party that controls the area at the time of the incident. These records may not be followed up on, and the process is rarely systematized, hence any record-based statistic would either (a) not be produced or (b) would be very unreliable. Thus, homicide statistics from countries undergoing conflict are typically either non-existent, or unreliable.
As to conflict deaths, administrative records are generally problematic. While combatant deaths are usually tracked by the parties to the conflict, these are rarely divulged, especially not in a timeframe that would assist timely record-based statistics. With the increase of Private Military Contractors (PMCs) and other non-state actors in conflicts, a proportion of battle deaths are increasingly excluded from records of official military losses. Officially released enemy casualty reports are also subject to bias, both due to genuine problems of record-keeping, and due to deliberate misinformation. Involvement of non-state actors in conflicts complicate these issues even further. In short, while administrative record-based statistics are theoretically not impossible or unprecedented in conflict settings, they usually provide sub-optimal results in terms of validity and reliability.
Despite these severe limitations in estimating direct conflict deaths, administrative statistics are indispensable in any methodology measuring indirect conflict deaths. These estimates compare crude death rates before and after the conflict to determine excess mortality wrought by the conflict, allowing an approximation of the indirect toll of conflicts. Possibilities of retrieving the rate of those experiencing non-lethal violence also has severe limitations, if one tries to use administrative records to estimate the phenomenon. Criminal forms of non-lethal violence are to some extent captured by criminal justice systems, as far as these are criminalized and reported by victims. However, the latency is extremely high in this regard: victimization surveys show that many of the less severe cases of criminal violence are not reported to authorities--- notable examples are threats, or assaults that do not result in injury. Some forms of such violence do not appear in criminal statistics at all, because universally they are not criminalized, such as certain types of domestic violence. Additionally, most types of psychological violence are not criminalized at all. Thus, while administrative records-based statistics may serve as a proxy to track the developments in this domain, these will always heavily underestimate the phenomenon of non-lethal violence, even in countries with effectively operating criminal justice systems.
Event-based statistics on fatalities of violence take fatality numbers directly from media reports of incidents. This approach has clear advantages in counting direct conflict deaths, as conflicts are usually covered in-depth by national (in some cases also by the international) media as well as by specialized citizen-reporting systems coordinated by NGOs. This allows for a large number of individual incidents (“events”) to be identified and fatality/casualty counts attributed. UCDP uses this method to develop estimates on global conflict deaths, as also reported by this paper. The event-based recording method could—in theory—also act as an independent statistical resource for homicides, or, without going into the problem of the legal definition, for interpersonal violence that results in deaths.
Practically, however, the thematic and geographic coverage of the existing event-capturing systems are limited, focusing mostly on political, intra-state or inter-state conflicts, and some of them only on a particular conflict. This limited coverage does not offer the possibility of constructing global event-based statistics on homicides. It is also assumed that the media may have a less systematic and accurate coverage of individual homicide cases versus direct conflict deaths, however, this assumption has—to our knowledge—never been fully tested. In order to capture homicides (or lethal interpersonal violence) it would be necessary to substantially “widen the net.” This would require including regional and local news media of each country of the world in the data collection effort. This would make the process infinitely more complex than those that only focus on conflict violence, and cannot possibly rely on human-assisted processes because of the enormous costs it would involve.
The alternative, artificial intelligence-assisted harvesting of incident reports from news media is very far (even in the English language) from coming close to the accuracy of human-facilitated recording systems, and thus cannot yet support such a data collection system at any geographical scale. Still, recognizing this need and opportunity, there are initiatives, such as the Global Registry of Violent Deaths (GreVD) by a consortium led by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Brookings Institute, that have taken up the ambitious goal of setting up AI-facilitated, event-based, global violent death monitoring also including homicides. In the medium term, such initiatives could provide event-based homicide statistics on a global scale. Such event-based capturing methods, however, do not provide opportunities to generate statistics for non-lethal violence, simply because of the latency and low newsworthiness of a large proportion of cases of non-lethal violence. Thus, these cases would not be represented, detected, or recorded in the platforms using such event-based data collection systems. Finally, safety perceptions do not fit into the logical framework of event-based statistics generation, as these are not bound to particular incidents or events.
Victimization or Perception Survey Method
Scientifically designed population surveys are by definition the most appropriate tools to gauge perceptions of individual safety. The defined indicator for SDG 16.1.4 (proportion of persons feeling safe when walking alone in their local area) itself originates from the population survey tradition. It is indeed very difficult to assume any other plausible method of collecting such information from the general population than simply asking them about it. Similarly, due to the problems outlined above, population surveys are best positioned to track non-lethal violence globally. International Crime Victimization Surveys (ICVS) established adaptable methodologies of capturing prevalence of violent crimes, for example. Should a standard and accepted all-encompassing measurement tool exist, the experience of non-lethal violence could be asked from a representative sample of each country’s population, and this would offer a globally comparable data on the phenomenon. Unfortunately, this tool does not yet exist (it is currently under development by the UNDP Oslo Governance Center), and thus there is no credible global data source (or set of sources) that would reliably and comparably inform about the extent of physical, sexual or psychological violence individuals encounter annually. The surveys that most holistically approximate this problem are Violence against Women (VaW) surveys (either stand-alone instruments or as embedded in others, for example in Demographic and Health Surveys), but those, by definition, leave out half of the population—males—from their samples. Other studies, such as the ICVS the Gallup World Poll, or other regional series like the Afrobarometer, measure this phenomenon in a highly restricted manner, completely disregarding psychological violence, although it is a mandatory component of the 16.1.4 sub-indicator. Psychological violence has been found to be most widespread, for example by VaW surveys, and thus essential in estimating overall prevalence rates of violence.
In conclusion, population surveys are best suited to report on sub-indicators 16.1.3 and 16.1.4. The fact that these indicators are currently only supported by non-official sources, does not necessarily mean that these survey-based indicators must remain non-official. Official statistics routinely rely on survey-based information on reporting about key social phenomena (one prominent example is unemployment rate, established through sample-based Labour Force Surveys). These pre-existing survey-based indicators are deeply rooted in statistical traditions, and are well-established components of the activities of national statistical offices (NSOs). However, periodic security and victimization-related NSO-administered population surveys do exist in some countries.
The requirements of the SDG indicator framework suggest that such surveys should be significantly expanded using a globally accepted methodology, conducted by national or international statistical authorities, and/or sanctioned, if carried out by private organizations. NSOs would need to devote enormous resources to establish such measurement tools with global coverage, and these entities are already stretched thin by their current workload. In the foreseeable future, it may be more realistic to expect such global population survey infrastructure to be set up independently, for example by international custodians and donors, involving private research organizations.
• Further strengthen the efforts of international custodians of homicide statistics, both within the criminal justice (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) and public health (World Health Organization) spheres, with the aim of establishing better funded processes to collate national data and produce more timely statistics.
• Examine and understand the differences between criminal justice sourced and public health sourced homicide statistics, to bring these estimates closer to one another.
• Encourage and assist states in establishing electronic and nationally aggregated records of homicides and homicide victims, to have a more complete, reliable and timely statistics on a global scale.
• Encourage national (and in turn, international) custodians of records and statistics to record and divulge relevant and internationally harmonized disaggregation on homicide victims, for example by sex and by age.
• Provide continuous and increased funding for existing initiatives recording conflict deaths.
• Encourage the timely establishment of independent incident and victim tracking systems in emerging conflict zones, operated by local NGOs or international aid services, and utilizing existing methodologies in the field.
• Develop a global, standardized survey module for a holistic measurement of physical, sexual, and psychological violence, and promote its application worldwide.
• Seek an increased annual coverage of a standardized survey question on safety perception, utilizing regional survey systems that provide a possibility for annual measurement (Afrobarometer, Eurobarometer, Latinobarometro, etc.).
16.1.1 Number of victims of intentional homicide per 100,000 population, by sex and age (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.1.2 Conflict-related deaths per 100,000 population, by sex, age and cause (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.1.3 Proportion of population subjected to physical, psychological or sexual violence in the previous 12 months (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.1.4 Proportion of people that feel safe walking alone around the area they live (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.1.5 Total number of people displaced internally due to conflict and violence (Complementary Global Indicator)
16.1.6 Percentage of ever married women aged 15-49 who have experienced physical or sexual violence in last 12 months committed by their husband or partner (Complementary Global Indicator)
Protection of children from all forms of violence is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights treaties and standards. Yet, every year, more than one billion children across the globe experience violence.5 It occurs in homes, schools, and communities, in rich and poor countries alike. It impacts children of all ages, races, and of different ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds, although some of them are more vulnerable than others because of these individual characteristics.
Violent discipline at home is the most common form of violence experienced by children. Recent estimates by UNICEF (based on data from 30 countries) indicate that around six in ten children between the ages of two and fourteen are subjected to physical punishment by their caregivers on a regular basis. 6 Furthermore, about 300 million children aged two to four worldwide (three out of four children) experience violent discipline by their caregivers on a regular basis.6 The fact that so many children are experiencing violent discipline at a young age is particularly concerning due to the increased potential for physical injuries and emotional trauma, as well as the inability of young children to understand the motivation behind the act, or to adopt coping strategies to alleviate their distress.
As regards sexual violence, around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sex in their lifetime; 9 million of these girls were victimized within 2018 Furthermore, data from 38 low-and middle-income countries show that close to 17 million adult women report having experienced forced sex in childhood. In 28 countries in Europe, around 2.5 million young women report experiences of contact and non-contact forms of sexual violence before age 15. Based on data from 20 countries, nearly nine in ten adolescent girls who have been victims of forced sex say this happened for the first-time during adolescence. Generally, girls are more likely to experience sexual violence than boys, but boys disproportionately experience certain forms of sexual abuse and exploitation in certain geographic regions.
When it comes to trafficking children, the recent United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report shows that 30 per cent of detected trafficking victims worldwide are children, representing 26,750 victims across 110 countries. Girls are still mainly trafficked for sexual exploitation and boys for forced labor. In regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean, children comprise more than 60 per cent of trafficking victims.7 Of particular concern, West Africa has the highest number of child victims trafficked for forced labor.
The availability of comparable data on certain forms of violence against children has significantly increased in the recent years – especially in measuring physical and sexual violence. VAC studies have helped increase data availability in targeted countries.8 Yet many challenges remain, chief among which is the lack of international standards. Existing data tend to be inconsistent in terms of agreed definitions of violence, as well as scope, coverage, frequency and quality, thus making comparisons between the countries difficult.9 Other factors prevent standardized and complete data collection, such as lack of capacity, poor resources for data collection and insufficient investment in improving measurement.10 In many countries, data collection is neither institutionalized and nor regularly implemented, thus preventing the consistent monitoring and comparability of data. The indicator data at the moment is are mainly collected through surveys (DHS, MICS) or specific data collection initiatives such as VACS. Many countries are therefore finding difficult to report progress on the implementation of target 16.2. These challenges are likely to remain unless the data collection on violence against children is integrated into national administrative systems, thus enabling them to be collected regularly.
Additional challenges regarding SDG 16.2 indicators are found in the lack of agreed upon methodology for the estimation of non-detected victims of trafficking and for the estimation of the number of children experiencing psychological violence. Both issues are being addressed and methodology proposals are being developed by the custodian agencies.
Finally, underreporting poses the most significant limitation for collection of data on the indicators. Children often do not feel comfortable to report due to fear of perpetrators and stigma and/or do not have access to reporting mechanisms. This means ongoing data collection data is likely to be underestimating the problem.
Three indicators were selected to monitor target 16.2, two of which are specifically related to violence. The first measures the proportion of children aged 1-17 who have experienced any physical punishment and/or psychological aggression by caregivers in the past month (16.2.3). The second measures the proportion of young women and men aged 18- 29 who experienced sexual violence before age 18 (16.2.1).
These indicators address three important forms of violence against children, that is, sexual abuse, physical punishment and psychological aggression by caregivers. Data on these indicators have been collected using established, standardized, and validated measurement tools in several national surveys, including through the UNICEF-supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).
Data on child discipline collected through MICS are available for 43 countries. Some DHS and other national household surveys have also collected the standard, or modified, versions of the MICS child discipline module. Data on sexual violence have been collected through a number of data collection tools and mechanisms, including household surveys carried out by DHS, that have produced comparable data in some 50 low-and middle-income countries since the late 1990s. Fully comparable data are currently available for approximately 43 countries.11
The final indicator, 16.2.2, measures the number of victims of human trafficking per 100,000 population, by sex, age, and form of exploitation. Data is currently collected annually focusing on the number of detected victims through specific questionnaires. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) prepares the biennial Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Data are available for about 130 countries since 2007, and is disaggregated by age, sex and forms of exploitation.12
In addition to official data on indicators for SDGs, official data on prevalence of violence against children are also collected through Violence against Children Surveys (VACS), now in progress or completed in 22 countries. Some countries also collect data through administrative systems by registering children that have come in contact with response services or police. However, this data is not necessarily aligned with the SDG indicators, and is not collated regularly.
Non-official data pertaining to violence against children is collected by civil society organizations and through child helplines. Child Helpline International regularly publishes data from national child helpline partners. This data is periodically compiled and published. Currently available data show slightly different trends than in previous years, with more children reporting sexual violence than corporal punishment, and a high incidence of emotional abuse (by caregiver, peer, or any other person), being the most reported type of violence by children.13
In the absence of statistical data, many international and civil society organizations as well as some regional cooperation bodies (ASEAN, ECOWAS) are devising and monitoring process indicators that can indicate progress in achieving target 16.2. These indicators focus on the existence of adequate legislation, as well as the quality and availability of services pertaining to prevention of and response to violence.
The data collected through MICS and DHS are currently being used as a basis for policy decisions and program interventions, and for the purpose of influencing public opinion on the situation of children and women around the world. Data collected through other instruments, such as VACS carried out under auspices of Together for Girls Initiative, are being used to develop national action plans to end violence against children.
Non-official data are currently used to draw attention to the specific issues of violence against children. Such figures are mainly used for advocacy by civil society organizations, and by international organizations to galvanize support for accelerated actions to prevent and respond to violence. There are significantly more opportunities to use citizen driven data as a strong indication of successes and gaps in the efforts to end violence against children, especially at national levels.
In addition to data that is collected through Child Helplines, many civil society organizations (CSOs) are consulting and surveying children to collect data on perceptions of prevalence from children. UNICEF has, for example, conducted opinion surveys on online violence that shed a light on these important forms of violence against children.14 World Vision has also started collecting data from children, parents, and service providers to obtain a more accurate picture of how citizens perceive the issue, and to measure current responses.
Non-official data can be difficult to collate due to differences in methodologies, coverage, and core assumptions — even when collected, this information is generally statistically irrelevant For example, data from Child Helplines is based on the number of contacts a child makes, versus the number of cases. Contrary to official data, non-official data tend to be collected using child friendly methodologies, thus allowing children to speak and report on violence more freely. As such, they offer useful information and insights on trends and causes of violence children experience, which can be used as a basis for decision making in policy.
Improving global, regional, and national availability of quality data, evidence, and learning on violence against children is critical to ensure timely and effective monitoring of progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Most recently, an initial meeting to create a Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Data and Evidence to End Violence against Children was held to discuss and build consensus on how to address the challenges in producing sound data and evidence. The main recommendations included strong calls to integrate data collections into administrative systems; ensure technical assistance/ guidance and capacity building to fill the gaps; and strengthen the government ownership over data and their utilization for decision-making. Finally, a recommendation was made to address the gaps in terms of VAC measurement in humanitarian contexts, for children with disabilities, the most marginalized and deprived children, migrant and refugee children.
16.2.1 Proportion of children aged 1–17 years who experienced any physical punishment and/or psychological aggression by caregivers in the past month (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.2.2 Number of victims of human trafficking per 100,000 population, by sex, age and form of exploitation (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.2.3 Proportion of young women and men aged 18–29 years who experienced sexual violence by age 18 (IAEG Global Indicator)
A groundswell of support from the global community has occurred over the course of the last year, with increased advocacy for the commitments, financing, and data required to realize equal access to justice for all by 2030. This includes the launch of the Elders’ Access to Justice program,15 titled the Justice for All campaign,16as well as several lines of research on the state of justice. Also of note, the Task Force on Justice of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies has led the momentum for increased investment in improving access to justice.17 This momentum can also be seen in calls to use other official processes – such as the Open Government Partnership National Action Plans18 and the development of the Praia City Handbook on Governance Statistics19 – as opportunities for countries to make policy commitments and monitor their progress towards ensuring justice for all. At the national level, a growing number of countries have committed to conducting and analyzing legal needs surveys to better understand citizens’ justice problems and the obstacles they face to pursuing just resolutions.20
While encouraging, this momentum did not occur in a vacuum, but rather as a response to alarming levels of exclusion from justice. A justice gap assessment conducted by the World Justice Project (WJP) in collaboration with the Pathfinders Task Force on Justice (an initiative of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies), found that more than 5 billion people have at least one unmet justice need, with many confronted by multiple injustices.21 This figure includes people who cannot obtain a just resolution for everyday civil, administrative, or criminal justice problems; people who lack legal protections, such as legal identity documents, land or housing tenure, and formal work arrangements; and people who live in extreme conditions of injustice and are denied their most basic rights.
Similarly, data also confirm the need for greater legal protections, financing, and global advocacy for those working at the grassroots level to advance access to justice. Indeed, in the Global Legal Empowerment Network’s 2018 Annual Network Survey, 59 per cent of respondents reported that it is difficult or very difficult to carry out legal empowerment work in their context. 22 Additionally, 28 per cent of survey respondents reported that they operate on less than $20,000 annually, reiterating the fact that many legal empowerment organizations are small in size and work closely with grassroots communities.23
While the current state of rule of law and access to justice certainly makes a strong case for action and investment, it is also noteworthy that these issues are reflected in longer term trends. The WJP Rule of Law Index® 2019 found that more countries declined than improved in overall rule of law performance for the second year in a row, continuing a negative shift toward weaker rule of law around the world.24
When viewed by thematic rule of law factor, the second largest decline over the last year was seen in the area of criminal justice, with 61 per cent of countries’ performance declining in the last year, and 55 per cent declining over the course of the last four years, according to the same source.
On a more positive note, 58 per cent of countries improved in the area of civil justice in the last year, and 50 per cent improved in this area over the course of the last four years. This short-term upswing in performance is particularly noteworthy in light of the overall negative rule of law trends, perhaps reflecting the global momentum on the topic of civil justice, and underscoring the important role that advocacy has played in the last year.
Country coverage for the official IAEG global indicators for Goal 16.3 varies. While more than 70 countries have conducted crime victimization surveys, data for IAEG indicator 16.3.1 – the proportion of victims of violence who reported their victimization – is available for 52 countries, increasing from 37 countries in 2018. These data can be accessed through UNODC-INEGI’s Atlas of Victimization Surveys directory, though no consolidated database exists for this indicator yet. The National Institute for Statistics and Geography (INEGI) is an autonomous body within the Mexican government that generates demographic, social, economic, and environmental data, Data availability for IAEG indicator 16.3.2 – unsentenced detainees as a proportion of the overall prison population – with the coverage increasing from 204 countries, to 210 countries last year. Data for more than 80 countries is derived from the Institute for Criminal Policy Research’s World Prison Brief.26
As for the SDG16 Data Initiative’s complementary indicators for Target 16.3 – measuring the accessibility, affordability, impartiality, and effectiveness of civil justice systems (16.3.3) as well as the extent to which countries’ criminal justice systems are effective, impartial, and respect due process (16.3.4) – coverage has increased from 113 to 126 countries in the last year. These indicators are from the WJP Rule of Law Index, which relies on surveys of more than 120,000 households and 3,800 experts to measure access to justice as experienced by ordinary citizens. In the absence of better country coverage for indicator 16.3.1, and the lack of an official indicator on access to civil justice, these complementary indicators can provide a holistic view of countries’ progress in ensuring equal access to justice for all.
Since the adoption of the IAEG indicators for target 16.3, policy makers, researchers, and civil society alike have pointed out an important conceptual gap in these official indicators: neither capture access to civil justice. This is despite considerable evidence that a majority of people’s legal problems are civil in nature,27 and that the inability to resolve everyday legal problems diminishes individual participation in the economy, undermines social and physical wellbeing, and reinforces the poverty trap.28
In 2016, UN member states agreed that an indicator focused on access to civil justice should be considered to more meaningfully measure Target 16.3.29 Many governments have attempted to understand and address justice issues – both criminal and civil – by relying on administrative data, such as the amount of time required to resolve a case. While administrative data are helpful for producing indicators on formal justice institutions and processes, these indicators adopt a narrow view of justice and do not capture the experiences of people who seek justice through informal mechanisms, or who do not seek adjudication or mediation from official authorities. General population surveys are essential for collecting people-centered data on the frequency and range of justice issues.
Legal needs surveys provide a promising methodology for a potential 16.3 indicator on access to civil justice. Like crime victimization surveys – the methodology on which the official 16.3.1 indicator is based – legal needs surveys are designed to understand civil justice issues from the perspective of people rather than institutions, and can capture data on the diverse ways in which people navigate their legal problems. Furthermore, legal needs surveys are able to capture data on legal empowerment and legal capability – issues that underlie the ability to pursue a just resolution of everyday problems – as well as information on the extent to which people’s legal problems impact their social, economic, and physical well-being.
The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently released Legal Needs Surveys and Access to Justice, a methodological guidance document to assist policymakers, statisticians, and advocates seeking to use legal needs surveys to better monitor target 16.3 and strengthen measures of access to civil justice. Drawing on this methodological guidance, the WJP designed a survey module on legal needs and access to justice as part of its General Population Poll, which has been administered in more than 100 countries to date.30 The resulting global dataset provides important benchmarks for understanding public access to justice across a large number of countries, and the underlying methodology can serve as a model for governments seeking to monitor their progress under target 16.3.
Similar to the methodologies and datasets for complementary indicators 16.3 and 16.4 discussed above, legal needs surveys are vital for providing globally comparable data on access to justice using a methodology that has now been tested on a global scale. The people-centered approach of the non-official data discussed in this chapter allows policymakers to design policies that respond to people’s lived experience of justice.
The inclusion of target 16.3 in the SDGs served as an endorsement of the view that justice matters for the development agenda, and affirmed the commitment to “leave no one behind.” Additionally, adopting official indicators on criminal justice signaled to governments that they would be accountable for delivering results in this particular domain of justice. It is time to do the same for civil justice. The growing body of research and global data discussed in this chapter confirm that ensuring equal access to civil justice is vital to inclusive growth, and should therefore be incorporated into the SDG indicator framework as part of the IAEG’s 2020 comprehensive review.
It would not be enough, however, to include an indicator on civil justice in the SDG indicator framework that simply checks the box thematically. A new indicator must meaningfully measure the dimensions of civil justice that determine whether ordinary people can navigate their justice problems, such as their level of legal capability, access to appropriate sources of help, or ideally their ability to ultimately meet their legal needs. This cannot be meaningfully measured with administrative or institution-focused data alone. Fortunately, the methodological guidance for and existing global data from legal needs surveys discussed in this chapter demonstrate that it is possible to measure these key dimensions of access to civil justice from the perspective of ordinary people.
Governments, researchers, and advocates should voluntarily collect and use people-centered data on civil and criminal justice to monitor the implementation of SDG target 16.3, regardless of whether a meaningful civil justice indicator is ultimately added to the official SDG indicator framework. Collecting data and producing indicators on justice is not and end in and of itself, but rather a means of designing appropriate interventions that will actually deliver on the promise of target 16.3 to realize justice for all. The forthcoming Praia City Handbook on Governance Statistics will include a chapter on the conceptualization and measurement of civil and criminal justice, and can therefore serve as an important tool for doing just this.
Governments and donor agencies should continue to invest in scaling up data collection efforts on target 16.3 and access to justice. This includes investments to improve the quality and availability of both official and non-official sources of data, as well as investments to address the capacity gaps and methodological challenges that statistical agencies face when collecting and analyzing data on civil and criminal justice matters. With increased and continued investment in these areas, governments and donor agencies can send a strong message about the importance of meaningfully measuring and monitoring progress under target 16.3. This will be vital to designing and implementing policies that allow people to meet their justice needs, and advance the broader sustainable development agenda.
Last and perhaps most importantly, partnerships between governments and civil society are essential for designing meaningful justice indicators, strengthening the capacity of national statistical offices to collect this data, and using it to deliver results. The collaborative approach used to inform the Legal Needs Surveys and Access to Justice guidance document and forthcoming Praia City Handbook on Governance Statistics provides a noteworthy example of justice measurement experts from government, civil society, and academia working together to promote best practices from a methodological point of view. This type of collaboration need not end here, and should be incorporated into continued efforts to collect, communicate, and use data as a tool for delivering equal access to justice for all.
16.3.1 Proportion of victims of violence in the previous 12 months who reported their victimization to competent authorities or other officially recognized conflict resolution mechanisms (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.3.2 Unsentenced detainees as a proportion of overall prison population (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.3.3 16.3.3 The accessibility, affordability,impartiality, and effectiveness of civil justice systems (Complementary Global Indicator)
16.3.4 Whether justice systems are capable of investigating and adjudicating criminal offenses successfully through an impartial system that protects the rights of both victims and the accused (Complementary Global Indicator)
As a result of the lack of comprehensive data on arms trafficking, there is no agreement on the scope of global illicit arms flows. However, according to the national reports on the implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UN PoA), at the global level in 2017: 32,733 small arms and light weapons have been seized, 104,260 have been surrendered and 652 have been found.31 Nonetheless, these numbers are estimates and should be used with care as they reflect only the states that voluntarily submitted a report in a consistent template. It must also be noted that not all national reports submitted contained the data outlined above.32
According to the Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer (Barometer), by the Small Arms Survey, the level of transparency of the global small arms trade is estimated as 12.35 out of a 25-point scale.33 Export authorizations remain the opaquest dimension of small arms reporting. Among the top small arms exporters, 47 per cent and 63 per cent did not report on licenses granted or denied, respectively. This information on arms trade transparency helps assess a state’s record-keeping practices with respect to arms transfers. Transparency in the authorized trade is an important practice for preventing and detecting the diversion of arms into the illicit market.
According to research and advocacy NGO Global Financial Integrity (GFI),34 trade related illicit financial flows (IFFs) continue to be significant and persistent in trade between developing countries and advanced economies. Based on the two data sources used by the GFI, a total value of IFFs (inflows and outflows) in 2015 amounts to 1,532 billion dollars on average. Further, the study finds that over the period between 2006 and 2015, IFFs accounted for over 20 per cent of developing country trade, on average, with a nearly even split between outflows and inflows.
The lack of available data regarding the indicator 16.4.2 makes it difficult to identify trends. As for the Transparency Barometer, the 2018 version serves as a new baseline for upcoming trends since its scoring guidelines have been revised to include the Arms Trade Treaty’s (ATT) initial and annual reports as well as national reports on the implementation of UN PoA. These reports give additional information on the national transfer control systems and reporting practices by transparent exporters.35
GFI’s report released in January 2019 analyses data from 2006 to 2015 in relation to IFFs (outflows and inflows). Estimated potential illicit flows in and out of the developing world amounted to magnitudes within 20 to 30 per cent of total developing country trade, on average, over the ten years between 2006 and 2015. This numerical figure indicates the magnitude of the problem and the failure of the world in tackling the issue.
In response to the absence of systematic data collection for indicator 16.4.2, initiatives have been undertaken to gather more and better information. The revised template of the 2018 UN PoA national report includes questions on seized, found, and surrendered small arms and light weapons. In 2018, the UNODC introduced the Illicit Arms Flows Questionnaire, a data collection tool for states, the purpose of which is to operationalize indicator 16.4.2, by identifying and monitoring illicit firearms trafficking. These new encouraging developments will hopefully boost a series of systematic collection of data.
The Transparency Barometer has identified a total of 49 major exporters of small arms across Europe (51 per cent), Asia (33 per cent), the Americas (12 per cent), Africa (2 per cent) and Oceania (2 per cent). The vast majority provide information on at least some of their trade in conventional weapons to the UN Register on Conventional Weapons (UN Register) and to UN Comtrade, which can include data on small arms and light weapons. Only 29 of these small arms exporters, however, release publicly accessible national reports on arms exports. Out of the 49 major exporters, four did not submit a UN PoA report in 2014 and 2016, while all ATT state parties under review submitted an initial (2015-2016) and annual ATT report (2016), covering their 2015 trade activities.36
There is no officially declared methodology to capture the value of illicit financial flows as targeted in the official UN indicators. The currently available data is calculated by GFI, based on the country-level estimation of illicit flows of money into and out of 148 developing and emerging market nations as a result of their trade in goods with advanced economies, as classified by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In addition to the data from the IMF, the most recent report by the GFI uses data published by the UN on the same subject.37
Non-official data regarding illicit arms flows, such as data on prices of firearms in illicit markets combined with an analysis of local demand factors, by the media, academic research, or civil society groups such as the Small Arms Survey and Conflict Armament Research (CAR) can complement official data.38 Because they are not focused on seizures, such data add a new dimension to the monitoring of illicit arms flows.
At present, non-official data is the only source available to measure the IFFs. Given the challenges in calculating precise IFFs, the currently available data is calculated based on trade misinvoicing in developing countries with advanced economies. IFFs are defined as money that is illegally earned, used, or moved, and which crosses an international border. Trade misinvoicing is a method of moving IFFs, and includes the deliberate misrepresentation of the value of imports or exports in order to evade customs duties and Value Added Tax (VAT), with the goal of, laundering the proceeds of criminal activity, or to hide the proceeds of legitimate trade transactions offshore, among other motivations.
The data deficiency on arms trafficking has led to the absence of a consensus on the magnitude of the international illicit arms trade. By only focusing on seized weapons, indicator 16.4.2 only partially accounts for the illicit arms flows. Moreover, not all seized weapons are trafficked weapons, as some may be associated with administrative violations and crimes. Even though non-official data often derive from case studies and thus give a snapshot of the situation rather than a systematic monitoring, they can provide additional information on illicit arms markets. Methodologies used to collect non-official data include field observation through interviews with individuals, non-state groups involved in the weapons trafficking, and authorities, as well as the documentation of illicit material.
The data collected by GFI is calculated based on two data sources: 1. Deliberate mis-invoicing of the goods traded based on the IMF’s Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS). 2. The value and volume of bilateral trade at the commodity level presented in the Comtrade database maintained by the UN.
• Official and non-official data should be combined to have a comprehensive view of illicit arms flows.
• Other proxy indicators by civil society organization for monitoring illicit arms flows should be considered in the monitoring and implementation of Target 16.4.
• Governments should establish public registries of verified beneficial ownership information on all legal entities, and all banks should know the true beneficial owner(s) of any account in their financial institution.
• Government authorities should adopt and fully implement all of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) anti-money laundering recommendations; laws already in place should be strongly enforced.
• Governments should sign on to the Addis Tax Initiative to further support efforts to curb IFFs as a key component of the development agenda.
• Policymakers should require multinational companies to publicly disclose their revenues, profits, losses, sales, taxes paid, subsidiaries, and staff levels on a country-by-country basis.
• All countries should actively participate in the worldwide movement towards automatic exchange of tax information as endorsed by the OECD and the G20.
16.4.1 Total value of inward and outward illicit financial flows in current United States dollars (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.4.2 Proportion of seized, found or surrendered arms whose illicit origin or context has been traced or established by a competent authority in line with international instruments (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.4.3 Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer scores (Complementary Global Indicator) system that protects the rights of both victims and the accused (Complementary Global Indicator)
Data on the state of corruption indicates that, despite some progress, most countries are failing to make serious inroads against corruption. Transparency International’s annual corruption perception index (CPI) ranks countries based on perceived levels of corruption in the public sector according to the views of experts and business executives. The index uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is “clean.” According to the 2018 CPI,39 more than two thirds of countries in the world score below 50, with an average score of just 43. Regionally, Western Europe and the European Union score highest with an average of 66 out of 100. Sub-Saharan Africa scores the lowest with an average of 32 out of 100. This year, analysis of the CPI score further indicates a disturbing link between corruption and the health of democracies; countries with higher rates of corruption also have weaker democratic institutions and civil and political rights.
Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) of surveys peoples’ experience and perceptions of corruption around the world. In compiling the 2017 GCB report40 in Asia Pacific, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East, citizens were asked whether they had paid a bribe, given a gift or had done a favor to access six different public services41 in the 12 months prior to when the survey took place. In Europe and Central Asia,42 respondents were asked whether their household had made an unofficial payment or gift for any of eight different public services.
Globally, nearly one in four people reported paying a bribe when accessing public services in the 12 months prior to when the survey took place. Further, 57 per cent of the people in the surveyed countries said that their governments are doing badly in tackling corruption. When asked to identify which institutions were the most corrupt, 36 per cent of respondents selected the police and elected officials, who tied for the position of most corrupt, as compared to seven other groups or institutions included in the survey. This corroborates people’s view on their governments’ inadequacies in tackling corruption. However, many people around the world, particularly young people, still agree that citizens can make a difference in the fight against corruption --one positive finding despite other troubling trends.
The results of the CPI can be compared over time from 2012 onwards. The global average has remained consistent at 43 every year since that date, suggesting an overall stagnation in the fight against corruption. Also of concern, the analysis of the overall trends by country reveals a number of countries which have statistically significantly declined in their CPI score over time, including Syria, Turkey, Hungary, Mexico, Malta, and Australia. However, some countries have been able to make positive efforts in addressing corruption risks in their country. The United Kingdom, Senegal, Gambia, Greece, and Italy are examples of countries which have seen their CPI score improve over time.
For indicator 16.5.1, comparison of the regional results from the GCB 2017 found that on average the citizen bribery rate in the European Union was the lowest (nine per cent), while the Commonwealth of Independent States in Eurasia, and the Middle East, and North Africa region had the highest average bribery rate of 30 per cent. Latin America and Caribbean region and the Asia Pacific region both also scored similarly with an average bribery rate of 29 and 28 per cent respectively. Countries seeking to join the EU and the Sub-Saharan African region have similar average bribery rates,20 and 23 per cent respectively.
Within the different regions, there is a large variation in bribery rates on a national level, with some countries faring much worse, or much better, than the regional average. Places with very low bribery rates were found in the Asia Pacific region, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and the EU.
Efforts to measure the prevalence of corruption include both direct and indirect methods. Direct forms of measurement include sample surveys and administrative data (such as official data on reported cases of corruption), while indirect methods can comprise of composite indices and expert assessments. These assessments can either ask experience-based questions (such as whether the respondent paid or was asked to pay a bribe), or can focus on the perceived levels of corruption or bribery in the country. The latter is regardless of whether the respondent personally paid or was asked to pay a bribe.
Official statistics on the reported level of corruption can have limited use in the context of monitoring progress in reducing corruption, given that official reporting can vary due to factors such as cultural context or the effectiveness of law and order institutions. Sample surveys have been identified as a reliable data collection method for monitoring progress on 16.5.1 and 16.5.2.
The official indicators for target 16.5 are categorized as Tier II indicators, which means that the indicators are “conceptually clear, [have] an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.”43 The UNODC has been designated as the custodian of indicator 16.5.1 and (together with the World Bank) is also the custodian of 16.5.2
In 2018, the UNODC and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) published a manual detailing the methodological guidelines for measuring bribery (both citizen level bribery and bribes paid by business executives).44 The manual seeks to provide a standardized approach for collecting survey data to support SDG 16.5.1 and 16.5.2, which is vitally important if comparisons between country bribery rates are to be made.
To date, some national governments have conducted general population surveys via their national statistics offices to assess the prevalence of corruption. However, there is currently no official global data collection effort.45
Non-official data can provide useful evidence for monitoring 16.5, while the availability of official data remains limited. For 16.5.1, the 2017 GCB, which is a citizen sample survey, covers 119 countries and territories from all regions of the world. The GCB 2017 is based on interviews with 162,136 adults from March 2014 until January 2017. The GCB provides global overview and analysis of bribery victimization in accessing public services.
When official data aggregating incidents of corruption taken up by each country’s judicial system become available globally, this will also provide a strong supplementary analysis to data on global bribery trends, both of which will be useful for informing policy-making and investment in anti-corruption efforts.
For 16.5.2, the World Bank Enterprise Surveys are widely considered to be the largest available surveys of businesses asking about experiences with bribery and corruption. The economic sectors targeted by the survey include manufacturing; construction; wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; hotels and restaurants; transport; storage and communications; and computer and related activities. Small, medium, and large companies are included. One drawback with the existing data is the exclusion of the informal sector from the sampling frame.46
Transparency International’s 2018 CPI scores indicate how a country performs in tackling public sector corruption over time and in comparison to other countries around the world. The CPI is compiled based on 13 data sources capturing perceptions of experts and the private sector about public sector corruption. Each country must have at least three data sources in order to be included in the ranking. CPI is the world’s only annual composite index which gauges how a country performs in tackling its public sector corruption over time. So far, it is also the only available dataset to measure overall progress towards the 16.5 target at the global level (while sources such as the Gallup World Poll have also collected this data in the past). While a number of the underlying data sources that go into the CPI calculation contain questions regarding bribery, it is not possible to say exactly how much of the score for each country is informed by the level of bribery in said country. For that reason, the CPI goes beyond the official indicators that only consider bribery, but at the same time, it does not replace them.
In that regard, the GCB complements the CPI by providing data on the experience of citizens with bribery. It is the largest survey corruption survey in the world. The GCB is mostly conceptually and methodologically aligned with the official indicator 16.5.1. However, the wording currently does not capture whether people were asked for a bribe but did not pay, which is an aspect of indicator 16.5.1. In addition, the GCB’s global data collection cycle is every three to four years, rather than the preferred yearly frequency. Changes to the questionnaire wording in previous editions also limit the ability to track changes over time. Future surveys are anticipated to use consistent wording to be able to track how bribery results rise or fall.
The added value of the GCB is that this data is not captured, as of yet, by most countries in the world. Furthermore, even if this data were to be collected by national governments, the GCB provides an additional layer of independence since it is administered by a civil society organization, rather than a government agency. In addition to surveying respondents about bribery, the GCB also asks questions related to citizen perception, citizen-led action to fight corruption, as well as reporting mechanisms, along with various regionally topical questions. This range leads to a wide breadth of data in excess of that which is strictly required for indicator 16.5.1 monitoring.
For other examples of non-official citizen corruption surveys see UNODC, UNDP and the UNODC-INEGI Center of Excellence in Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice, Manual on Corruption Surveys.47
• Implement a global, comparative survey effort using the same questionnaire and same methodology, for example using the UNODC’s Manual on Corruption Surveys, as a reference.
• Use existing non-official data as a baseline for countries in which official data does not exist.
• Fund organizations who are conducting research that can be used as non-official data for measuring progress for 16.5.1 and 16.5.2.
16.5.1 Proportion of persons who has at least one contact with a public official and who paid a bribe to a public official, or were asked for a bribe by those public officials, during the previous 12 months.(IAEG Global Indicator)
16.5.2 Proportion of businesses that had at least one contact with a public official and that paid a bribe to a public official, or were asked for a bribe by those public officials during the previous 12 months (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.5.3 Corruption Perception Index score (Complementary Global Indicator)
Per the official metadata, there is no data yet for the official indicator 16.6.2, the proportion of the population satisfied with their last experience of public services. However, for 16.6.1, Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) has data for 88 of 163 countries, with 59 countries having at least two data points since 2005. There are 24 countries that received the highest score of one, indicating expenditure within five per cent of the budgeted target. While, 19 countries received the worst possible score of four. Since 2005, 21 countries improved, 23 worsened and 44 remained unchanged.48
Based on its Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Indices,49 International IDEA provides a multidimensional measurement of democracy at the global, regional, sub-regional and country level. The GSoD attribute of Impartial Administration and the subattributes of Civil Society Participation and Local Democracy can complement measurement of SDG 16.6. The GSoD attribute of Impartial Administration measures the extent to which the exercise of public authority is free from corruption, as well as the predictability of the enforcement of public authority. Indicators on corruption, executive embezzlement and theft, the level of transparency of laws with predictable enforcement, as well as bureaucratic quality are aggregated for this measurement.
The Local Democracy subattribute measures the extent to which subnational elections are conducted in a free and fair manner. Lastly, the Civil Society Participation subattribute examines the level of involvement of people in CSOs, as well as the extent to which these entities are consulted in policy decisions. The measurement of these GSoD aspects in turn provides complementary data to SDG 16, more specifically in this instance to Target 16.6.
As can be surmised from the above three charts, the data provide a regional comparison on these three GSoD aspects from 1975 to 2018.
For indicator 16.6.2, 41 countries received a score of “good,” meaning that the average level of satisfaction for both education and healthcare was over 70 per cent, whereas only 19 countries received a score of “poor” indicating a score below 40 per cent. The trend analysis shows that 48 per cent of the countries improved their populations-reported level of satisfaction with public services, whereas 47 per cent of countries worsened.50
Since the commencement of measurements on the 2030 UN Agenda, the GSoD data shows that in all three of the above aspects, North America and Europe have traditionally performed better than the rest of the world, scoring between around 0.6 and just over 0.8 in the 0 to 1 scale. In the last few years, however, and particularly since 2015, North America has experienced a sudden decline on Impartial Administration and Local Democracy. This is largely due to a slight but significant decline by the US on this attribute. On Impartial Administration, all the other regions score between 0.3 and 0.5, with little significant difference between them.
On Civil Society Participation, Africa, Latin America, and Asia and the Pacific show a similar performance, while the Middle East and Iran score considerably lower, at 0.4 at the end of 2017. In the last decade, statistically significant increases were registered only in countries in Africa and Asia and the Pacific. The largest increases were in The Gambia, Libya, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Tunisia, all attributable to varying levels of civil society development. The declines were much more evenly spread; countries from every region, apart from North America, had declining scores on Civil Society Participation. The countries with the largest decreases were Bahrain, Brazil, India, Thailand, and Turkey.
On Local Democracy, Latin America performs similarly to Europe, while there is a clear gap between them and the other regions, most notably the Middle East and Iran. Increases were registered in North America, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific, but either stagnation or decline were noted in all other regions.
16.6.1 PEFA looks at whether actual government expenditure matches planned government budget expenditure, using a one to four scoring system. The closer a country is to matching actual budgeted spending, the better the score. If a country is within five per cent of either deficit or surplus, it receives a score of one. If a country misses its budget targets by more than 15 per cent, it receives the worst possible score of four. This is not an official indicator source and does not allow for expenditure to be disaggregated by sector at this stage.
16.6.1 International IDEA provides complementary data to this specific SDG 16 indicator by measuring the subattribute of Absence of Corruption, based on the following assessment question: to what extent is the exercise of public authority free fom corruption? This question is based on the following indicators:
16.6.2 The complementary data provided by International IDEA relates to subattributes on Civil Society Participation and Local Elections respectively. The following assessment questions are posed to extract data on the above: To what extent do people participate in civil society organizations? To what extent are there freely elected, influential local governments? The questions are based on the following indicators:
Non-official data of International IDEA provides a quantitative tool for measuring democracy on the country, regional, and global level, using a multi-dimensional conceptual framework that rests on the organization’s definition of democracy, which centers on themes of popular control and political equality. On issues that are sensitive for many governments, such as those covered in target 16.6, it is particularly important to have non-government sources to validate findings. Additionally, as the target relates specifically to people’s satisfaction with their government, non-official data can lend greater legitimacy to the conclusions.
International IDEA’s GSoD Indices are a quantitative tool for measuring the multi-faceted evolution of democracy both globally and regionally over time. They capture trends at the global, regional, and national levels based on International IDEA’s definition of democracy.52 The conceptual framework underpinning the Indices translates this definition—that emphasizes popular control over public decision-making and decision-makers, and equality between citizens in the exercise of that control—into five main democracy attributes that contain 16 subattributes and 97 indicators.
The conceptual framework aims to be universally applicable and compatible with different institutional arrangements. Using this broad understanding of democracy, the GSoD Indices do not provide a single overarching democracy index with a single score for each country. This approach differentiates the GSoD Indices from several other democracy measurement methodologies, and offers a less abstract form of democracy measurement, allowing policymakers and practitioners to use the GSoD Indices to inform policy decisions on political and social developments through an analysis of global and regional democracy trends.
In addition, compared to some other democracy measurements, the GSoD Indices are distinguished by their relatively high degree of coverage in terms of years covered (since 1975, with annual updates) and number of countries included (158); the incorporation and use of different data sources; and the availability of uncertainty estimates for users, which allows them to assess whether differences in scores are statistically significant.53
NSOs should consider adopting the innovative methods, the data, and the resources that are put forward by international, inter-governmental and civil society organizations. Their approach and expertise might often divulge information, for instance, on the proportion of the population satisfied with their last experience of public services (16.6.2), which would otherwise go amiss.
UN custodial agencies should work more closely with international, inter-governmental and civil society organizations in exploring innovative datasets that may complement the UN Agenda.
16.6.1 Primary government expenditures as a proportion of original approved budget, by sector (or by budget code or similar) (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.6.2 Proportion of the population satisfied with their last experience of public services (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.6.3 Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance (Complementary Global Indicator)
Based on its Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Indices,54 International IDEA provides a multi-dimensional measurement of democracy at the global, regional, sub-regional and country levels, which emanates out of the definition of democracy as popular control over decision-making and political equality in the exercise of that control, as stipulated by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).55 Three attributes of the GSoD framework help to track progress on SDG 16.7: Representative Government, Checks on Government, and Participatory Engagement. Data on Representative Government measures the extent to which access to political power is free and equal, and places emphasis on contested and inclusive popular elections for legislative and elected (both directly or indirectly) executive office. It is aggregated by measuring subattributes on Clean Elections, Inclusive Suffrage, Free Political Parties, and Elected Government. Data on Checks on Government help measure effective control of executive power and is aggregated by measurements on the subattributes of Effective Parliament, Judicial Independence, and Media Integrity.
The attribute of Participatory Engagement measures citizen engagement in formal political processes (in national and local elections and through instruments of direct democracy) and more informal processes (citizen involvement in CSO), providing indicators on the overall civil society participatory environment. This attribute consists of four subattributes (which are themselves not aggregated): Civil Society Participation, Electoral Participation, Direct Democracy, and Local Democracy. The measurement of these GSoD aspects in turn provides complementary data to SDG 16, and more specifically to Target 16.7 As can be surmised from the below charts, the data provides a global comparison of regional performance on these three GSoD aspects from 1975 to 2018.
The findings and over-time trends on the GSoD’s aspects of democracy are confirmed by the data originating from the World Values Survey (WVS). Replicated every five years, the WVS provides data for over 115 countries with over 200 indicators being relevant as supplementary measures for SDGs monitoring, including SDG 16.7. The main method used by the WVS consists of a nation-wide population survey using a representative sample of adult population. All WVS data can be disaggregated by sex, age, and population group.
Over-time monitoring of civil society participation conducted by the WV S suggests there is significant cross-regional variation in all forms of participation with both conventional and unconventional participation rates being higher in Western Europe, Australia, the US, and Latin America, and essentially lower in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Post-Soviet Eurasia.
By examining the time frame since the commencement of measurements on the 2030 UN Agenda, the GSoD data for Representative Government shows that North America and Europe have traditionally performed better than other regions, with their performance oscillating between 0.6 to 0.8 in a zero to one scale. However, in the last three to four years, a decline (albeit not yet statistically significant) can be discerned in both regions, which is evidence of deterioration in the performance of democratic indicators in countries such as the USA, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, etc. Europe is followed closely by the performance of Latin America and the Caribbean (just over 0.6). These regions differ significantly from the democratic developments in Africa, and Asia and the Pacific, both of which score just over 0.4 by the end of 2017. The Middle East has traditionally had the lowest performance in Representative Government, with further slight deteriorations experienced at the end of 2017, represented by a score of just over 0.2.
On Checks on Government, North America and Europe have traditionally been the best performing regions, moving between over 0.6 to over 0.7 scales. However, both regions have experienced recent declines, with significant declines in countries such as Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and the US. This places downward pressure on the regional trendline. Latin America and the Caribbean score close to 0.6, while both Africa and Asia and the Pacific score at 0.5. The Middle East lags on Checks of Government, with just over 0.3. The Gambia, Mali, and Nepal have significantly improved their Checks on Government since 2012, whereas Burundi, Poland, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, and Yemen have seen a significant decline in this period.
As regards Participatory Engagement, on the first related subattribute – Civil Society Participation - Africa, Latin America, and Asia and the Pacific show a similar performance, while the Middle East scores considerably lower, at 0.4 at the end of 2017. In the last decade, statistically significant increases were registered only in countries in Africa and Asia and the Pacific. The largest increases were in The Gambia, Libya, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Tunisia, all derived from varying levels of civil society development. The declines were much more evenly spread.
Countries from every region apart from North America had declining scores on Civil Society Participation. The countries with the largest decreases were Bahrain, Brazil, India, Thailand, and Turkey. On Local Democracy, Latin America performs similarly to Europe, and both perform vastly better than other regions, most notably the Middle East and Iran. Increases were registered in North America, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific, but either stagnation or decline were noted in all other regions. On Electoral Participation (voter turnout), there was either stability or a slight, statistically insignificant decline in all regions, except for the Middle East, which saw a notable increase. On Direct Democracy, there was a statistically insignificant increase in Asia and the Pacific, and either stagnation or declines registered in other regions. Since 2012, the largest increases in Electoral Participation occurred in Guinea-Bissau and Madagascar, while the largest decrease was registered in the Republic of Congo. While Bulgaria’s performance on Direct Democracy increased the most since 2012, Slovenia and Venezuela faced the largest declines in this period.
16.7.1 - International IDEA provides complementary data to this specific SDG 16 indicator by measuring the attribute on Representative Government. The data herewith is aggregated by subattributes on Clean Elections (To what extent are elections free from irregularities?), Inclusive Suffrage (To what extent do all adult citizens have voting rights?), Free Political Parties (To what extent are political parties free to form and campaign for office?), and Elected Government (To what extent is access to government determined by elections?). The assessment questions are based on the following indicators:
The WVS provides complementary data to monitor SDG indicator 16.7.1, including its aspects and dimensions related to voting rights and participation in elections; free and fair elections; competitive elections; multiparty elections; media coverage of elections; corruption and bribery in elections; gender equality in elections; importance of honest elections; electoral integrity.
16.7.2 - International IDEA provides complementary data to this specific SDG 16 indicator by measuring the attributes on Checks on Government and on Participatory Engagement. Data on Checks on Government is aggregated by subattributes on Effective Parliament (To what extent does parliament oversee the executive?), Judicial Independence (To what extent are the courts independent?), and Media Integrity (To what extent are there diverse, critical media?). Data on Participatory Engagement rests on four subattributes: Civil Society Participation (To what extent do people participate in civil society organizations?), Electoral Participation (To what extent do people participate in national elections?), Direct Democracy (To what extent are mechanisms of direct democracy available and used?), and Local Democracy (To what extent are there freely elected, influential local governments?) All of the above assessment questions are based on the following indicators:
The WVS provides complementary data to monitor SDG indicator 16.7.2, such as representative government as perceived democraticness; satisfaction with democracy; confidence in government, parliament, political parties, judiciary, media; political participation; civic activity. In 2018-2020, the WVS is contributing to the pilot of the proposed official 16.7.2 indicator. The pilot is organized under the leadership of UNDP, custodian agency for this indicator, and the Oslo Governance Center. The pilot results have proven to be successful with the indicator’s reclassification from tier 3 into tier 2 in March 2019. The proposed indicator refers to external efficacy or system responsiveness, that is, the respondent’s belief that politicians and institutions take into account opinions of ordinary citizens in their actions and decisions. The indicator reflects respondent’s answers to the question “How much would you say the political system in your country allows people like you to have a say in what the government does?” A five-point scale is used to measure perceptions of inclusive and responsive decision-making (a great deal, a lot, some, very little, not at all).
Non-official data of International IDEA provides a quantitative tool for measuring democracy on the country, regional and global level, using a multi-dimensional conceptual framework that rests on the organization’s definition of democracy, which emphasizes popular control over public decision-making and decision-makers, and equality between citizens in the exercise of that control. International IDEA produces the GSoD report biennially (first one published in Nov 2017, and the second one due in Nov 2019), with analysis on the indices that provide measurement on democracy at country, regional and global level. In addition, International IDEA publishes regular In Focus briefings on particular themes (corruption, SDGs, freedom of the press etc.) providing much more nuanced analysis on the topic at hand.
The conceptual framework underpinning IDEA’s GSoD Indices translates its definition of democracy into five main democracy attributes that contain 16 subattributes and 97 indicators. The indices are meant to be used by policy-makers and civil society as primary boundary partners, but also other regional organizations and academia.
The conceptual framework aims to be universally applicable and compatible with different institutional arrangements. Using this broad understanding of democracy, the GSoD Indices do not provide a single overarching democracy index with a single score for each country.
This approach differentiates the GSoD Indices from several other democracy measurement methodologies, and offers a less abstract form of democracy measurement, allowing policymakers and practitioners to use the GSoD Indices to inform policy decisions on political and social developments through an analysis of global and regional democracy trends.
In addition, compared to some other democracy measurements, the GSoD Indices are distinguished by their relatively high degree of coverage in terms of years covered (since 1975, with annual updates) and number of countries included (158); the incorporation and use of different data sources; and the availability of uncertainty estimates for users, which allows them to assess whether differences in scores are statistically significant.56
NSOs should consider adopting the innovative methods, the data, and the resources that are put forward by international, inter-governmental and civil society organizations. Their approach and expertise might often divulge information, for instance, on the proportion of the population satisfied with their last experience of public services (16.6.2), which would otherwise go amiss.
UN custodial agencies should work more closely with international, inter-governmental and civil society organizations in exploring innovative datasets that may complement the UN Agenda.
16.7.1 Proportions of positions (by sex, age, persons with disabilities and population groups) in public institutions (national and local legislatures, public service, and judiciary) compared to national distributions (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.7.2 Proportion of population who believe decision-making is inclusive and responsive, by sex, age, disability and population group (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.7.3 Percentage of seats held by women in parliament (lower house) (Complementary Global Indicator)
16.7.4 Power distributed by social group (Complementary Global Indicator)
There is still a long way to go in strengthening and broadening the participation of developing countries in the governance of international organizations. This indicator is calculated independently for eleven different international organizations: The UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, the UN Economic and Social Council, the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the Financial Stability Board.
The UN M49 statistical standard classifies 145 of the 193 UN member states as ‘developing countries.’57 They comprise 75 per cent of the UN General Assembly with even representation at one vote per state. China is the only developing country occupying one of the five permanent seats on the UN Security Council, although developing nations hold a 60 per cent majority within the remaining ten non-permanent seats. However, the “one member one vote” system is far from universal, and several of the organizations measured in this indicator use a so called “one-dollar-one-vote” system.58 For example, developing countries hold 37 per cent of the voting rights in the International Monetary Fund despite constituting 76 per cent of the membership of the institution.
Across the majority of institutions covered under this indicator, the proportion of developing country members has remained nearly constant since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in 2015. The UN Security Council is an outlier though, as the small size of the Council and its annual change in membership creates more variation in the proportion of developing countries represented, making it difficult to identify clear trends.
However, across many of the institutions’ histories there are trends toward increased membership of developing countries. For example, the World Trade Organization (WTO) membership has grown from 23 signatories in 1948 to 164 members as of July 29, 2016 when Afghanistan became the 164th member. Developing countries now account for over 70 per cent of the membership of WTO, increasing their collective ability to influence the decision-making process. The IMF has been adding more members in the past decade, including the Small Island Developing States of Nauru and Tuvalu and the relatively new state of South Sudan.
UNStats currently includes complete data for indicator 16.8.1 on their dissemination platform of the Global SDG Indicators Database. Official indicator data is collected and compiled by the Financing for Development Office, DESA (FFDO). Data on membership and voting rights is available through the UN General Assembly website; Report of the UN Security Council; Report of the UN Economic and Social Council, Report of the International Monetary Fund; International Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Management’s Discussion & Analysis and Financial Statements; the International Finance Corporation’s Annual Report; the African Development Bank’s Annual Report; the Asian Development Bank’s Annual Report; the Inter-American Development Bank’s Annual Report; the World Trade Organization’s Annual Report; Charters of the Financial Stability Board.
While there is complete data coverage available to monitor the official indicator, the indicator fails to accurately measure the influence developing countries have within international organizations. Non-official data could provide a better understanding of the influence developing countries yield. For example, if developing countries were to function as a bloc within the IMF, they could not wield a majority. Furthermore, IMF decisions that require an 85 per cent majority can be vetoed by the US as it has 16.52 per cent voting share. Therefore, developing countries have fundamentally less formal power within the IMF.
Additionally, consensus based international organizations such as the WTO, where developing countries hold a majority, are still not a source of significant power for these countries.59 Consensus based decision-making often pressures weaker countries to acquiesce, as they may face retribution from more powerful countries. In such situations, developing countries must act as a coalition. However, more developed countries often hold significant power unilaterally to pressure for their preferred outcomes.
Regular and comprehensive studies of the participation and impact of developing countries on international organizations could provide a better understanding of the current state of their influence and which, if any, reforms may be needed to broaden and strengthen their influence.
A comprehensive study of the influence of developing countries in international organizations could include a qualitative study of the impact of developing countries within the 11 international organizations. From a quantitative perspective, information on developing countries’ membership in various groups and committees within international organizations, and data on the number of nationals from each country in the organization’s staff and leadership or executive positions could also be seen as an indicator of the significance or weight of developing country involvement in international organizations. Such a study could address the conceptual gap between the target’s aim of strengthening and broadening the participation of developing countries in institutions of global governance on the one hand, and the limited indicator on the proportion of members and voting rights of developing countries on the other.
• Conduct comprehensive studies of influence of developing countries in international organizations, including recommendations for reform every five years.
• Report the number of developing countries membership in various groups and committeeswithin international organizations.
• Report the number of nationals from each country in relevant international organization’s staff and leadership or executive positions.
16.8.1 Proportion of members and voting rights of developing countries in international organizations (IAEG Global Indicator)
According to the World Bank’s Identification for Development global dataset, roughly 1.1 billion people lack any form of officially recognized identification, analogue or digital.60 Without an official identification, they are often unable to access critical services including healthcare and education. Still more are forced to operate outside the formal economy. Without accurate and detailed population data, governments and humanitarian and development organizations cannot optimize service targeting and delivery, worsening the status of those without official identification.
SDG 16.9 mandates the provision of legal identity for all. Though the global identity gap remains wide, efforts to close the gap are accelerating, led by a diverse cluster of actors. Since 2016, the number of people without any form of recognized ID has fallen significantly.
This trend, combined with the gradual transition from analog to digital identification management systems, has been responsible for an explosion in the collection of identity data. More data, however, does not equate to more accurate insights.
A lack of coordination among actors, coupled with coarse data, has limited the reach of efforts seeking to close the global identity gap. Many efforts to collect identity data are siloed. Most datasets focus on use-cases such as birth registration, land titling, and financial inclusion. These reports are collected by a wide variety of actors, which tend to operate independently, with few mechanisms for collaboration and frameworks for data sharing. Existing source data are often many years old, and, in some cases, refer only to a portion of a country. Few datasets consider cross-border use-cases, limiting the potential for insights on certain marginalized groups like refugees and migrants.
Furthermore, though a number of notable global datasets exist, few offer tools for the disaggregation of data across categories including gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and the like. Fewer still offer insights on those without any form of official identification. Though datasets like that of the World Bank offer a useful mechanism for comparing civil registration and identification practices in 198 countries, no existing dataset offers the breadth and depth necessary to effectuate comprehensive policy. There is an increased need for global coordination toward the responsible collection of identity data, in order to better understand, and eventually close, the global identity gap.
An interest in wide and granular identity data is shared across several sectors. These data are particularly relevant to international organizations working in countries with low civil registration and vital statistics coverage rates. Properly leveraged accurate data can dramatically improve service targeting, delivery, monitoring, and evaluation.
As previously mentioned, most identity data collected by international organizations, is stored in data silos. For example: UNHCR’s proGres, currently in the midst of a transition from a local data store (with over 500 databases globally with all data stored in country) to a centralized cloud architecture; WFP’s SCOPE, which currently houses the data of over 20 million aid recipients, is being licensed to other NGOs; IOM’s Personal Identification and Registration System (PIRS), which holds beneficiary data for each of the organization’s country operations; and World Vision’s Last Mile Mobile Solution, which is used by more than 20 NGOs across 29 countries, where it houses the data of more than 8 million beneficiaries.
Each of these organizations, as well as others, have affirmed the importance of broad and accurate identity data toward closing the global identity gap. However, there remains no agreed upon definition of legal identity (or digital identity for that matter). Establishing multi-sectoral coordination towards resolving the global identity gap is vital to the 1.1 billion currently lacking officially recognized identification.
Legal identity is essentially the agglomeration of a variety of identity data. Though currently siloed, identity data does exist in a number of traditional and non-traditional sources, making it possible to surmount existing data limitations and effect better policy. By systematizing individual identity data into privacy-protecting, user-managed digital identity, the global community can move towards closing the identity gap.
Identity in the digital age is characterized by fragmentation. Personal data, defined by the GDPR as “[...] any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person,” is highly siloed— stored across a number of different servers. Fragmentation unseats the individual, empowering institutions to control access to services. Aggregating digital identifiers into meta-systems, or digital identities, can address some of these challenges. By enabling individuals to prove who they are, digital identity can expand access to critical service. The use of emerging and established technologies, like distributed ledger technology and biometry, can aid in this process, bolstering verification and authentication processes. Digital identities, in short, have the capacity to dramatically improve lives.
And yet, just as identity in the digital age has the capacity to improve lives, it also poses great danger. Digital identity, if implemented improperly, threatens to undermine individual rights and security. The lack of clear regulatory frameworks, the profusion of data breaches, and an internecine systems of states (and corporations) competing for sovereignty over digital territory, has only worsened a growing identity gap by making it difficult to contribute to solutions, or even the responsible collection of critical data towards creating solutions. Digital identity has the capacity to close this gap—and improve the lives of all individuals, whether in a developed or developing context, but only if implemented properly.
Extending the right to legal identity into the digital age depends upon establishing clear governance structures coupled with fit-to-purpose regulatory regimes addressing data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity. But it also depends on establishing digital identities that are user-centric, portable, persistent, and private. In this uphill battle, technology is necessary, but not sufficient. Channeling the efforts of an increasingly wide array of stakeholders will be fundamental to establishing legal identity for decades to come.
• Develop an internationally agreed-upon definition of legal identity and digital identity.
• Establish multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms to reduce the global identity gap.
• Invest in efforts to improve digital identification management systems.
• Develop clear regulatory frameworks for personal data and digital identity information protection.
16.9.1 Proportion of children under 5 years of age whose births have been registered with a civil authority, by age (IAEG Global Indicator)
The protection of fundamental freedoms and the guarantee of public access to information, encompassed in SDG 16.10, are prerequisites for building peaceful, accountable, and inclusive societies. This is the overarching aim of SDG 16, and is key to achieving progress in all 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda. The inclusion and achievement of this target in the SDGs has been a principal objective of the member groups of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) since the beginning of UN negotiations for these global goals.
The two UN indicators for monitoring progress on SDG 16.10 track the adoption and implementation of Access to Information (ATI) laws, as well as verified cases of murders and unlawful detentions of journalists, human rights advocates and labor organizers, as compiled by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in conjunction with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
In the access to information component of 16.10, the overall trend has been positive.
The comprehensive ranking of national ATI laws61 by Access Info and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) shows that as of the end of 2018, 125 of the 193 UN Member States had adopted Right to Information (RTI) laws, up from 121 the previous year.
This continually updated ‘RTI Ratings’ survey evaluates the quality of different national laws, using consistent legal criteria for country-by-country comparisons. It does not assess ‘implementation’ of the laws by national governments, there is currently no systematic independent analysis of the current states of implementation of national ATI statutes, per the terms of indicator 16.10.2. To fill this statistical gap, independent evaluations of the implementation of ATI laws are now being prepared in dozens of countries around the world, with support from GFMD, CLD, Freedom of Information Advocates Network (FOIAnet), and other specialized international NGOs such as Deutsche Welle Akademie (DW-A) and Free Press Unlimited (FPU). Many are scheduled to be released in May 2019, as parallel or ‘shadow’ reports intended to supplement the official SDG16 reports due to be published by the UN this year. UNESCO is also carrying out a major data collection exercise on implementation of ATI laws.
The initial results of these exercises suggest that most countries, even those with long-standing and reasonably strong laws, are facing challenges in the area of implementation of ATI. Many public authorities are simply not properly prepared to answer requests, meaning that their responses either take too long (beyond what the law allows) or end up as refusals even when there is no secrecy interest in the information sought. At the same time, the preliminary results do suggest overall progress in terms of implementation, and we believe that the very exercise of assessing SDG Indicator 16.10.2 will help advance that progress.
In the area of press freedom and other ‘fundamental freedoms,’ however, the trends are disturbingly negative, according to reports by leading journalism groups and human rights organizations. In its most recent annual Press Freedom Index62, the Paris-based Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF) said its data shows “growing animosity towards journalists” by governments in all regions of the world.
“Hostility towards the media, openly encouraged by political leaders, and the efforts of authoritarian regimes to export their vision of journalism pose a threat to democracies,” RSF states in the preface to its 2018 Index.
“The climate of hatred is steadily more visible in the Index, which evaluates the level of press freedom in 180 countries each year. Hostility towards the media from political leaders is no longer limited to authoritarian countries […]. More and more democratically elected leaders no longer see the media as part of democracy’s essential underpinning, but as an adversary to which they openly display their aversion.”
Freedom House, headquartered in Washington D.C., offered a similarly gloomy assessment in its own 2018 Press Freedom rankings, finding that only “13 per cent of the world’s inhabitants lived in countries with a free press, while 42 per cent had a partly free press, and 45 per cent lived in ‘not free’ environments.”63
Assassinations of journalists are also on the rise, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), based in New York. RSF concurred with CPJ, reporting that “murders, imprisonment, hostage-taking and enforced disappearances have all increased. Journalists have never before been subjected to as much violence and abusive treatment as in 2018.” The annual number of job-related murders of journalists is among the official UN indicators for SDG16.10.1.
CPJ confirmed the killings of 54 journalists in 201864 in incidents directly attributable to their profession. The cases include deaths of reporters and photographers in war zones, but the majority – 32 of the 54 – were journalists working in their own countries, killed deliberately in reprisal for their work. In recent years, the most dangerous country for journalists outside conflict areas has been Mexico, where CPJ confirmed four such murders in 2018, following six the year before. CPJ documented 48 work-related deaths of journalists in 2017 and 50 in 2016.
Most murders of journalists remain unprosecuted, according to CPJ’s 2018 Global Impunity Index: “In the past decade, at least 324 journalists have been silenced through murder worldwide and in 85 per cent of these cases no perpetrators have been convicted.”
The two mutually reinforcing components of SDG16.10 – public access to information, and press freedom, and other ‘fundamental’ civil liberties - must be taken into consideration together in evaluating progress towards the Agenda 2030 target, both nationally and globally.
Without a genuinely free and safe environment for independent news media, ATI laws cannot fully serve their intended purpose of keeping the public informed. Conversely, unless governments comply with their commitments to make official data and documents available to the media and the public at large, press freedom guarantees alone will not keep the public informed.
Official data cannot be solely relied upon to monitor progress towards the achievement of either component of target 16.10’s stated objectives. Governments can report accurately on the existence (or not) of national ATI laws; that is an incontrovertible matter of public record. But governments alone cannot be the sole authority on whether these laws are being fully implemented; that requires input from experienced users of these ATI laws and systems in media and civil society. The methodologies for assessing implementation being piloted by civil society, as well as UNESCO,65 are particularly important data collection tools for supplementing government reporting on this.
Governments should not be the definitive source of information on the work-related murders of journalists, some of whom would be considered critics of those governments. This is all the more difficult due to the fact that public officials often suspected of complicity either in failed investigations or prosecutions, or worse, in the acts themselves.
Reputable independent information sources, such as those referenced above and included in the SDG 16 Data Initiative database are essential for documenting progress – or lack thereof – toward the promised commitment of all UN member states to “ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms.”
16.10.1 Number of verified cases of killing, kidnapping, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and torture of journalists, associated media personnel, trade unionists and human rights advocates in the previous 12 months (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.10.2 Number of countries that adopt and implement constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.10.3 Confirmed cases of journalists killed in previous calendar year (Complementary Global Indicator)
16.10.4 Freedom of the Press index score (Complementary Global Indicator)
16.10.5 World Press Freedom Index score (Complementary Global Indicator)
Data for indicator 16.a.1 is available for 109 countries, of which 74 are fully compliant with the Paris Principles, 30 are partially compliant, and only five are non-compliant. However, this measure does not reflect the status of human rights in these states, nor the ability of national institutions to prevent violence, combat terrorism and crime. The Paris Principles, which underlie indicator 16.a.1, were adopted by the UNGA in 1993, and outline the responsibilities for national human rights institutions (NHRI); they are also used by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) to accredit NHRI. GANHRI divides NHRI into three levels of accreditation: ‘A’ complies fully with the Paris Principles; ‘B’ does not fully comply with the Paris Principles; ‘C’ does not comply with the Paris Principles.66 As of 24 January 2017, 117 NHRI were accreditedby the GANHRI, with 74 ‘A’ accreditations, 33 ‘B’ accreditations, and ‘10’ non-compliant ‘C’ accreditations.67
While NHRI compliance with the Paris Principles is focused on the legal status, legal protections, and governance of these institutions, there is neither a measurement included on citizen perceptions of the effectiveness of these institutions, nor about the state’s respect for human rights.68
Global indicator 16.b.1 is a ‘Tier III’ indicator, and as such there is no global data available yet. therefore, we do not know the state of the world according to 16.b. While SDG 16.b aligns with SDG 10.3.1, it is also a ‘Tier III’ indicator and lacks data. As there is no internationally agreed upon methodology or global data available yet for SDG 16.b, the SDG16 DI has identified two complimentary indicators based on expert-based assessments conducted by Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) initiative.
V-Dem is a collaboration among more than 50 scholars worldwide, drawing from the expertise of approximately 2,500 country experts to identify country scores for each of its indicators. As with all expert-based indicators, it has limitations related to subjectivity. In indicator 16.b.2, experts are asked to what extent is high quality basic education guaranteed to all, sufficient to enable them to exercise their basic rights as adult citizens? The scoring scale goes from 0 (where provision of high quality basic education is extremely unequal and at least 75 per cent of children receive such low-quality education that undermines their ability to exercise their basic rights as adult citizens) to 4 (where basic education is equal in quality and less than five per cent of children receive such low-quality education that probably undermines their ability to exercise their basic rights as adult citizens).
In indicator 16.b.3, experts are asked to what extent is high quality basic healthcare guaranteed to all, sufficient to enable them to exercise their basic political rights as adult citizens? The scoring scale goes from 0 (where because of poor-quality healthcare, at least 75 per cent of citizens’ ability to exercise their political rights as adult citizens is undermined) to 4 (where basic health care is equal in quality and less than five per cent of citizens cannot exercise their basic political rights as adult citizens.).
According to both indicators, the measures of equality of access to health and education have been on the decline since their peaks in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
GANHRI and OHCHR work together to periodically review the accreditation of each UN Member State’s NHRI. This information is freely available on both the GANHRI and OHCHR websites. Therefore, for indicator 16.a.1, there is complete data coverage. Similarly, the V-Dem dataset (Version 9) covers 202 countries from 1789-2018.69
While there are no issues with the coverage, quality, or availability of the data for indicator 16.a.1, the data is limited in its conceptual link with the aim of the target to strengthen national institutions to prevent violence. Target 16.a was promoted by OHCHR and human rights groups to create more accountability for security and justice institutions for human rights. While the protection of human rights can reduce violence, the purpose of this target – to strengthen national institutions to prevent violence, combat terrorism and crime – and the purpose of the indicator – to increase the number of NHRIs that are credible and effective in promoting human rights at the national level – are not aligned.70 This misalignment reduces the effectiveness of both the target and indicator to achieve their aims – which in turn limits the relevance of the data for monitoring and implementation. On such a sensitive target, non-official data can provide critical unbiased reporting on the respect for human rights by the state.
Global indicator 16.b.1 is a perception indicator that measures people’s experiences of discrimination and can therefore give the oppressed or marginalized a voice. This indicator is meant to measure people’s experiences of discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, sex, age, income, geographic location, disability, religion, migratory or displacement status, civil status, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity. It should therefore help to assess how well non-discriminatory laws and policies work in practice. The sensitivity of reporting to NSOs on this issue, especially among those facing discrimination by the state, means that non-official data producers are more likely to collect accurate data. Additionally, as a subjective outcome indicator, it does not directly measure the core element of Target 16.b or directly hold states accountable for their commitments to law reform.71 The accuracy of this data therefore is critical for national policymakers to target reforms and international and local actors to hold states accountable for their actions.
V-Dem produces the largest global dataset on democracy with some 27 million data points for 202 countries from 1789 to 2018.72 Approximately half of the indicators in the V-Dem dataset are based on information obtainable from official documents such as constitutions and government records. The other half consists of more subjective assessments on topics like political practices and compliance with de jure rules. On such issues, typically five experts provide ratings.
V-Dem works closely with leading social science research methodologists and has developed a state-of-the-art measurement model that, to the extent possible, minimizes coder error and addresses issues of comparability across countries and over time through bridge and lateral coding. V-Dem also draws on the team’s academic expertise to develop theoretically informed techniques for aggregating indicators into mid- and high-level indices.
• Official and non-official data should be combined to have a comprehensive view of the enforcement, or lack thereof, of non-discriminatory laws and policies.
• Other proxy indicators by civil society organization for monitoring national institutions capacity to prevent violence and combatterrorism and crime should be further developed and considered in the monitoring and implementation of Target 16.a.
16.a.1 Existence of independent national human rights institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.b.1 Proportion of population reporting having personally felt discriminated against or harassed in the previous 12 months on the basis of a ground of discrimination prohibited under international human rights law (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.b.2 Educational equality (Complementary Global Indicator)
16.b.3 Health equality (Complementary Global Indicator)
With support from the following TAP Network members: World Vision and ID2020. We would like to thank the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their support. We would also like to thank Cheryl Petit de Mange/CP Designs LLC, for the graphic design and Marie-Hélène Rousseau for her copy editing.