In 2015, United Nations (UN) Member States unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2030 Agenda made peaceful, just and inclusive societies – captured in SDG 16 – a global development priority. The SDG16 Data Initiative (SDG16DI) – a project that supports the open tracking of progress towards the twelve SDG16 targets through a consortium of the Global Forum for Media Development, Governance Data Alliance, Institute for Economics and Peace, International IDEA, Namati, Open Society Foundations, Peace Research Institute Oslo, Results for Development, Saferworld, Small Arms Survey, Sustainable Development Solutions Network, TAP Network, Transparency International, and the World Justice Project – is proud to present its inaugural Global Report. This is intended as the first in an annual series, with a report planned each year to assess global progress towards realising the 2030 Agenda’s commitment to peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
The Global Report is intended to provide governments, UN officials, and civil society stakeholders with a resource that will help them track progress on SDG16 targets, and provide an evidence base to help policymakers identify gaps and shortcomings in both implementing and monitoring SDG16. Thus, the report assesses the measurable progress the world is making towards meeting the twelve targets under SDG16 based on the data available. It also considers the extent of data coverage, the limitations of the data currently available, and how data are being used to drive change. A chapter is dedicated to each of the twelve SDG16 targets, addressing these questions in turn. As part of the SDG16DI’s efforts to identify gaps in both implementing and monitoring SDG16, the SDG16DI has also outlined in chapter 13 the coverage of data for the 44 countries under voluntary review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum.
The SDG16DI collates data-sets in an open format to track progress toward SDG16 and to provide a snapshot of the current state of progress, recognising the limits of data availability and coverage in many cases. The SDG16DI is intended to complement efforts currently underway to develop an official indicator framework for monitoring the SDGs and the official systems for producing the data. To this end, we have included both globally agreed SDG16 indicators and additional, complementary indicators, which data experts regard as contributing to a more multi-faceted and comprehensive measure of progress against the various targets.
The report provides a baseline of the latest available data for SDG16 indicators, a review of key trends, and of challenges encountered. Some of the early challenges identified in the report include the lack of effective methodologies to produce parts of the data, the misalignment between certain targets and their indicators, and insufficient coverage of particular data-sets. For example, there is no agreement on the magnitude of global illicit arms flows due to the lack of comprehensive data on arms trafficking. Another major challenge is the widespread under-reporting or refusal to report on sensitive issues, including many SDG16 indicators, which poses an obstacle to reliable data collection. Broader challenges include the very limited resources, capacity, and in some cases political will to support data production, collection, and monitoring across the SDG agenda as a whole, which includes 244 SDG indicators under its 17 goals.
When considering overall progress in 2016 towards meeting SDG16 targets, there is a mixed bag of positive and negative trends. Over the past decade, rates of homicide have decreased in many parts of the world, with intentional homicide as a proportion of all violent deaths dropping from 75 to 69 per cent. However, the level of violence in armed conflict in 2014 and 2015 is higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Moreover, while adult experience of violence seems to be declining, data for Target 16.2 shows that every year one billion children across the globe experience violence. Nevertheless, while such trends highlight the scale of the challenge, it is important to bear in mind that the overall level of fatalities is relatively low when seen in historical context.
Rule of law and access to justice faced significant obstacles in 2016, with challenges to international justice institutions and with civic space continuing to shrink at the global and national level. One and a half billion people lack any form of officially recognised identification. It is estimated that more than a billion people in 53 countries have paid bribes to access public services in the last 12 months. Global surveys found that less than half of respondents believed that elections officials are impartial. On the other hand, 2016 saw progress in making public access to information a universal norm, with six more countries adopting freedom of information laws, and the majority of UN Member States now having such laws.
The overall state of ‘fundamental freedoms’ in 2016 was discouraging. Human rights groups point to increased repression and suffering of migrants; mounting civilian casualties from attacks by both terrorist groups and government forces; restrictions on civil liberties imposed in response to perceived security threats; and the rising power of authoritarian leaders in the global North and South alike. Political rights and civil liberties decreased in 67 countries in 2016, with only 36 countries registering gains. Although 40 per cent of UN Member States are at least partially compliant with the Paris Principles for National Human Rights Institutions (an official indicator), it is evident that compliance with these principles does not necessarily equate with respect for human rights in these states.
In terms of the underlying challenges, transnational dynamics continue to undermine prospects for peace and sustainable development at the national level. Total illicit financial flows grew at an annual average rate of between 8.5 and 10.1 per cent between 2005 and 2014. Meanwhile, developing countries make up 71 per cent of inter-governmental organisations’ membership, but have only 47 per cent of the voting rights, reflecting a lack of representation and inclusive decision-making within the global community.
Overall, this first SDG16DI Global Report shows that, based on the available evidence, progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda commitments to peaceful, just and inclusive societies has so far been limited at best. This is unsurprising: it is a 15-year agenda, the targets under SDG16 represent a far-reaching and profound societal transformation, and we are only one year into the implementation period. Nevertheless, if there were any doubts about the scale of the challenge of achieving SDG16, the findings of this report will dispel them. The report also highlights the many gaps but also some opportunities in terms of the data for measuring SDG16 targets. And it underlines the critical importance of producing, collecting, and monitoring robust and comprehensive data in order to enable sustained progress in building peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
In 2015 a total of 383,000 intentional homicides and 97,000 battle-related deaths were recorded.1 The world is significantly less violent than fifty years ago. Nevertheless, despite this general downwards trend globally, the number of violent deaths per inhabitant remains high in Latin America, the Caribbean, southern Africa, north Africa, and western Asia. The majority of victims are killed in countries suffering from endemic levels of violence, or countries that have not officially declared war. When examining the incidence of violent deaths in conflict and non-conflict settings, two trends emerge.2 First, rates of homicide are decreasing in many parts of the world. Available data suggest that over the last decade intentional homicide as a proportion of all violent deaths dropped from 75 to 69 per cent.3 Second, the last few years have seen a strong increase in the number of people killed in armed conflict.4 In 2014, over 100,000 battle-related deaths were recorded in a single year for the first time since 1989.5 The level of violence in armed conflict seen in 2014 and 2015 is higher than any other year in the post-Cold War period. This development is concerning, but it is important to bear in mind that the level of fatalities is relatively low when seen in a historical context. In 2015, there were 2 battle-related deaths per 100,000 worldwide. In 1950, this figure was 24; in 1970, it was 55; and in 1990 it was 8, according to battle deaths data from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).6
The relationship between levels of violence and citizens’ perception of safety is not straightforward. Globally, three out of five people report feeling safe when walking alone in their neighbourhood.7 This proportion changes across contexts depending on several factors that go beyond the overall level of violence, such as coping mechanisms. People can report feeling safe in an at-risk context, while others may feel unsafe in low-violence contexts. The lack of a global composite indicator on the proportion of people subject to physical, psychological, and sexual violence does not allow assessment of what the data tells us about the state of the world with regard to this ‘official’ global indicator.
The Small Arms Survey Database on Violent Deaths monitors various forms of lethal violence, including intentional homicide, from a wide range of open-sources. Official data on intentional homicide is produced by criminal justice and public health systems, and is disseminated by a range of governmental agencies and national statistical offices, international organisations – such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – as well as civil society organisations, such as observatories on violence, conflict, and crime. The quality, coverage, and completeness of data on intentional homicide varies widely across the world. Sophisticated and comprehensive data-recording systems are available in all high-income regions and several low and middle-income regions; yet in several parts of world, primary source data may not exist at all. In 2016 only rough estimates were available for 56 countries, of which more than half are in Sub-Saharan Africa.8
Data on conflict-related deaths comes from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), which collects data on direct battle deaths for every country, every year, 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.
Data on the perception of safety comes from Gallup World Poll and covers 122 countries. As of March 2017, there are no global sources of data on the prevalence of non-lethal violence (physical, psychological, and sexual). Data on these issues are collected at the national level through crime victimisation surveys and household surveys, which include questions on crime and security.
The most important limitation for data on intentional homicide concerns the international comparability of definitions and methodologies. Available data is generally produced for administrative purposes, according to legal definitions of intentional homicide and the implementation of rules for statistical production that differ across countries. In 2015 UNDOC released the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes, to promote international comparability of statistical data. This provides clear guidelines on the types of intentional killing that should be included and excluded in counting intentional homicide. At the national level, little or no data collection capacity in low and medium-income countries, and in areas affected by armed conflict, represents another limitation for tracking changes in lethal violence.
On conflict-related deaths, UCDP’s data collection relies primarily on news reports to collect information. This will invariably produce conservative estimates, but there is no indication that the data are systematically biased. In addition, the data are estimates; however, since they are not collected through random sampling, it is not possible to calculate standard measures of sampling error. The data does not include indirect deaths and thus only covers a subset of the conflict-related deaths that the SDG 16.1.2 indicator calls for. At present, the data cannot be disaggregated by age, sex, and cause.
The limitations of survey indicators – on reported experiences of violence and perception of safety – to monitor the implementation of the SDGs relates in part to the costs associated with the periodic repetition of surveys and the need for a rigorous methodology to allow for international comparison. Moreover, further challenges arise in countries affected by endemic violence or armed conflict, due to security and logistical constraints.
The Small Arms Survey Database on violent deaths is at the core of the analysis presented in the Global Burden of Armed Violence reports. Governments and the academic community largely use this data, which is also cited in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) States of Fragility report series. The UCDP battle deaths data are widely used in the academic community, often in conjunction with the PRIO battle deaths data that extends the period covered to 1946. The data are also heavily featured in the work of multilateral organisations such as the World Bank and the UN. The widely read annual Human Security Reports makes exclusive use of the UCDP battle deaths data.9
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 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights treaties and standards. Yet, every year, one billion children across the globe experience violence.10 Recent estimates by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicate that around six in ten children between the ages of two and fourteen worldwide are subjected to physical punishment by their caregivers on a regular basis. The data collected from 62 countries shows that about 80 per cent of children experienced some form of violent punishment across this period.11 A survey of 106 countries on the prevalence of children’s experience of bullying found that children aged between 13 and 15 reported bullying at vastly different rates, from 7 per cent in Tajikistan to 74 per cent in Samoa.12 A similar study targeting school children found that an average of 32.1 per cent of children in the same age group across 66 countries had experienced bullying at school at least once during the previous 30 days.13
Estimates for the prevalence of sexual violence affecting children vary in context and methodology. A meta study of prevalence of sexual abuse across 55 studies from 24 countries found figures ranging from 8 to 31 per cent among girls, and from 3 to 17 per cent among boys.14 It is also estimated that 120 million girls, under the age of 20, have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse.15 Generally, girls are more likely to experience sexual violence than boys; however, boys disproportionately experience certain forms of sexual abuse and exploitation in certain regions. A recent report show that 28 per cent of detected trafficking victims worldwide are children. In regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America and the Caribbean, children comprise 62 and 64 per cent of victims, respectively.16
Three indicators have been included in the global indicators framework to monitor target 16.2, of which two focus specifically on violence. These indicators address three forms of violence against children: physical punishment and psychological aggression by caregivers and sexual abuse. Both indicators are measurable, and data on these indicators have been collected using existing standardised and validated measurement tools in several national surveys, including through UNICEF-supported Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).
Data on child discipline collected through MICS were available for 43 countries as of January 2014. 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 such as 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.17
Data for indicator 16.2.2 are currently collected annually, focusing on the number of detected victims, through a specific questionnaire. The UNODC prepares a biennial Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Since 2007 data have been available for approximately 130 countries, disaggregated by age, sex, and forms of exploitation.18
The availability of comparable data on certain forms of violence against children has significantly increased in recent years – especially in measuring physical and sexual violence. Yet many challenges remain. Internationally agreed standards for measuring and producing statistics are still lacking. Existing data tend to be inconsistent in terms of agreed definitions of violence, their scope, coverage, frequency, and quality – thus making comparisons across countries difficult.19 Limited data coverage is compounded by a lack of capacity, insufficient resources for data collection, and insufficient investment in improving measurement.20
Finally, under-reporting poses a significant limitation for collecting data on these indicators. Children often do not feel comfortable reporting on such topics due to their fear of the perpetrators and stigma, and/or they do not have access to reporting mechanisms. It is likely that data collected show an underestimation of the problem.
The data collected through MICS and DHS is currently being used as a basis for policy decisions and programme interventions, and to influence public opinion on the situation of children and women around the world. Data collected through other instruments, such as Violence against Children Surveys carried out under the auspices of the Together for Girls Initiative, are being used to develop national action plans to end violence against 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)
Rule of law and access to justice faced significant challenges in 2016, with tests to international justice institutions and civic space continuing to contract at the global and national level. Russia, South Africa, Burundi, and The Gambia announced their intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, and Freedom House, in its Freedom in the World 2017 report, notes that 2016 marked the eleventh consecutive year of decline in global freedom.21 Furthermore, an estimated four billion poor and marginalised people around the world live outside the protection of the law.22
The picture is not all grim. In April, Kenya passed its first legal aid law as part of a commitment to Goal 16,23 and in May representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States and civil society declared support for the Jakarta Recommendations on SDGs, Access to Justice and Legal Aid.24 UNODC also passed Resolution 25/2 to ensure effective legal aid, and called upon states to identify national indicators for Target 16.3.25 In December several governments and civil society organisations declared their support for collective action on measuring access to justice at the Open Government Partnership Summit in Paris.26
For the official IAEG on global indicators for Goal 16.3, country coverage remains low and has not increased in 2016. Data for indicator 16.3.1 – the proportion of victims of violence who reported their victimization – is available for only 37 countries. Data for indicator 16.3.2 – unsentenced detainees as a proportion of the overall prison population – is available for 142 countries. Coverage for complementary indicators 16.3.3 and 16.3.4, on the other hand, has grown from 102 to 113 countries in the last year.
In order to use the IAEG and complementary indicators to assess progress toward Target 16.3, there are important methodological and conceptual limitations to consider. Differences in crime reporting (16.3.1) across countries could reflect cultural differences or varying perceptions about the seriousness of certain crimes. The Open Society Justice Initiative also warns that pre-trial measures that focus exclusively on percentages of the detainee population, such as the IAEG detention indicator (16.3.2), may create perverse incentives for the state to secure convictions.27 Furthermore, neither of the official IAEG indicators captures access to civil justice or the effectiveness of informal justice mechanisms,28 despite legal needs studies showing that a majority of people’s legal problems are civil problems.29 Indeed, at the 48th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission, Member States agreed that a civil justice indicator should be considered as an additional indicator to measure the target more meaningfully.30 The Open Society Justice Initiative and the OECD are facilitating exchanges in order to refine effective survey-based measures for civil justice.
The complementary indicators for Target 16.3 address some of these conceptual concerns by measuring the accessibility, affordability, impartiality, and effectiveness of civil justice systems, as well as the extent to which countries’ criminal justice systems are effective, impartial, and respect due process. These indicators are from the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, which relies on surveys of more than 110,000 households and 2,700 experts to measure access to justice as experienced by ordinary citizens.31 However, due to the logistical limitations of conducting polling in 113 countries, household data is only collected in the three largest cities of each country and does not yet capture the experiences of rural communities.
It is too early to track the practical application of the IAEG and complementary indicators for policy reform. Nonetheless, many countries are undertaking efforts to measure access to justice more effectively. In Indonesia, the Ministry of National Development and Planning (Bappenas) is creating its own Access to Justice Index as part of its National Strategy on Access to Justice, to measure its progress towards Goal 16.3. Furthermore, a Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Promoting Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies was launched at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2016.32 This proliferation of data collection initiatives at the national and international levels, while still nascent, is a positive indication that the SDG monitoring demands are generating commitments to measurable improvements in adherence to the rule of law and 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 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)
The UN International Commodities Statistics Database (UN Comtrade) data shows that the legal arms trade was worth $17.3 billion globally in 2014.33 Arms trafficking is estimated to represent 10 to 20 per cent of the legal arms trade, which translates into a value between $1.7 billion to $3.5 billion in 2014.34 These are considered conservative estimates based on available statistics and documented arms transfers, which account for only a part of the global arms trade.
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 11.16 out of a 25-point scale.35 Export authorisations remain the most opaque dimension of small arms reporting. Among the top small arms exporters, 49 per cent did not report on licences granted and 61 per cent did not report on licences denied. This information on arms trade transparency helps assess a state’s record-keeping practices with respect to arms transfers. Transparency in the authorised trade is an important practice for preventing and detecting the diversion of arms into the illicit market.
The value of total illicit financial flows (IFF) (inflows and outflows) in 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, for all developing countries is between $2 trillion and $3.5 trillion, which represents between 14 and 24 per cent of total trade for those nations. Total IFF grew at an annual average rate of between 8.5 per cent and 10.1 per cent between 2005 and 2014. The value of organised crime, based on a tally of estimates of 11 transnational criminal markets, ranges from $1.6 trillion to $2.2 trillion annually.36
The Barometer has identified a total of 49 major exporters of small arms, across Europe (53 per cent), Asia (31 per cent), the Americas (12 per cent), Africa (2 per cent), and Oceania (2 per cent). The majority provide information on at least some of their trade in conventional weapons to the UN Register on Conventional Weapons and to UN Comtrade, which can include data on small arms and light weapons. Only twenty-five of these small arms exporters, however, release publicly accessible national reports on arms exports, while four do not report at all.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda urged “appropriate international institutions” to provide estimates of IFF, but this has not yet happened.37 Non-governmental measurements of IFF use two data sources: 1) deliberate mis-invoicing of the goods trade, based on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Direction of Trade Statistics (DOTS); and 2) leakages in the balance of payments determined by the IMF’s Balance of Payments data-set. Data that estimate the value of organised crime originate primarily from intergovernmental sources, including UNODC, International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Environment Programme, and INTERPOL.
There is no agreement on the magnitude of global illicit arms flows due to the lack of comprehensive data on arms trafficking and the illicit flows by definition are not reported. The proposed indicator emphasises arms that have been seized, found, or surrendered, whose illicit nature has been determined by competent national authorities. The current global indicator to track illicit arms flows highlights the measurement challenge. To generate better data, states need to determine the specific illicit nature of the arms that they seize, find, or that are surrendered to them as trafficked weapons often represent only a portion of seized weapons, which can include also those associated with crimes and administrative violations. This can be done, for example, through tracing. States must also increase the proportion of arms that are seized, found, or surrendered to them that are subjected to such a determination of their specific illicit nature.
The primary limitation of using DOTS to estimate IFF is that the data are highly aggregated, which renders the estimate imprecise. For example, a firm in country X might under-invoice an import on one occasion and over-invoice an import on another occasion, thereby offsetting the IFF. Meanwhile, other data-sets that provide more detail for some countries on goods trade (for example, UN Comtrade) may yield more precise estimates but are less comprehensive in their country coverage and are not well suited for the purpose of producing global estimates. The opaque nature of transnational crime limits the amount and quality of data; estimates of the value of various illicit markets are based on inferences – such as information gained from seizures – rather than comprehensive data.
Governments use the Barometer to identify areas for improvement in reporting methods, and it is featured in the annual Swiss national report on small arms and light weapons. Multilateral institutions, such as the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the UN Human Rights Council, also use IFF data, as do countless civil society groups. Law enforcement agencies, policymakers, academics, and civil society organisations use organised crime data.
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 small arms and light weapons that are recorded and traced, in accordance with international standards and legal instruments (IAEG Global Indicator)
16.4.3 Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer scores (Complementary Global Indicator)
An untrustworthy and dysfunctional public sector will undermine attainment of many or all of the SDGs. Indicator 16.5.2 captures the incidence of bribery – the percentage of firms experiencing at least one bribe payment request during transactions dealing with utilities access, permits, licences, and taxes.38 According to the World Bank Enterprise Survey, the global average of firms being asked for a bribe is 17.8 per cent, ranging from 1.9 per cent average in high-income OECD countries to 30.4 per cent in the east Asia and Pacific region. At the country level, rates of bribery victimisation vary greatly, with no reported incidents in Eritrea and Estonia, 64 per cent in Cambodia and Yemen, and 70 per cent in Liberia.39
When viewed through the lens of complementary indicator 16.5.3 – Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score – over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in the 2016 CPI fell below the midpoint on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The global average score is 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector.
The Global Corruption Barometer estimates that more than one billion people have paid bribes across 53 countries in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Sub-Saharan Africa in order to access public services in the last 12 months.40 In Europe and Central Asia, on average, one in six households have paid a bribe to access public services.41
The World Bank Enterprise Survey is a company focused face-to-face survey covering a broad range of business environment topics, which can be expensive and time consuming to administer. Only 105 countries have at least one data point, representing the results of a survey, after 2010, and figures are therefore outdated for many countries. In addition, since the surveys are done mostly in World Bank client countries, most high-income countries are not covered.
As for the complementary indicators, the CPI 2016 covered 176 countries and territories in the world. However, because each indexed country is required to have a minimum of three CPI data sources to be included in the index, some of the small island nations in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean were not covered in the 2016 CPI.42
The Global Corruption Barometer was conducted from 2015 to 2017 in 95 countries in four regions,43 capturing views and experiences of corruption and bribery of more than 135,000 people.
The sensitive nature of corruption can limit data collection, as people and firms may not be comfortable answering questions on bribery incidence. The actual incidence of this particular type of corruption may therefore be higher than reported in some countries.
Furthermore, while perception-based measures of corruption are useful since corruption is a hidden and illegal act, they also have their limitations, such as a citizen or expert respondent’s potential subjectivity bias, and the potential impact of a respondent’s exposure to news about corruption on her/ his answer. However, there are measures to mitigate these challenges, particularly in terms of selecting expert respondents who can provide an assessment of the extent of corruption based on expertise and evidence, rather than only perceptions. A comprehensive analysis, the Global Corruption Barometer, will be launched in June 2017.
Some governments and their agencies – such as the government of Malaysia and the Anti-Corruption Commissions of Thailand and Indonesia – use CPI results as a key performance indicator to measure their anti-corruption efforts. Moreover, the CPI is distributed to Transparency International’s network via the Internet, including through social media sites. The results receive considerable media coverage both domestically and internationally. Drawing on the findings of the 2016 CPI, Transparency International published several web features illustrating how CPI scores translate to the reality of various indexed countries, and what this means for each region in the world.44
The results of the Global Corruption Barometer are used in a similar manner, and feed into the policy briefings and campaigns of Transparency International. It is widely shared with governments and inter-governmental agencies, as well as national and international civil society organisations.45
16.5.1 Proportion of persons who had 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)
According to Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), a research collaborative focused on collecting global data-sets for complex indicators of democracy, there were considerable improvements in global and regional indicators for government accountability over recent decades. They also show a substantial increase in access to free and fair elections in recent decades. However, as for civil society organisations’ freedom from governmental repression, a distinct negative trend can be noticed in all regions, in particular in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, MENA, and Asia Pacific. This trend is corroborated by CIVICUS, a global organisation for citizen participation, and by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, which has noted 96 significant restrictions on the rights of civil society in the period between June 2014 and May 2015. There has been progress in the independence of high courts, according to V-Dem, although there is still substantial room for improvement. Despite strengthened accountability mechanisms in Central Asia and MENA, averages in these two regions remain lower than in other regions.46
V-Dem data with world-wide coverage measures accountability aspects of Target 16.6 based on the assessments of multiple independent experts. The V-Dem data currently covers 177 countries, from 1900 to 2016. For horizontal accountability, V-Dem indicators address high court independence and legislature investigations in practice, and for vertical accountability they measure levels of freedom and fairness of elections, provide an index of judicial constraints on the executive, and of legislative constraints on the executive. Finally, V-Dem can also provide indicators of government censorship of the media, and the extent of government repression of civil society organisations.
Data derived from the World Values Survey47 (WVS) build on nationally representative surveys conducted in almost 100 countries, covering approximately 90 per cent of the world’s population, and using a standard questionnaire. The seventh wave of WVS data collection will be in 2017–2018, and will include questions on electoral integrity and the importance of free and fair elections to economic development. WVS connects with academics, policymakers, and journalists to complement and enrich their analysis on vertical accountability by adding people’s perceptions and experiences of whether election officials are fair with their emerging data. Furthermore, WVS data on whether people perceive free and fair elections to be important for economic development could be used to add a development lens to the analysis.
The two official indicators capture only limited aspects of Target 16.6. For example, 16.6.1 focuses on primary government expenditures as a percentage of the originally approved budget. Although budget transparency and efficiency in budget implementation are important, this indicator does not capture how accountable or transparent state institutions are, nor does it capture the 2030 Agenda’s call for people-centered accountability. In order to achieve accountability, robust and sustainable mechanisms to hold decision-makers responsible for their actions need to be in place. Thus, additional indicators are required, such as those used by V-Dem, which relate to the ways that citizens, civil society, the media, and other public institutions are able to oversee and hold the government to account.
The second official indicator and the third complementary indicator measure the implementation of recommendations to strengthen national anti-corruption frameworks as corruption is a significant correlate of negative consequences of poor transparency and accountability. V-Dem can provide supplementary indicators for SDG Target 16.6 to address some of these limitations.
V-Dem indicators are used to track variations in accountability mechanisms and monitor with high precision developments over time to provide policymakers with best practices. Along with producing briefing and research papers, V-Dem hosts an annual policy conference to connect its research with policymakers and the public. WVS has been downloaded over 100,000 times by academics and policymakers in order to understand global and national trends in public opinion on issues such as democracy, tolerance to ethnic minorities, support for gender equality, and attitudes toward politics. These surveys can help reframe policymakers’ perspectives towards more people-centered approaches.
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)
When it comes to civic space, CIVICUS found that “in many countries, and in all global regions, civic space has worsened appreciably in recent years”.48 At particular risk are those organisations in civil society that question the power of political and economic elites, or that expose corruption and poor governance.49 In terms of civil society participation in decision-making, V-Dem indicators show considerable improvement in the last decades. Nonetheless, there remain substantial variations at decision-making levels. In regions such as Central Asia or MENA, although improvements can be noted, their averages remain lower than in other regions.
The V-Dem data currently covers 177 countries up until 2016. The WVS wave 6 data builds on interviews with 60,000 people across 42 countries, conducted between 2010 and 2014. Survey fieldwork for WVS wave 7 will be conducted worldwide in 2017–2018, and this wave will be the second wave using a questionnaire that includes questions on electoral integrity and confidence in institutions.
Available data on the share of women in national parliaments responds to the Target’s call for ‘inclusive’ and ‘representative decision making’. A regional comparison indicates that between 2005 and 2015, the proportion of women in parliament increased most in the Arab world, albeit starting from a low level of 6.8 per cent increasing to 17.9 per cent, followed by the Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa; while the Pacific experienced the lowest growth from 13.9 per cent to 15.9 per cent.50
While diverse and representative public institutions, as noted in indicator 16.7.1, are important for many reasons, it is important to acknowledge that numerical representation may not translate into influence (substantial representation). In other words, an increased proportion of marginalised groups (whether women, youth, ethnic or religious minorities) in public institutions, including parliaments, does not necessarily translate into increased influence over public policy or other outcomes. Therefore, it is critical to supplement this indicator with others that capture influence. Indicator 16.7.2 refers to the percentage of the population that believes that decision-making is inclusive and responsive. This is difficult to aggregate because of varying expectations as to what is understood by ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘responsiveness’. V-Dem can offer three indices to supplement the measurement of Target 16.7.
V-Dem indicators are used to track variations in responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making, and can monitor developments over time for each country in the world with a high degree of precision. This can provide policymakers with a clear picture of the outcomes of their decisions. Emerging data collected by WVSs could also be used to complement and enrich the analysis on ‘inclusive’ and ‘representative decision making’ by adding people’s perceptions and experiences of: whether candidates are prevented from running; whether media coverage favours a particular party; and whether journalists provide balanced coverage.
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 a long way to go in terms of strengthening and broadening the participation of developing countries in international organisations. Developing countries make up 75 per cent of all UN Member States, but they are underrepresented in many of its institutions. The range of representation includes full proportional representation in the UNGA, with one vote for each member, to the UN Security Council (UNSC), where developing countries currently account for seven of the fifteen members. China is the only developing country to occupy one of the five permanent seats on the Security Council. Similarly, voting rights do not reflect the proportion of membership of developing countries. For example, developing countries hold 37 per cent of the voting rights in the IMF despite constituting 76 per cent of its membership, because voting rights are based on contributions. The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has measured the voting rights for five international organisations and determined a discrepancy of nearly 25 per cent of voting rights. On average, developing countries made up 71 per cent of membership, but only 47 per cent of the voting rights. This is represented in the chart below.
The data for this measure can be measured by calculating the level and significance of developing countries involvement in international organisations as measured by voting rights. This could include regional bodies and trade agreements as well as international institutions and international governance structures. IEP has developed a database of the membership and voting rights of 11 different international organisations [IMF, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, UNSC, UN Economic and Social Council, UNGA, World Trade Organization, Federation of Small Businesses, International Finance Corporation]. These organisations range in size from the UNGA with 193 members and the IMF and IBRD with 189 members, to smaller, regionally focused organisations such as the various regional development banks. Developing countries account for 75 per cent of all countries, but they make up on average 65 per cent of the membership of these 11 organisations. There is no foreseeable barrier to accessing the data required to measure this indicator across all countries.
The indicator to measure 16.8 is the percentage of members and voting rights of developing countries in international organisations. This information is publicly available from the websites and annual reports of each organisation, although there has not been a compilation of the different levels of representation across different organisations. If an organisation does not include many developing countries, this does not reflect a shortage of data but rather the lack of membership of developing countries, which is itself part of the measure for this target. A potential limitation of this indicator is that voting rights and membership are only one of many ways that a country can be influential in international organisations. Further disaggregation of the data could be undertaken by looking at the nationality of leaders of organisations as well as the membership of various groups and committees within international organisations. Furthermore, the number of nationals from each country in the organisation’s staff could also be seen as an indicator of the level and significance of developing country involvement.
Unlike other measures which look at the number of participants as a proxy for measuring the significance of involvement, such as the number of women in parliament, members and voting rights of developing countries in international organisations cannot easily be aggregated. Membership of certain organisations, such as the OECD, are explicitly dependent on development status. It is probable that an index would need to be developed for this information to be aggregated and measured collectively. Nevertheless, the data that currently exists can and is being used within the relevant organisations to advocate for greater participation by developing countries.
16.8.1 Proportion of members and voting rights of developing countries in international organizations (IAEG Global Indicator)
Globally, 1.5 billion people lack any form of officially recognised paper-based or digital identification.51 This includes an estimated 230 million children under five whose births were never registered, and who therefore do not exist in any legal capacity.52 Without a recognised form of identification, individuals often cannot access basic services or participate in the modern economy, and are at increased risk of human trafficking. Without accurate population data, governments cannot provide well-coordinated social services, while global development efforts suffer because beneficiaries cannot be individually identified and targeted with appropriate support.
Even data on those who enjoy legal identity are limited and rely on a patchwork of sources (reflecting the number and variety of organisations working in this area), which have largely targeted specific ‘snapshot’ registration programmes, such as voter or birth registration. A recent unpublished study by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimated that, within the UN alone, nine different agencies address some element of digital identity management, but that each engages at different points in an individual’s life.53 As a result, UN systems are ill-suited to ongoing and lifelong engagement with beneficiaries – and, without a mechanism to cross-reference individuals between these systems, it can be difficult to untangle which individuals are covered by each.
Given these limitations, Target 16.9 is unique in that there is only a single official SDG indicator. UNICEF’s global birth registration data is aggregated from MICS, DHS, the UN Statistics Division, and other sources. Source data are often many years old, and, in some cases, may refer only to a portion of the country. As of May 2016, data were available for 167 countries, with birth registration rates ranging from an estimated 3 per cent in Somalia to an average of 99.7 per cent in OECD countries.54
The World Bank’s Identification for Development (ID4D) programme builds on UNICEF data and other sources to compile a global data-set showing the status of civil registration and identification practices in 198 countries.55 The data-set contains summary information on the entities responsible for civil registration and estimates the number of unregistered individuals in each country based on UN and country statistics. This compilation provides a helpful benchmark to compare coverage levels for civil registration. However, given the limitations described above, it does not account for the full breadth of functional registers and alternate entry points for identity.
While birth registration coverage is important, concerns have been raised that the data are not sufficiently disaggregated to account for vulnerable and marginalised populations. Citing data that shows that women are disproportionately unregistered, UN Women, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and others have called for the disaggregation of indicator data by gender. Age disaggregation, important as a measure of prompt birth registration, has been included in the indicator, but is not widely available in global data-sets at present.
Furthermore, birth registration does not address the broader question of legal identity for all. The concept of legal identity, included in the text of Goal 16.9, cannot currently be measured since a definition of ‘legal identity’ has not been agreed upon. In the interim, no alternate indicator has been chosen to measure the coverage of legal identity for adults.
These data are relevant to the mandates of international organisations. For example, UNICEF provides targeted support to countries with low birth registration coverage and has drilled down into disaggregated data to understand the drivers of low or high coverage.56
UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration, and the World Food Programme (WFP) are unique among UN agencies in that they enrol, store, and process identity data about refugees. The WFP intends to enrol all individual beneficiaries of its food assistance programmes in their SCOPE digital beneficiary and transfer management programme system by the end of 2017.57 Therefore, these agencies are originators and consumers not just of coverage data but also originators of the underlying identity data. Critically, this also means that Personally Identifying Information is already collected and stored by the UN system. As these agencies have detailed data protection policies, they can lead the rapid development of harmonised policies on personal data collection and handling.
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)
Open and effective public access to information depends upon the protection of the fundamental freedoms articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including freedom of expression. Conversely, the free flow of information is a prerequisite for the enforcement of all basic human rights. These two mutually reinforcing principles were combined in one single target of the SDGs for good reason: the two official UN indicators for SDG16.10 were designed to reflect that interrelationship. In assessing progress towards SDG16.10 as a whole over the past year, neither element alone tells the whole story.
2016 saw significant gains for the target’s objective of making public access to information a universal norm. Six countries adopted freedom of information laws for the first time. The majority of UN Member States – 109 of 192 – now have such statutes on the books. Implementation of these new laws is the essential next step, with some countries moving more quickly than others. On a practical basis, continuing increases in internet connectivity, mobile phone capacity, and online resources gave more people access to information than ever before in history.
Nevertheless, the overall state of ‘fundamental freedoms’ in 2016 was far less encouraging. Human rights groups pointed to the suffering and repression of migrants; mounting civilian casualties from attacks by both terrorist groups and government forces; restrictions on civil liberties imposed in response to perceived security threats; and the rising power of authoritarian populists in North and South alike. Freedom House, in its annual Freedom in the World report, stated: “A total of 67 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties in 2016, compared with 36 that registered gains. This marked the 11th consecutive year in which declines outnumbered improvements.”58
In the specific area of press freedom – which has a direct bearing on public access to information – the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported 48 confirmed cases of journalists killed in 2016 as a consequence of their profession, a significant drop from recent annual death tolls. CPJ’s 2016 Impunity Index – tracking failure to prosecute the murders of journalists worldwide – showed a rise in convictions for such crimes in several countries with previously poor records. Yet Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF) said its global and regional indices for 2016 revealed nonetheless a “deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom throughout the world.”59
Data coverage for indicator 16.10.1 – journalists killed and imprisoned – is reliable and comprehensive, covering all UN Member States in 2016. In contrast, there are no comparable international data-sets covering the job-related deaths and jailing of labour organisers or human rights activists, as also required under 16.10.1.
Indicator 16.10.2 also has good coverage. As of 2016, at least 110 of the 192 UN Member States had adopted access-to-information laws or equivalent legal mechanisms, as verified by specialised nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in this field, including FOIAnet, Article 19, and the Centre for Law and Democracy. What remains to be done is systematic, consistent, internationally comparable monitoring or measurement of ‘implementation’ of such national laws by UN Member States, to track compliance with 16.10.
As for the proposed complementary indicators, 16.10.3 and 16.10.4, there is complete data coverage as they are designed to function using pre-existing global data-sets.
Cases of journalists killed or unjustly imprisoned for their work are documented rigorously and consistently by the CPJ. CPJ is a key source for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) reports on SDG16.10.1, along with RSF and the International Federation of Journalists, as well as unverified cases based on news reports. However, there is no equivalent documentation from specialised NGOs for cases of trade unionists or human rights advocates killed or jailed in reprisal for their work. Though many such cases are documented and denounced by the ILO and OHCHR, respectively, neither UN agency has ever provided or attempted to provide systematic global accounting of these cases, primarily because of the inherent definitional, evidentiary, legal, and political challenges in compiling comprehensive statistics on such abuses in all UN Member States.
Cases of torture of individuals in all three categories are difficult to confirm for international reporting purposes in any systematic manner, as such abuses are documentable only after the fact, with independently corroborated evidence from victims and/or perpetrators. The rare cases confirmed in legal proceedings and/or by human rights groups represent only a small and unrepresentative sampling of such abuses. Cases of ‘enforced disappearance’ of journalists, trade unionists, and human rights activists – a category intended to include kidnappings and hostage-taking by insurgent forces, criminal organisations, and other armed groups – are also by definition exceedingly difficult to document in any systematic statistical manner, as such incidents are often not reported until after the fact, and sometimes never, for security reasons.
Measuring implementation of access to information laws in a rigorous, consistent, internationally comparable manner is a challenge for which there is currently no agreed factual consensus or methodology. UNESCO is now working with specialised NGOs to create a reporting framework for UN Member States on the implementation of their access-to-information commitments under SDG16.10.
The data are used by activists and journalists to push for improved access to information and free speech within national and global institutions. International policymakers and activists alike use this data to pressure countries to increase the freedom of the press. For example, data from CPJ has helped to secure the “release of imprisoned journalists, secure convictions in journalist murders, and enable positive legal reform in countries where the climate for free expression has deteriorated.”60
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)
According to the indicator for Target 16.a, nearly 40 per cent of UN Member States are at least partially compliant with the Paris Principles. However, this measure does not reflect the status of human rights in these states nor national institutions’ ability to prevent violence and 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.61 As of 24 January 2017, 117 NHRI were accredited by the GANHRI, with 74 ‘A’ accreditations, 33 ‘B’ accreditations, and ‘10’ non-complaint ‘C’ accreditations.62
While NHRI compliance with the Paris Principles is focused on the legal status, legal protections, and governance of these institutions, there is no measurement included on citizen perceptions of the effectiveness of these institutions, nor about the state’s respect for human rights.63
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.
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 target. Target 16.a was promoted by OHCHR and human rights groups to create more accountability for security and justice institutions in terms of human rights. In fact, a recent report by the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the UN, found that the inclusion indicator 16.a.1 “can be seen as a compromise reflecting the widely-felt need for a specific human rights indicator that shows the efforts of states to safeguard human rights. However, it is also widely acknowledged that this indicator […] does not cover the target 16.a particularly well and was placed here for lack of an appropriate space elsewhere”.64
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 NHRI that are credible and effective in promoting human rights at the national level – are not aligned.65 This misalignment reduces the effectiveness of both the target and indicator to achieve their aims – which in turns limits the relevance of the data.
The data is mainly used by GANHRI for accreditation and membership information. Other UN actors, such as the Human Rights Council and OHCHR, use GANHRI accreditation as standard for participation in events or processes.
|Grade A||Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Germany, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Croatia, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Latvia, Morocco, Mexico, Mongolia, Mauritania, Malawi, Malaysia, Namibia, Norfolk Island, Nigeria, Netherlands, Nepal, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Palestine, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, Serbia, Togo, Timor-Leste, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Samoa, South Africa, Zambia|
|Grade B||Austria, Bulgaria, Bahrain, Cote d'Ivoire, Congo, Cyprus, Algeria, Ethiopia, Honduras, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Sri Lanka, Republic of Moldova, Maldives, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mali, Burma, Norway, Oman, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Chad, Thailand, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Venezuela|
|Grade C||Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Iran, Madagascar, Puerto Rico, Romania|
16.a.1 Existence of independent national human rights institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles (IAEG Global Indicator)
Global indicator 16.b.166 is a ‘Tier III’ indicator, and as such there is no internationally agreed methodology or global data available yet and therefore we do not know state of the world in regards to Target 16.b.67 Additionally, Target 16.b overlaps with Target 10.3, with which it shares a common ‘official’ global indicator, and Target 5.c, which also relates to legislation on non-discrimination.68 However, both indicator 10.3.1 and 5.c.1 are also ‘Tier III’ and lack data.
As stated above, there is no internationally agreed methodology or global data available yet for Target 16.b; however, existing global, regional, and national human rights mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and various treaty bodies including the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the ILO Convention No. 111, may provide this missing link. These mechanisms provide access to a wide array of data, and therefore accurate and context-specific monitoring of 16.b. Many recommendations under these mechanisms have direct links to Target 16.b, as illustrated in a recent report which explicitly links Denmark’s most recent UPR recommendations to the SDGs.69
All 44 of the countries participating in Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) in 2017 have received UPR recommendations relating to the promotion and enforcement of non-discriminatory laws and policies.70 Moreover, 41 of the 44 VNR countries have ratified the 1958 ILO Convention No. 111 on Discrimination in Employment and Occupation,71 38 of which have received direct requests or observations under the Convention.72 Similarly, 43 out of the 44 VNR countries have ratified CERD,73 35 of which have received recommendations under this Convention.74 Progress towards Target 16.b could therefore be measured by the number and extent to which recommendations under the various mechanisms are actioned or left pending.
Global indicator 16.b.1 is a perception indicator that measures people’s experiences of discrimination and can therefore give the oppressed or marginalised 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 assess how well non-discriminatory laws and policies work in practice. However, as a subjective outcome indicator, it does not directly measure the core element of Target 16.b and hold states accountable for their commitments to law reform.75
OHCHR has begun developing this indicator, consulting bilaterally with organisations and experts, but the methodological work will likely not be completed until the end of 2018.76 Some NSO and regional organisations are collecting data related to different grounds of discrimination, and OHCHR has started mapping and comparing initiatives with suitability for global reporting.77 However, it will be challenging to operationalise this indicator on a global scale, as people are not necessarily aware of the principles of discrimination under international human rights; while the way individuals or groups experience discrimination may reflect ingrained social, cultural, economic patterns that only change over prolonged periods.78 Additionally, because the indicator measures experiences of discrimination during a defined period, each victim is counted only once, even though they may have suffered multiple experiences of discrimination or harassment. Therefore, the indicator does not allow estimates of incidence or show the magnitude of discrimination faced.
Although there is currently no data specifically for 16.b, the available data from 16.a could be used in support of 16.b. The existence of an independent NHRI is the global indicator for Target 16.a. Given their monitoring mandate and independent status, their focus on non-discrimination as well as the range of human rights underpinning the SDGs, NHRI have the potential to monitor progress and serve as data providers for Target 16.b and other human rights-relevant targets.79 For example, in December 2016, a survey conducted at a workshop for the Arab Network of NHRI (ANNHRI) revealed that all 14 members of ANNHRI undertake law reviews to detect discriminatory legislation. Consequently, all 14 NHRI have detected national laws that should be eliminated or amended and have formulated recommendations for such legal reforms. This illustrates that NHRI are ready to contribute to monitoring Target 16.b, as well as related Targets 5.c and 10.3.80 Twenty-four out of the forty-four countries participating in the VNR at the 2017 High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) have independent NHRI in compliance with the Paris Principles, so access to information is well established for these countries. The combination of these factors points to the capacity of NHRI to contribute to monitoring 16.b, in addition to directly monitoring progress on global indicator 16.a.1.
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)
As part of efforts to provide national and international policymakers and civil society stakeholders with information to track progress on SDG16 targets, and to identify gaps in both implementing and monitoring SDG16, SDG16DI has outlined the coverage of data for the 44 countries under voluntary review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum (HLPF). While Goal 16 is not under review at the 2017 HLPF, the event provides an opportunity for countries to reflect on their commitments to all of the SDGs. As such the SDG16DI hopes that this report provides an opportunity for the countries under review to look beyond Goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, and 14 and to improve their efforts on Goal 16. It is also aimed at providing civil society and policymakers with information on data gaps, to ensure necessary support or pressure can be leveraged to address them.
The SDG16DI found that on average these countries only have data available for 44 per cent of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group (IAEG) official indicators, ranging from 17 per cent (Monaco) to 61 per cent (El Salvador and Nigeria). Out of the total 36 indicators, countries averaged data for 21 of the indicators; Monaco had the fewest at 8, while Peru and El Salvador had data for 26. However, while there is less availability for the official IAEG indicators, the complementary indicators identified by the SDG16DI averaged 87 per cent availability.
|Country||Total number of indicators out of 36, for which there is data||Percentage of availability for IAEG official indicators||Percentage of availability for complementary indicators||Percentage of combined availability|
|Iran (Islamic Republic of)||19||26%||100%||53%|
Adapted from ‘Making them count: Using indicators and data to strengthen accountability for the SDGs’ by Saferworld, the TAP Network, and UNDP.81
While the 17 SDGs were finalised and agreed by the UNGA in 2015, the IAEG will continue to refine the SDG indicators over the next 13 years. These global indicators are expected to be accompanied by complementary regional and national indicators.82 The IAEG has grouped all the indicators into three tiers according to the current levels of conceptualisation, methodological aspects, and availability. Many tier three indicators may take years to finalise before any data can be produced – which will likely slow implementation because ‘what gets measured, gets done’. As such, the 2030 Agenda framework should be used by local actors – inside and outside of government – who are working to reform and improve their achievement of SDG16.83
NSO are meant to be the primary source of official SDG data. With a total of 230 indicators, there is a cornucopia of global indicators for NSO to report on, many of which lack an agreed upon and precise methodology. Few countries will have the capacity or resources to gather data for every global indicator; the United States, for example, is struggling to find data for the majority of indicators, so this is likely to be even more challenging for lower income countries. This is why a ‘data revolution’ is so critical – so that the world can harness the huge amount of data being produced by official and non-official actors across the globe.84 Recognising that a global indicator framework will inevitably be limited, and that monitoring at the national level will be of critical importance to track progress towards the SDGs, we need to develop national level indicators and to invest resources to develop methodological capacities at the national level.
The 2030 Agenda makes clear that countries are responsible for aligning the SDGs with their own national development strategies. As few countries can be expected to meet all 17 goals and 169 targets, they will need to prioritise targets. The Georgian government, for example, has harmonised 94 targets from 16 of the goals into a national plan. Other countries have chosen to prioritise issues already addressed by their national development plans. The extent to which the process of prioritising SDGs is inclusive and consultative will shape how much they are owned beyond the government.
However, national level indicators and state buy-in are not the only keys to unlocking data for accountability and change among national actors. Awareness of the SDGs in general and of the commitments that every government has signed up to is currently very low globally. However, many of the same issues addressed by the SDGs are well-known and part of the public discourse. Bridging this divide between discourses is critical to ensure that data produced for the 2030 Agenda is accessed by activists and policymakers at the national and subnational level. While global indicators matter, nationally created and nationally owned indicators may have greater potential for driving accountability and changing the incentives of decision-makers. This is complementary to the global indicators, which may not be as locally owned but can catalyse debate at national level and support those seeking to advance particular global norms in their own contexts. Critically, global indicators also provide comparable data, allowing best practices to be identified and shared across countries.
Indicators need to have local resonance, legitimacy, and buy-in if they are to galvanise action at the national level. One study on the use of international framework indicators found that “within civil society there was not much appetite for using global indicators for accountability purposes.”85 An activist from Nigeria stated that indicators “don’t mean anything until they speak to personal welfare, improvements in our lives and people’s own experience of development.”86 Nationally created and nationally owned indicators have greater potential for driving accountability and changing the incentives of decision-makers. However, for these national indicators, the data produced should be open and available to civil society, and it should be disaggregated by sex, disability, ethnic or racial identity, and age. This will help ensure that NSO are independent and credible, and that the data can be used by activists. The global community must also support the development of diverse data producers including non-official actors within national contexts to provide other sources of data to triangulate patterns.
A free and open press is critical for this data to be used for accountability. The media should be supported to translate the data into meaningful narratives for the public and to connect the numbers to their daily lives. This connects directly with achieving 16.10, and will in some cases require political support and advocacy from the international community. Similarly, data literacy should be strengthened among the public to ensure that the data provided can be understood and used. Accountability cannot occur without the media connecting abstract and complex data to citizens lived experiences. However, growing constraints on the freedom of the media and on civil society space will make this harder.
To maximise the potential impact of the SDGs, the evidence base on how indicators and data contribute to substantive change needs to be strengthened, especially when it comes to issues of peace, justice, governance, and human rights. We still have much more to learn about how accountability actors use data in general, above and beyond linking it to international framework indicators. We also need to explore how quantitative data can most effectively complement qualitative narratives and other stories of progress. Engaging with the media and helping them explore how to make this link effectively will be critical. It is important to understand these issues before resources are invested in developing new data-sets or portals.
There are also questions about the relative advantages of monitoring at the global or national levels. Resources are clearly limited. Is it more important for the international community to generate comparable data for the world to review progress – and each country’s contribution to it – or country-specific data for national stakeholders to mobilise around? On the one hand, the centralising tendencies of multilateral processes need to be acknowledged and challenged. On the other hand, those who campaigned long and hard for the inclusion of peace, justice and inclusive societies in the SDG framework should be under no illusion that all governments – and especially those in countries where the goal matters most – will welcome accountability processes at the national level that are seen to challenge the political status quo.
With support from the following TAP Network members: World Vision, V.Dem, ID2020, GFI and DIHR. We would also like to thank Jatinder Padda, for her excellent copy-editing, Fearless Future for their graphic design, and TAP members for responding to our consultation survey.