HEUNI report analyzes the indicators for SDG 16 ”Peace and Justice”

Published 15.3.2017

A research, published in HEUNI report series, by Michael Jandl analyses in depth the process that led to the adaptation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The insightful research explains in details the consultation process, involving hundreds of global, regional and national consultation and written submissions, that shaped the final setting of the 17 global goals. After giving the reader an understanding on the width of the debate surrounding the setting of global targets, Jandl zooms in to the indicators measuring the progress towards these goals, in particular those related to rule of law.

The study “Towards the Monitoring of Goal 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals" published in the HEUNI report series, looks into the process and substance of the debate leading to the adaptation of the SDGs, based on a review of written sources, interviews with a number of experts involved in the development of the goals, targets and indicators, and inputs from written questionnaires. The focus of the study is on the development of the global indicator framework for SDG 16, and in particular on indicators relating to rule of law, access to justice and corruption.

Similar to the development process of the SDGs themselves, a broad participatory approach with multiple stakeholders was adopted for the elaboration of the indicator framework, resulting in a process that often complicated the difficult technical task of selecting suitable indicators by confounding them with non-technical considerations of a political nature. A large part of the study details the proposal, discussion and selection of alternative indicators for the targets under SDG 16 and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the resulting indicator framework that was provisionally adopted by the UN Statistical Commission in March 2016.

Three areas of concern are highlighted in the study. First, the adoption of some broad, multi-dimensional targets under SDG 16 creates a dilemma for the monitoring of the target when the number of indicators is too limited. Second, issues of data availability and the concerns of many (often smaller or developing) countries about their capacity to measure complex indicators through large-scale and expensive population surveys have already led to the restriction of survey-based sources in favor of administrative sources. However, many issues related to peace, justice and institutions can be appropriately captured only through survey-based measurement. During implementation of the indicator framework, issues of capacity-building and data availability in developing countries should therefore be given high priority in order to avoid large data gaps. Third, in order to monitor progress towards the high aspirations of the Agenda 2030, and in particular on the central theme that "no one will be left behind", special attention should be paid to the capacity to collect data that are disaggregated by various relevant dimensions such as sex, age, income, ethnicity or other relevant disadvantages, both in survey-based data and administrative data sources.

HEUNI is committed to work as part of The United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network towards the SDGs. Heuni has an input in developing methodology for collection globally comparable data for the indicators measuring the progress of achieving the SDGs. Crime data as well as victimisation surveys provide data for assessing implementation of SDG Goal 5 and 16.

Towards the Monitoring of Goal 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.pdf (pdf, 2.07 Mt)

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