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Governance Targets and Indicators for Post-2015: An Initial Assessment

Governance targets
and indicators for
post 2015
An initial assessment
Marta Foresti and Leni Wild, with Laura
Rodriguez Takeuchi and Andrew Norton
January 2014

Shaping policy for development Governance targets and indicators for
post 2015
A n initial assessment
Marta Foresti and Leni Wild, with Laura Rodriguez Takeuchi and Andrew Norton January 2014

The authors are very grateful to a number of ODI colleagues who have provided helpful comments and
suggestions on this draft: Gina Bergh, Lisa Denney, Pilar Domingo and Claire Melamed. We are also grateful to
Matt Andrews and Alan Hudson for their suggestions and thoughts.
This material has been funded by UK aid from the UK Government, however the views expressed do not
necessarily reflect the UK Government's official policies.

ODI Report i
targets and indicators for post 2015 i Table of contents
1 Introduction ii
2 On measuring governance 1
2.1 Lessons from MDG experience 1
2.2 Building a nationally led process 2
2.3 How to measure governance indicators? 3
3 Existing data sources and identified gaps 5
4 Conclusions: an initial assessment and criteria for selection 16
4.1 Proposed governance targets and indicators: emerging issues 16
4.2 Criteria selecting targets and indicators 17
References 19 Tables
Table 1: Measuring Governance: selected data sources
Table 2: Openness, transparency and access to information 9
Table 3: State capacity and institutional effectiveness 11
Table 4: Freedom of expression, association and participation 12
Table 5: Justice and the rule of law 13
Table 6: Equity and inclusion 15 Boxes
Box 1: Target setting in the MDGs
Box 2: Ismorphic mimicry and signalling 2
Box 3: Subjective and perception based data sources 6-7
Box 4: Approaches and options for measuring rule of law 7

ODI Report
ii Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 ii 1 Introduction
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are recognised as having significantly shaped the global policy
debate and resource allocations for development cooperation, through raising the profile of key aspects of
development. At national level, they have generated new data and helped build greater commitment to tackling
core development challenges. A defining feature of the goals has been that they provide clear, concrete and
measurable objectives, with a range of targets and indicators for areas like health, education and poverty
reduction. Overall, however, the silence of the MDGs on governance has been seen as a weakness that should be
corrected in a future set of goals.
Indeed, while governance concerns were debated in the formulation of the MDGs (and are mentioned in the
preamble and Millennium Declaration), they were not included as specific targets and indicators. Yet experience
suggests that governance issues can be crucial drivers of development progress and MDG attainment (Bergh et
al. 2012), although the evidence base for how governance factors have shaped attainment of specific MDG goals
remains relatively limited. For example, a review of 24 countries which have made significant development
progress highlighted the role of political leadership and ‘smart’ institutions (ODI 2011). Moreover, others have
argued that the lack of attention to governance in the MDG framework has translated into a lack of focus on
issues of inequality and power, undermining some of the spirit of the initial MDG discussions (Watkins 2013;
Darrow 2012).
As well as being important for other development outcomes, better governance is an aspiration in its own right.
he option ‘an honest and responsive government’ is currently fourth worldwide in the MY World survey 1
what people feel is most important for themselves and their families. Among poor people in low-Human
Development Index countries, the option comes third, with only health and education ranked as more important.
In recognition of these issues, the High Level Panel’s report on a post 2015 framework argued that improved
governance was a core element of well-being and proposed standalone goals for governance and for justice and
security 2
. This represents important progress in taking seriously the importance of governance for development.
Moreover, despite the limited evidence on MDG attainment and governance, there has been a longstanding
debate on the nature of the relationship between development and different forms of governance, including
. There continue to be different schools of thought and opinions about the nature of this relationship
(Rocha Menocal 2013a), and in practice, “there is wide spread agreement that political, economic and social
institutions matter for development, even if it is less clear which institutions matter most, when and why” (Ibid.).
This is reflected in current debates about how to translate governance into a post 2015 framework. There is on-going debate as to whether all countries should aspire to particular kinds of institutions (such as an
independent judiciary and parliament) and processes (such as competitive multi-party elections), or whether
there is no one ‘form’ of governance preferable for all and rather, each country needs to develops institutions
which reflect their own contexts and political settlements (see Wild and Foresti 2013 for further discussion on
this debate).
Governance, justice and security issues are recognised as being closely inter-related, but for the purposes of this paper, security issues are not examined
in depth, and potential options for security in the post 2015 framework are discussed in other recent ODI publications, such as Denney 2013. 3
There is a growing body of literature that analyses whether and how different governance factors have contributed to developm ent, in particular sectors
(e.g. health, education) or in terms of broader economic growth – such as North et al 2009; JPAL 2011; McGee and Gaventa 2012; Acemoglu and
Robinson 2013. In the main, this does not look at specific MDG attainment and governance drivers, but it does usefully provide broader evidence of
potential linkages, while also drawing attention to the importance of context and challenges of blanket assumptions that governance factors will always
shape development outcomes in particular ways.

ODI Report
iii Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 iii Increasingly, there is stronger evidence for specific ways in which particular types of governance factors can
contribute to development. This usefully drills down into particular forms and functions within a range of
political systems, and illustrates the wide range of analysis and evidence that can now be drawn upon. For
There is some evidence that greater transparency, access to and use of information can help support
improved socio-economic processes and outcomes, although this is often context specific and
depends on the incentives of relevant stakeholders (McGee and Gaventa 2012; JPAL 2011).
 Some have argued that more inclusive institutions can contribute to greater development
(Acemoglu and Robinson 2013) while others note that the extent to which institutions are
personalised or non- personalised can be a key ‘tipping point’ (North et al 2009).
 The role of state capacity and effectiveness has been recognised, in terms of ensuring that states’
have the capacity and capabilities to deliver effectively to citizens (Andrews 2013), and that there
are coherent policy environments and sanctions for performance between the government and
service providers (Booth 2013).
 Other evidence points to the importance of collective action, collaboration and participation of
multiple stakeholders, including from the government, providers, citizens and others to deliver
public goods (Booth 2013).
 The existence of the rule of law, and basic protections for citizens including human rights
protections, to ensure sustainable development for all, has been emphasised too (Darrow 2012).
This evidence is starting to point to those elements of governance that may matter most, and for what. It
suggests that breaking down governance as a concept into different dimensions and themes is likely to be useful
in developing measurable, and actionable, proposals

ODI Report 1
targets and indicators for post 2015 1 2 On measuring governance
That governance is such a complex and debated concept can lead to conclusions that it ‘cannot be measured’.
However, while a catch-
all ‘governance’ measure is unlikely to be very meaningful, it is important to recognise
that in relation to specific dimensions of governance (such as the rule of law, transparency, inclusion or state
capacity and effectiveness), progress has been made in recent years in developing a range of relevant and useful
indicators and measures, especially at the national level. In addition, there is growing agreement that indicators
based on assessments of specific governance issues can play a useful role in policy and resource allocation
processes. However, developing and measuring governance indicators, especially at global level, it is not
without its challenges and lessons should be learnt from past experience to help guide a constructive process for
agreeing a post 2015 framework. In particular, the MDG framework of targets and indicators offers useful
lessons in relation to both the opportunities created, as well as some of the potential tensions, for measurement.
2.1 Lessons from MDG experience
Indeed, the MDGs are recognised as effective in part because they offered clear and measurable targets and
indicators. Nonetheless, including something as a target or indicator does not automatically lead to its
improvement and the prize is not just to find governance targets and indicators that can be ‘measured’. Rather, it
may be important to reflect on the pathways through which set targets and indicators are thought to lead to better
outcomes and on the incentives that might be generated by different measurement approaches. For the MDGs,
the common ‘pathway’ has been that greater specification of progress measures helped to focus attention an d
awareness, and to mobilise resources, that these were monitored globally, giving an overall ‘score’ and allowing
countries to be compared across time and with each other, and that this helped to realise improved outcomes, by
increasing momentum for reform.
For governance in particular, the debate on the inclusion of targets and indicators may therefore need to focus
less on the full range of issues which are – and will remain – important to debates on governance and rather on
those areas where greater measurement, monitoring and specified targets are likely to make a difference, if we
are likely to follow a similar model to the MDGs –
albeit an adapted and improved version.
Indeed, it is perhaps not surprising that those areas where achieving progress is more complex, requires multiple
inputs and change processes, and often involves deep behaviour and mind-set change as well as power
imbalances –
such as maternal health or sanitation – have been those which have lagged behind in MDG
progress. Arguably this reflects, in part, that they may not respond to the pathway set out above as well as other
areas. This reinforces a focus not on aiming to put as many issues onto the agenda as possible, but rather
thinking strategically about which aspects of governance are most likely to benefit from an MDG-style
Moreover, how the MDGs have been measured also has implications. For example, MDG targets focused on
global attainment, regardless of where progress had taken place. In practice, this meant that they ignored the
need to build incentives to ensure that progress was evenly distributed across societies. ODI’s recent briefing on
measurement under the MDGs is instructive here (see Box 1 ).

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targets and indicators for post 2015 2 Box 1: Target setting in the MDGs
Progress in the MDGs is measured at the global level by weighting countries according to their size. This
means that in practice, global progress was driven by more populous countries. This approach was designed
to emphasise the reduction of deprivation, r egardless of where people lived. Another approach would be to
give each country the same weighting. This would mean that a larger number of countries need to progress in
order to meet the global goal. Hence, the way progress is measured may change the ince ntives for its
achievement (Rodriguez Takeuchi and Samman 2013).
There are risks with all indicators that they create incentives to meet those targets rather than the attainment of
deeper functions. More broadly, others have pointed to the risks of ‘isomorphic mimicry’ or of creating signals
of governance reform without changes to underlying incentives, power dynamics and core governance functions
(Pritchett et all 2010; see Box 2). The political pressures to ‘signal’ attainment of governance indicators r
than their substantive realisation may be particularly high. In practice, this means that governance targets and
indicators need to be carefully constructed, with consideration of their intended and unintended consequences. Box 2: Ismorphic mimicry and signalling
Pritchett et al (2010) use the term ‘isomorphic mimicry’ to describe the adoption of the forms of other
functional states and organizations in ways which camouflage a persistent lack of function. This is further
developed in Andrews (2013a), arguing that institutional reform processes have often encouraged
governments to ‘signal’ their willingness to ‘modernise’ (in part to secure greater development finance) rather
than substantively improving performance. Andrews points to Uganda as a rec ent example in this respect, in
that it has developed some of the best laws with international backing (i.e. for Public Financial Management,
transparency or anti – corruption) yet has among the largest gaps between those laws and practice (Ibid,).
2.2 Building a nationally led process
Building further on this, MDG experience suggests that many of the potential governance targets and indicators
are likely to require greater assessment with national level data, including national accounts, surveys and other
ministrative data. In many developing countries, the capacity of national statistical offices to collect and
analyse such data remains very mixed and this may be one of the most important gaps to be considered in
relation to governance targets and indicators for a post 2015 framework, as it will require significant financial
and human resources to be addressed.
Certainly, the MDGs themselves created significant pressures to develop high quality, internationally-
comparable data where often data previously did not exist or was patchy at best. As a result, data availability for
the majority of indicators has improved and there has been greater investment in statistical capacity, especially
at the country level (Chen et al 2013). However, significant data gaps remain and the quality and reliability of
data continues to be questioned, particularly in regions like sub-Saharan Africa which faces what has been
termed a ‘statistical tragedy’ (Devarajan 2013).
Key sources of data at the national level include household surveys and censuses, as well as different forms of
administrative data (e.g. of birth registration, school enrolment, deliveries in health facilities and so on). Recent
analysis argues that one remaining challenge has been a misalignment between goals and aspirations set at the
global level and a country’s statistical capacity and systems (Chen et al 2013). Linked to this, donors have
tended to support surveys, with inadequate investment and assistance given to other data sources (Ibid.). A lack
of uniform definitions across countries has also posed challenges for aggregating national level administrative
data and comparing progress globally.

ODI Report 3
targets and indicators for post 2015 3 In recognition of these challenges, there have been some recent attempts to develop greater national level
measures of governance, involving national statistical offices from the start. One prominent initiative is the
‘Strategy for the harmonisation of statistics in Africa’, established in 2011 with support from African Heads of
State, and leading to the creation of a number of thematic technical groups including one on governance, peace
and security statistics. This group has a mandate to develop a set of indicators for monitoring governance, peace
and security by national statistical offices, which are currently being developed and will be piloted
. Individual
countries have also shown national leadership and built capacity to measure different aspects of governance. The
Government of Mongolia, for instance, adopted a ‘Millennium Development Goal Nine‘ specifically t o measure
democratic governance and human rights, which draws on nationally developed Democratic Governance
Indicators (customised from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA)
Democracy Assessment Framework) and from a national plan of action. The post 2015 framework, therefore, could offer opportunities to address a previous misalignment between
globally set goals and national capacities, to strengthen national country systems and statistical capacity, so that
“data produ
ced at the national level could be more efficiently translated into reliable and relevant data for global
monitoring while gaps in global monitoring data could lead to national statistical capacity building activities
rather than ad hoc and parallel data c ollection mechanisms” (Chen et al 2013). This may be particularly
important for any governance goals or targets, given the likely levels of political sensitivities and to ensure
sufficient buy-in and compliance.
To date, the process for developing targets and indicators, however, does not seem to have sufficiently consulted
with national statistical communities, nor with other important domestic stakeholders (within government, civil
society, the private sector, and with citizens themselves). There are growing calls for a much more open process
in defining the post 2015 framework itself as a result; something which may be particularly important in
ensuring that what is measured globally corresponds to what people want nationally for governance progress.
2.3 How to measure governance indicators?
While lessons can be learnt from the MDG process itself, there are important lessons from recent experience in
measuring and monitoring governance too. Indeed, debates on how to develop effective and meaningful
measures to better define and assess governance progress in different contexts have persisted for some time,
both in academic and policy circles (Fukuyama 2013; De Renzio 2013; Court and Fritz, 2007; Hayden et al
2008,). The post 2015 process offers an important opportunity to revive this debate. Three considerations are
Firstly, as discussed above, what we mean by governance matters for how we assess progress . It is beyond
the scope of this paper to review or assess all possible definitions of governance and their implications.
Currently, there is no single agreed definition of governance and the term continues to provide different
meanings for different people. This means any effort to better assess progress is unlikely to be straightforward,
and some have argued, this may be a very messy process indeed (Andrews 11/19/13).
Interpretations of governance may focus more on the form that governance should take (such as the existence of
certain legislation, whether there is a formal separation of power, or the ratification of conventions) while others
may emphasise the gap between the form that governance takes and the functions that it performs, including its
relationship with different types of outcomes. These functions may include: the capacity to collect tax, the
implementation of policy, the delivery of quality services, or the execution of budgets. While these
interpretations are not mutually exclusive, recent experience has highlighted the risks of emphasising the
centrality of ‘forms’ and underestimating how these work in practice i.e. their ‘functions’ (Andrews 2013s,
Pritchett et al 2010). Moreover, there may be differing perspectives as to which ‘forms’ m atter most, depending
on the normative perspective taken (for example some argue that the international human rights framework
should be used as a basis to define forms).
Increasingly, there appears to be agreement that rather than identifying one single measure or system of
governance, there is a need to measure different elements of governance processes and systems, from levels of 4
to-the-harmonization- of-governance-peace-security-statistics- in-africa

ODI Report 4
targets and indicators for post 2015 4 openness or participation of citizens, to state capacity and effectiveness. The relative strengths and the level of
prioritisation which should be given to these different measures continue to be debated. Any criteria for
selecting meaningful indicators will need to take these differences into account and will need to be clear about
what is being measured and why. Moreover, each of the areas identified (both for forms and functions) are
themselves deeply ‘political’ and may be contested within and across societies.

Secondly, it is important to balance ambition with what works in practice . The ‘good governance’ agenda
which has dominated development thinking and practice on governance since the 1990s has come under
intensive scrutiny, and today many practitioners, academic and policy makers recognise that it has its limits
(Rocha Menocal 2013b, Grindle 2004). In particular, the combination of desirable institutional reforms, formal
rules and ideal public sector arrangements that good governance entails is often not seen as realistic or as
offering the best option for reform in many development contexts (Pritchett et al 2010). Others have advocated
forms of ‘good enough’ governance, defined in terms of the recognition that institutions and, most importantly,
the rules of the game underpinning them, adapt to different contexts rather than a fixed template for governance
(Grindle 2004) . Such realism and ‘grounded ambition’ may be important to inform choices of indicators that can
meaningfully assess governance progress too.
Finally, different types of indicators for specific dimensions of governance do not necessarily provide an
overall assessment of governance progress , whether at country or global level. This may be a challenge for all
potential goal areas, but may be especially prominent for governance, as it may be particularly difficult to
identify a small selection of indicators that can act as sufficient proxies for the types of improvements it would
be hoped to see.
Here, lessons should be learned from past experience of aggregating different kinds of governance indicators
into composite indexes aimed at ‘measuring’ governance’ . Critics of the World Governance Indicators (WGI),
for instance, have highlighted how problematic this is, from a technical and statistical as well as a substantial
perspective: the standard errors of the estimates that the index produces are very large, each category of
governance measures is built on a wide variety of indicators and data sources (often mixing subjective and
objective data), and finally the validity of the proposed measures is difficult to test in practice (De Renzio 2013;
Kaufmann et al 2007, Thomas 2009).
In short, different aspects of governance matter in different contexts, hence an aggregate score is not likely to be
very meaningful and can be misleading (Andrews 2008). Moreover, cross-country comparisons may not be very
insightful for indicators which say more about progress at the national level. This has a number of implications.
It suggests that individual indicators may be best applied to specify different aspects of governance, and that the
level of application of any indicator matters: not all are likely to be suitable or useful for cross country
comparisons, as only some can be considered universal, while others are likely to be most useful when applied
only at national and subnational level.
Finally, and most importantly, inevitably not all issues deemed to be central to governance progress can be
captured through a selection of targets and indicators, highlighting the need to reflect critically on which aspects
of governance might be most suitable for inclusion in a post 2015 framework.

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targets and indicators for post 2015 5 3 Existing data sources and
identified gaps
In the next section we map some of the options that have been put forward for a governance goal, with a focus
on some of the main targets and indicators identified thus far.
These categories or groups of targets and indicators can include a range of possible data sources and point to
some areas where gaps still remain. In this section, we briefly summarise some of the existing data sources, and
explain some of the categorisation we make of these sources. Assessing the extent to which these sources are
suitable and reliable goes beyond the scope of this paper and further analysis is needed of potential indicators,
including testing their measurability with existing data, and identifying where data gaps remain and how they
might be addressed.
In practice, different kinds of data sources can be useful to assess specific features of governance. In addition, a
range of data sources might be more useful to assess some types of indicators but not others: for in stance,
compliance with international norms and standards for example are useful measures of ‘forms’ of governance,
while measures of institutional performance are better suited to assess governance functions.
In the table below we summarise some of the key existing data sources to assess and measure governance.
Table 1: Measuring Governance: selected data sources General Governance:
Global General Governance:
countries Thematic/issue specific: global or
multiple countries Thematic/issue
specific: regional
Gallup World Poll
icconsulting/en –
Subjective/Perception based Afrobarometer
based Transparency and Corruption Index
Subjective/Perception based Judicial Reform Index
Mix: objective and
subjective data
World Values Survey
Subjective/Perception based Latinobarometer
.org/latino/latinobarometr o.
based World Justice project (Rule of Law) – of – law –
Expert driven and perception based
World Governance Indicators
rnance/wgi/index.aspx#home Mo Ibrahim Index for
African Governance
https://www.moibrahimfoun Global Right to Information Index
https://www.rti – methodology.php

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targets and indicators for post 2015 6 Mix: objective and subjective
data Mix: objective and
subjective data Mix: objective and subjective data
Polity 4
Objective Africa Peer Review
https://aprm –
Self reporting/country
based Resource Governance Index
Expert Driven
Bertlesmann Transformation
https://www.bti –
Mix: objective data and
expert driven analysis Open Budget Index – we –
do/open – budget – survey/research –
Mix: objective data and expert driven
Although much more detailed analysis of each of these data sources would be needed to fully assess their
validity and usability, some preliminary reflections include the following:
Existing indices are based on both ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ data, as well as expert driven
analysis. While some are based on one type of data source only (e.g. the barometers), most are
based on a combination of subjective and objective data, especially when the indices are based on
composite indicators (like the WGI for example). In many cases, this is complemented by some
form of expert analysis or peer review mechanism. In practice the notion of ‘objective data source’
is therefore not particularly helpful, at least in relation to cross national indexes.
 Although some issue specific and thematic indexes exist (included on issues of justice and rule of
law, although they often rely on subjective and single organisation based indexes), not all the main
governance categories identified in the next section are well covered. More investment, resources
and capacity will be needed to be able to develop additional data sources in key thematic areas (for
example on state capacity, freedom of expression and so on).
 The country coverage of the regional and global data sources is very mixed. Hence few of these
indexes are useful to perform meaningful global or even regional assessment. Furthermore, the
frequency of data collection and analysis is varied (even though some more recent indexes such as
the Mo Ibrahim Index for African Governance are assessed in a regular and consistent manner).
Box 3 below provides an overview of the subjective and perception based data sources that can be usefully
applied to measure governance progress in a post 2015 framework. Box 3: Subjective and perception based data sources
The distinction between objective and subjective data is related to the original source of the data. Subjective
data refers to opinions/perceptions of people, either individuals or groups, on a particular topic. Experts’
valuations would be then classified as ‘subjective’, insofar as they refer to their opinions/perceptions, however
well informed that may be.
There are two main global sources of citizen based perception data. One the one hand, the World Value
Survey (WVS) and the Gallup World Poll (GWP) are global perception surveys c onducted in a wide number of
countries around the world following a standard methodology and questionnaire. They ask a representative
sample of citizens on their perceptions on topics ranging from government and politics, to family, religion,

ODI Report 7
targets and indicators for post 2015 7 ethics and we llbeing. On the other hand, the barometers are regional perception surveys. The topics are
similar to those in the global surveys but, although they constitute a network, the specific topics and questions
a sked as well as their framing, may vary across surveys. This is an important issue, especially when thinking
about comparability across surveys and using these types of sources for global reporting.
Nonetheless, this is not an exclusive issue for percept ion surveys. The way in which questions are presented
may have implications for the information that is obtained from them. For example, van Widenfelt et al. (2005)
explain how the translation of the questionnaires to local languages can be a source of res ponse differences
in psychological research. Similarly, Bardasi et al. (2010) showed that having a direct or a proxy respondent
can bias labour statistics.
The above analysis serves to demonstrate the importance of a diversity of approaches and methods to measuring
governance. It reinforces that both quantitative and qualitative data, and objective and subjective measures, have
their relative strengths and weaknesses. Subjective measures, including expert driven measures, have been
dominant to date. This is important, as perceptions of governance clearly matter. But further attention needs to
be paid to options for more objective measures as well. Indeed, some
have argued for the creation of ‘proxies’
for governance, that could better measure underlying functions and outcomes rather than particular forms of
processes; hence, Matt Andrews, for example, has proposed options such as level of birth registrations as a
proxy for state capacity (11/19/13). This would be closer to the current MDG model – targets focus on reducing
maternal mortality or improving access to clean water, for instance, rather than particular forms of service
delivery. In practice, however, separating governance outcomes and processes remains challenging and suggests
that some mix of subjective and objective indicators, and measures of governance forms and functions, is likely
to remain.
The box below presents an overview of different approaches taken to measuring the rule of law. It further
highlights the extent to which there is no single, superior set of indicators and rather, that each approach brings
its own opportunities and challenges. This is widely applicable to other areas of governance too. Box 4: Approaches and options for measuring rule of law
Berg and Desai (2013, forthcoming) usefully highlight the range of measurement approaches for rule of law,
illustrating how wide the range is in just one area of governance. Below we includ e their commentary on the
relative utility of these approaches:
 Broad indices of rule of law at the country level. These include a range of composite measures
that combine several dimensions to produce an overall rule of law measure; this may combine
sever al existing indicators (e.g. World Bank’s Governance Indicators); or expert and public surveys
(e.g. the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index). Berg and Desai note “The broader the
concept, however, the less specific and sensitive to changes. Broad measures have also been
critiqued for emphasizing certain elements of the rule of law over others, or for favouring Western
conceptions of the rule of law. Combining multiple indicators can also lead to methodological
problems in the aggregation of the d ata, and how to interpret such aggregation.”
 Indicators of elements of the rule of law: Such as security of property and individuals (e.g. World
Economic Forum, Index of Economic Freedom, World Bank’s CPIA); contract rights and
enforcement (World Bank’s C PIA and Doing Business); compliance with human rights and civil
liberties (e.g. Cingranelli – Richards CIRI Human Rights Dataset, Freedom House); judicial
independence (e.g. Judicial Independence Index); or corruption (e.g. Global Corruption Barometer,
Glob al Integrity Index). “These indices often rely on perception as measured by expert surveys. As
a result, they are sensitive to the sample of respondents and may be biased.”
 Measures of institutional performance: This might include administrative stati stics on elements
of government performance, such as court efficiency, although the reliability and availability of data
can vary widely. “More fundamentally, focusing on institutional performance, such as the efficiency
of court proceedings, often reveal s little about the broader rule of law (in particular the constellation

ODI Report 8
targets and indicators for post 2015 8 of institutions that citizens turn to) or how it is experienced by citizens.”
 Compliance with international norms: This includes international conventions and related
processes which review whether a country has adopted and implemented legal and policy
provisions required. “However focusing on compliance often leaves out the crucial elements of
implementation and the policy trade – offs that result from competing norms, which can be muc h
harder to assess. “
 Measures of user experience and citizen perception: This would include cross – country surveys
focusing on people’s perceptions and attitudes toward various aspects of the rule of law, including
the regional Barometers. However “percept ions can be highly imprecise and reveal contradictory
findings. For instance, a government’s efforts to combat corruption can results in greater exposure
of cases, resulting in an increase in citizen perception of corruption. They also depend on the
defin ition of the concept to be measured, and the framing of the problem.”
 “Baskets” of indicators tailored to country needs: This could aim to aggregate indicators into
“baskets” of measures from various sources, tailored to country needs, such as the UN Rule of Law
Index. “…the more country specific the indicator, the less they are comparable across countries.
Moreover, using multiple indicators and data source increases the cost of collecting the data.”
These categories are:
Openness, transparency and access to information;
 State capacity and institutional effectiveness;
 Freedom of expression, association and participation;
 Justice and the rule of law;
 Equity and inclusion. In developing this categorisation, we have tried to develop groups which are sufficiently distinct from each
other, although some overlap remains inevitable. For ‘equity and inclusion’ it could be argued that this should be
a component of all the other governance categories identified, however we have kept it distinct because we feel
there may be particular measures of equity which may not otherwise be captured. We have not included a stand-
alone category of ‘accountability’ as we felt it would be an outcom
e of several of the other categories, and was
too difficult to distinguish in its own right for these purposes.
Some of the proposed targets and indicators set out below reflect sectoral as well as governance issues (e.g.
gender, delivery of basic services) and as such they could be relevant for sectoral goals too: however, we have
included them in these tables as they potential represent useful opportunities to broaden the potential of
meaningfully incorporate governance issues throughout the post 2015 framework.
For each category, we try to include a range of proposed targets and indicators, and the individuals or
organisations that have put them forward. We have then attempted an initial categorisation of these targets and
indicators. To do this, we have tried to assess:
Whether an indicator measures a particular ‘form’ of governance or an underlying function or
outcome; or both. For this exercise, we have made our own assessment of this; some of these
categorisations are arguable and in some cases, a case could be made either way.
 A range of possible data sets – either identifying specific indices that might be used (e.g. Open
Budget Index) or broader sources such as household surveys or administrative data. Some of this
data may already be collected; some data could be collected, if appropriate systems and methods
were determined.
 We then try to classify the nature of these likely data sources, including whether the indicator
would be globally comparable or more suitable for national level assessment. This again can be
difficult to assess without further analysis, and would depend on the methodologies and systems of
data collection decided, but we have tried to indicate whether a given indicator would be a useful
global measure i.e. to compare progress in one country against progress in another or whether it

ODI Report 9
targets and indicators for post 2015 9 would be most useful as a national measure i.e. to compare progress within one country, for
instance in ‘closing the gap’ between form and function, or against particular measures. Some
indicators may well do both.
 Finally, we provisionally indicate the likely level of political acceptability or sensitivity. This
provides a preliminary and indicative assessment of likely political sensitivity, based on likely
views of a range of member states; this will obviously vary significantly across different member
states and our assessment should not be treated as definitive. Much more in-depth mapping of this
is needed and for the purposes of this paper, we merely aim to provide a snap-shot view of what is
likely to be more or less sensitive to different groups.
In reflecting on whether targets may sit at the global or national level, we are building on ongoing debates in
relation to the next framework of global goals – including on what kind of subsidiarity should be built in,
particularly to allow countries to select their own targets and indicators under agreed global ‘goal’ language. In
both the High Level Panel report and the European Report on Development (2012) this debate is referenced by
the phrase ‘Global Goals, National Targets’.
It seems to us that the range of areas where achievement of sufficiently broad-based consensus on governance
indicators and targets is likely to be, in principle, feasible for a unified global approach is probably quite nar row
– and, as the tables below show, not evenly applicable to all governance categories. In practice, it may make
more sense to allow countries that wish to set targets and indicators of progress to select from a menu for
achieving progress in that area. O ver time, it could be expected that countries which do not ‘opt in’ to these
areas of commitment to measuring progress might come under both reputational and domestic pressures to re –
think their position (though the degree to which this will be effective would obviously be highly variable). The indicative mapping of targets and indicators 5
set out below require further testing and validation, but we
hope they can help to usefully inform the current debate. It draws from a range of proposals, from different
organisations and groups and where possible, we have tried to include a range of different types and options for
indicators (rather than listing all those which seem to cover similar ground). The list below is not meant to be an
endorsement, but rather we aim to survey a range of options put forward thus far. Table 2: Openness, transparency and access to information
Proposed targets and
indicators Proposed by: Governance
form or
function Possible
sources Type of data Globally
or national
level Like ly
level of
Target : Increase access to
Indicators : Right to
information legislation in
place; National Open Data
Policy in place; increase in
score on Open Budget
Index; Government budget
data publicly available;
National Open Access
mandate implements Joint proposal:
Access/IFL A/De
Initiatives/Civic s Both Open Budget
Index Mix (objective
review) National or
global Low
In many proposals it is not possible to distinguish between the targets and indicators being proposed, as often they overlap and may not be clearly
defined. Where possible, we have indicated the demarcation between the two.

ODI Report
10 Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 10 Target : All national and local
governments publish and
make available information
on taxation and revenues,
budgeting, expenditures and
contracts Charles Kenny
Brookings ;
CIGI ; Post 2015
HLP Function Revenue
Watch Index
Open Budget
National data Mix (objective
review) Global Medium
Target/Indicator: Adoption
of a global open data
standard/Chart Based on G8
communique Form Partial: OGP Objective Global Low
Target: Improve the use of
Indicators: Improved skills
and literacy of citizens;
Increased public
participation and
commitment to open
government Joint proposal:
s Function UNESCO
media and
action plans
Ci vil Society
E –
Index Subjective and
objective National Low –
Target : Openness in both
the formulation and
execution of budgets Matt Andrews,
Harvard Function Some: Open
Budget index Mix (objective
review) National Medi um
Indicator : Public advertising
of all government
procurement UN Global
Compact Both National data Objective National Medium
Target: Ensure all countries
have transparent
governance, with open
budgeting, freedom of
information and
comprehensive corporate
Indicators : Increase in Open
Budget Index score;
Existence of Freedom of
Information Act; Existence
of legislation on corp orate
reporting that requires
companies to report on
social and environmental
impacts Save the
Children Form National
records Objective National Low –

ODI Report
11 Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 11 Table 3: State capacity and institutional effectiveness
Proposed targets and
indicators Proposed
by: Governance
form or
function Possible data
sources Type of
data Globally
ble or
level? Likely level
Target and Indicator : By
2030, all children worldwide
are registered at birth and
legally identified Matt
A ndrews,
Harvard ,
CGD , Post
2015 HLP Functio n Administrative
records, surveys Objective Global Low
Target : Increase in
government ‘bill paying’
(e.g. to staff, external
contractors) Matt
Harvard Function Objective National Medium
Target : Increase in
implementation of
regulations Matt
Harvard Function Some: Doing
Business and
Enterprise data Mix National Medium
Targ et and Indicator :
Reduction in the gap
between proposed and
executed budgets
(aggregate spending and to
particular functions/areas) Matt
Harvard Function Some: PEFA
indicators PI1
and PI2 Objective National
global Medium – High
Indicator : Population figures
used as a basis for political
representation and budget
allocation are updated
annually on the basis of best
available information –
under – pinned by regular
periodic population census’ ODI (not
published) Function Cens us and
national accounts Objective Global Medium
Target : Increased use of e –
governance at national and
local levels UN Global
Compact Form Unsure Mix National Low
Target : Increased
satisfaction with government
performance (possibly by
sector/area) Function Some: Regional
World Values
Surveys Subjectiv
e or
driven National Medium
Target : Increase in levels of
domes tic resource
mobilisation Brookings; Function Some national
data Objective National Medium
Target and Indicator :
Increase in tax levels as a
proportion of GDP ODI (not
published) Function National
accounts, tax
records Objective National Medium

ODI Report
12 Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 12 Table 4: Freedom of expression, association and participation
Proposed targets and
indicators Proposed
by: Governance
form or
function Possible data
sources Type of
data Globally
ble or
national l
level? Likely level
Target and Indicator:
Improvements in Freedom
of Assembly and Freedom
of Association Index CIGI Function Some: CIRI
Human Rights
Dataset Subjectiv
driven National Medium – High
Target : Improved press
Indicators: reduction in
number of journalists
killed, number of
journalists who report
sanctions CIGI , Function Some: CIRI
Human Rights
Freedom House,
Reporters without
Borders Objective,
e and
driven National Medium
Target : Ensure people
enjoy freedom of speech,
association, peaceful
protest and access to
independent media and
Indicators: Increase in
CIRI indicators of freedom
of speech and press,
freedom of political choice;
Increase in Rule of Law
index score on
participation Post 2015
Save the
Children Function Freedom House Subjectiv
e/ Expert
driven National Medium – High
Target: Ensure the
participation of citizens in
monitoring e ssential
services, including
healthcare, water and
Indicators: Existence of
national and local
oversight bodies; Number
of people who report
participation; Proportion of
public who believe they
can receive timely
services without paying a
bribe OSF Function National surveys
data Objective,
e and
driven National Medium

ODI Report
13 Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 13 Target : Increase in
political participation:
Indicators : % voter turn –
out in national and local
elections; % of voting age
population registered to
vote CIGI Form Administrative
records, electoral
records Objective National Low
Target : increase in
women’s political
Indicator : Increase in % of
seats held by women in
parliaments or national
assemblies UNCSD Form National data Objective National Low
Target: Increase public
participation in political
processes and civic
engagement at all levels Post 2015
HLP Surveys Subjectiv
e National Medium High
Table 5: Justice and the rule of law
Proposed targets and
indicators Proposed
by: Governance
form or
function Possible d ata
sources Type of
data Globally
ble or
level? Likely level
Target : Increased
implementation of anti –
corruption legislation Matt
Harvard Function Global Integrity,
TI Global
Barometer Subjective/
Expert National Medium – High
Target and Indicator :
Reduction in number of
people who report paying a
bribe CIGI Function TI Bribe Payers
Index, World
Bank Country
Policy and
Assessment Subjective/
Expert National High
Target: Reduce bribery and
Indicator : All officials can be
held accountable Post 2015
HLP Function TI Index, national
data, World Bank
Country Policy
and Institutional
Assessment Subjective/
Expert National High
Target: Reduction in
suspension or ar bitrary
application of the rule of law
and violations of human
rights Saferworld Function Fund for Peace Subjective
objective National High

ODI Repor
targets and indicators for post 2015 14 Target : Strengthening of
rule of law
Indicator : Increase in Rule
of Law Index rating or
criminal justice score Save the
Children Form Rule of Law
World Justice
Programme Subjective/
Expert Global High
Target: Ensure justice
institutions are accessible,
independent, well – resourced
and respect due – process
Indicator : No of judicial
sector personnel per
100,000 or distance from
basic legal service
providers; average time to
resolve disputes; % of
people reporting confidence
in accessing effective legal
aid services Post 2015
OSF Form and
function National data and
surveys Subjective
objective Global Medium
Target: Enhance the
capacity, professionalism
and accountability of the
security forces, police and
judiciary Post 2015
HLP Function Surveys and
ative data Subjective
Objective National Medium –
Hi gh
Target and indicator:
Increase in perceived
independence of and
confidence in the judiciary https://www.
– 2015 – 4th –
s – and –
indicators –
FINAL.pdf Function Regional
surveys, Judicial
Index, WEF –
n Transformation
Index (BTI),
Gallup World
Poll, Freedom
House, world
Justice Project Subjective/
Expert Nationa l Medium – High
Target and indicator:
Increase in number of men,
women and businesses with
recognised proof of their
rights to land and other
assets Function Some: World
Economic Forum,
Index of
Freedom, World
Bank’s CPIA Objective National Medium
Target and indicator:
Reduction in rates of pre –
sentence detention Function Some national
data Objective National Medium – High
Target Universal access to
complaint mechanisms (e.g.
ombudsman) Civil
Group Form Some national
data Objective Both Medium

ODI Report
15 Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 15 Table 6: Equity and inclusion
Proposed targets and
indicators Proposed
by: Governanc
e form or
function Possible data
sets? Type of
data Global
ble or
level? Likely level
Target : Monitor and end
discrimination and
inequalities in public service
delivery, the rule of law,
access to justice, and
participat ion in political and
economic life on the basis of
gender, ethnicity, religion,
disability, national origin,
social or other status.
Indicator : Data
disaggregated by region,
gender, age, ethnicity and
other key markers Sustainable
Network ,
Save the
proposal in
PBSO/UNDP ) Function National level
data, surveys
Objective National Medium – High
Target: Increased
awareness and increased
implementation of UN
human rights conventions
and instruments UN Global
Compact Form Human rights
reports by
UN records on
HR convention
(e.g. Special
Rap porteurs) Subjective/
Objective National Low/Medium
Target: Enhance equity and
social cohesion, and ensure
adequate formal and
informal mechanisms to
manage disputes peacefully UNICEF/
PBSO/UNDP Function Subjective National Medium
Target : Reduce population
disparities between boy and
girl children aged 5 Charles
Kenny, CGD Funct ion Surveys,
records etc. National Medium
Target: Ensure more
equitable public spending
Indicator :
Budget process allows for
resources to be allocated on
the basis of need (e.g. to
address inequalities by
region, ethnicity, gender and
so on) ODI ,
Saferworld Function National
accou nt, World
Bank Country
Policy and
(CPIA) Objective National Medium

ODI Report
16 Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 16 Target : Achieve reductions
in attainment and outcomes
between the richest and
poorest within a country
Indicators : Measures of
child mortality, school
attendance, learning
outcomes and so on ODI Function Some national
data Objective National High
4 Conclusions: an initial
assessment and criteria for
Based on this preliminary mapping, there is no doubt that the debate on governance and post 2015 has generated
a range of new and innovative ideas about measuring governance progress, highlighting a number of
opportunities as well as some challenges and gaps to be taken into account. Before we (and others) go further in
testing and analysing the viability of different options, it is important to reflect on the core purpose of this
exercise and to ensure that we can clearly articulate why and how to include governance in a post-2015
framework. This will also help to guide the most appropriate strategy in the negotiating process.
4.1 Proposed governance targets and indicators: emerging issues
The proposed targets and indicators cover a very wide range of issues across five different categories of
governance. The analysis above should help to clarify which might be prioritised and why, along with some
pragmatic considerations about capacity as well as availability and reliability of national data. Where data is not
currently available, assessment is needed to identify what types of new data sources could be generated and
how. Before we turn to possible criteria to select targets and indicators, however, it is useful to highlight some
emerging themes based on the analysis this far.
Firstly, while much of the debate about governance in the post-2015 framework focuses on accountability – with
an emphasis on transparency and participation – other issues have emerged, including equity and state capacity
or institutional effectiveness. While these are not always associated with a mainstream governance agenda, they
are increasingly seen as important gaps to be addressed, as commentary from academics such as Matt Andrews
(11/19/2013) has highlighted, and as shown in the focus on state capability for the g7+ grouping. These elements
may go hand-
in-hand with other core governance issues – there is growing recognition that increases in citizens’
voice and demand, for example, may not be very meaningful without support to increase elements of the
‘supply’ or the capacity of governments to deliver. Proxy indicators may be very useful to assess governance
progress in these areas, as there may be multiple pathways to improving capacity or addressing equity. Many of
these indicators therefore focus on functions alongside forms, which may be particularly helpful where it can
help to ‘close the gap’ between plans and their implementation (Andrews 2013a).

ODI Report
17 Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 17 Secondly, not all proposed targets and indicators are likely to be able to compare progress across countries and
some may be better suited to measurement at national and subnational levels only. There is much debate about
the opportunity of the post-2015 process and framework to strengthen national level capacity to collect data, so
the role of these indicators is potentially very important.
Thirdly, it is important to note that the current focus in policy and advocacy circles is very much on promoting a
alone governance goal. Yet several of the ‘function’ indica tors listed above could be helpfully integrated
as part of a framework to measure progress in different sectors, emphasising an often missing governance
dimension. For instance, targets to close the gap between budget plans and execution could be applied to areas
like health and education, and not just as stand-alone, and various targets on equity or on open data could be
applied at the sector level too. The importance of this should not be underestimated, as focusing all efforts on
promoting a stand-alone governance goal alone may miss other important opportunities to advance the
governance agenda in key post-2015 sectors, including those critical to the Sustainable Development Goals, as
well as core areas of service delivery and gender equality.
Finally, debate on the post-2015 framework – including on options for incorporating governance – still remain
far too stuck at the global (and often Northern) level. This process now needs to shift to a much more concerted
effort to engage and consult with national level stakeholders –
from national statistical offices to high levels of
government to civil society, the private sector and beyond. A particular gap identified is the need to assess
current capacity at national level, and potential sources of data, as part of determining the feasibility of different
approaches. The level of national ‘actionability’ also needs to be borne in mind – i.e. who (if anyone) can take
action at the national level to realise the targets set out above. Assessing whether and how proposed target areas
can be ‘put into action’, and who has the ability to take that action, is needed.
4.2 Criteria selecting targets and indicators
Having mapped some of the main proposals for governance targets and indicators thus far, there is now a need to
identify how in practice these might be measured and monitored and which targets and indicators are likely to be
better measures of progress.
The criteria for selecting these targets and indicators might include:
First and foremost, there needs to be a clear pathway of change underpinning the proposed
indicator, specifically considering how in practice it could lead to better monitoring and
measurement, and hence greater action and resource mobilisation to improve governance outcomes.
Thus, for each target, we will need to envisage what the likely pathway for change might be.
 The existence of at least some reliable data sources or potential data sources to be able to
meaningfully test the applicability of the indicator is also a key determinant. This needs to take into
account the level of capacity needed to collect and manage data and any practical constraints of
national statistical offices and other key actors.
 There needs to be a balance between forms and functions of governance, recognising that much
of the debate thus far has focused on the former and that there are significant knowledge gaps on
the latter. When a form of governance is considered important (e.g. budget transparency), it will be
useful to ensure that some related function (e.g. budget execution) is also taken into account.
 There needs to be a balance between subjective and objective data sources : while subjective data
sources can be helpful and there is scope to use them more extensively for assessing governance
progress, the number of reliable sources of subjective indicators are still limited (see Box 2). This
will affect how in practice this data can be used to monitor governance progress effectively.
 The likely level of sensitivity: while at this stage it would be a mistake to completely rule out
options, as not much is yet known about the political process and likely grounds for negotiation, it
is important to take into account whether options are politically very sensitive. As Bergh and
Couturier (2013) have recently highlighted, those areas which are perceived to touch ‘too closely’
to issues of domestic politics and sovereignty may prove particularly controversial.

ODI Report
18 Governance
targets and indicators for post 2015 18 
At this stage, we leave open the option to select national as well as global targets and indicators ,
although we note that UNDP and others are likely to do more in-depth testing of national level
indicators in the near future and it would be important build on these efforts.

ODI Report
19 Governance
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