Democratic Governance Assessments Good governance needs good data. UNDP has provided advisory and financial support to catalyze country-led assessment processes in more than 20 countries in all regions. For UNDP, governance assessments are an important tool in the effort to improve democratic governance as a contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Governance assessments are a mechanism to strengthen democracy. A successful assessment is driven by the country itself and carried out with the active participation of national and local actors. A country’s engagement in the data collection process, analysis of results and ongoing monitoring add value to the assessment far beyond its findings. To assess and measure progress A governance assessment serves many purposes. It can enhance a country’s capacity to evaluate, measure and monitor progress towards democratic governance today and in the future. An assessment makes it easier to understand the quality of governance. With better understanding comes more effective action to improve the practice of democratic governance. National indicators developed by the country reveal, through statistical analysis, where problems may need to be addressed. An assessment can, for example, help to identify institutions and practices that perpetuate unfair and sub-standard provision of services to marginalized and vulnerable groups. The process also can provide opportunities for the poor to voice their concerns. Ultimately, governance assessments are an
Workshop in Djibouti on designing a governance assessment system. Photo: UNDP.
Demand for country-level data Interest has grown dramatically in the past five years among donors, international organizations and national governments. Some governments desire to serve their citizens or to respond with accurate data to indexes that rank and ‘shame’ countries. Changes in donor policies are increasing the need for country-level data to evaluate governance performance. About the Global Programme The Global Programme on Democratic Governance Assessments supports countries that want to conduct their own democratic governance assessment. The programme is managed by the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre, which is part of the Democratic Governance Group in the Bureau for Development Policy. Key activities include: • Assisting with strengthening national ownership through multi-stakeholder engagement; • Supporting countries in defining and selecting indicators that are country-contextualized, pro-poor and gender sensitive; • Assisting in the development of national databases on governance; • Promoting the uptake and use of governance indicators in policy making.
outstanding avenue for enhancing transparency and
Its strategic principles include national ownership, capacity
development and harmonization.
National ownership is an inclusive and consultative process involving government, civil society, elected representatives and other key stakeholders for the purpose of deciding what should be assessed and how. Capacity development entails assistance to national stakeholders, including statistical offices, government and
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. GAP is a one-stop shop on
civil society, on the production and application of
governance indicators: www.gaportal.org
governance related data. Harmonization addresses alignment with national development plans and related instruments such as the
Indonesia’s national planning agency has developed the Indonesian Democracy Index using 13 variables to collect data on civil liberty, political rights and democratic institutions for all provinces.
A new assessment tool was designed to enhance Macedonia’s reporting on social inclusion and service provision in health and education.
Malawi’s Ministry of Justice is leading work on a monitoring and evaluation system of democratic governance to strengthen a sector-wide approach.
Mongolia published a national report on the state of democracy, a product of its institutionalized cyclic MDG 9 assessment process.
The Congress in Paraguay is studying a report on governance performance developed through a multistakeholder, consensus-building process.
Nicaragua’s National Assembly is leading an gender sensitive governance assessment through the unit that monitors public expenditure.
A unique Urban Governance Assessment framework has been developed by stakeholders in Nigeria.
PRSPs, MDG progress reports, local development plans or other political commitments. UNDP in action The Governance Assessment Portal (GAP) is a knowledge hub that provides practical information and enables practitioners and experts to connect and share knowledge. Topics include assessment tools, existing initiatives for measuring governance, issues such as corruption or local governance, and how to use indicators. UNDP also produces knowledge products in multiple languages, including User’s Guides on topics such as governance indicators, measuring corruption, selecting tools and assessment frameworks, and country-led and civil society assessments. Examples of country activities: •
Angola involved citizens in community evaluations,
developing municipal data collection capacity. Barbados is pioneering governance assessments for
Senegal is developing a national governance assessment framework for MDG sectors
small-island developing States, seeking a starting-
Tajikistan has embarked on an assessment to end water corruption through better governance.
point for reform. Guidelines on how to use screening tools in Bhutan’s national assessment framework have led to trainings
and more synchronized data collection. Chile has carried out a multi-party democracy assessment for their bi-centennial celebration of independence.
Djibouti held a national workshop to link the African Peer Review Mechanism to development of a
governance assessment system. In Egypt, UNDP is supporting the development of
For more information, visit: www.undp.org/governance www.undp.org/oslocentre www.gaportal.org Democratic Governance Group Bureau for Development Policy United Nations Development Programme 304 East 45th Street New York, NY 10017 USA July 2011
indicators to enable citizen monitoring of public service delivery and local development in the context of the political transition.
Empowered lives. Resilient nations.