One need only open the newspaper to see that in many countries trust in government is falling precipitously. Citizens increasingly view government officials as out of touch with their own experiences, and that public services are not meeting their needs. At the same time, when people become alienated from political life, they also starve it of the active participation that it requires to function properly.
At the same time, the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, calls for all countries to take actions to improve the rule of law, as well as the institutions of good governance.
To improve governance, however, we first have to be able to measure it. Capturing, analyzing and communicating data on governance in all its various facets—voice and accountability, government effectiveness, rule of law, and so on—is therefore crucial.
It is in this context that the Praia Group on Governance Statistics was created.
Established in 2015, the Praia Group works to "contribute to establishing international standards and methods for the compilation of statistics on the major dimensions of governance". The group provides a forum for a wide range of actors to share and develop expertise in governance statistics, refine governance indicators, document best practices, and promote their use among governments.
This year, on June 5-6th, the Praia Group held a meeting in Paris to discuss the progress made on the Handbook of Governance Statistics. During the meeting, each chapter of the Handbook, linked to one dimension of governance, was discussed in relation to the mandate of the Group. In addition to leading the chapter on ‘openness’, PARIS21 is supporting the Cape Verde Instituto Nacional de Estatística in the overall coordination of the Handbook design together with UNDP.
The meeting therefore served to ensure that all chapters complement each other, and give a consolidated view on governance statistics. The discussions held in Paris represent one of the final steps before the Group submits the Handbook to UNSC for a global consultation in November this year, with the final handbook submitted to the 2020 UNSC Session.
Restoring faith in public institutions and ensuring their effective functioning requires deliberate action by policymakers, private and civil society entities, and citizens themselves. The Handbook of Governance Statistics will provide them with a coherent and robust framework for this.