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March 2015 Briefing - Measuring peace from 2015: An indicator framework at work

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1. Introduction

The UN Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has affirmed that the post-2015 development framework should include a Goal 16 to:

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

The members of the OWG agreed twelve targets under this goal. Throughout the post-2015 debate, Saferworld has argued for a holistic range of targets that can prevent violence and promote lasting peace. Such targets would promote access to justice and security, political participation, fundamental freedoms, anti-corruption, and equality between social groups. Furthermore, transnational issues such as the illicit and irresponsible flow of arms, conflict commodities and finance should also be addressed. While many of these issues are already captured in the OWG’s proposal, this brief includes a suggestion for how the targets could be further improved and consolidated below.

The remaining challenge for the international community is to complete the ‘monitoring framework’ with individual indicators and associated data sources that can monitor global progress towards meeting the new targets and goals.1 Policymakers need to know where their attention should be focused, to strengthen the “basis for evidence-based decision-making”.2 Civil society groups, parliamentarians, the media, and other stakeholders need the framework to hold them to account. An effective target and indicator framework will be crucial if the goals are to have a positive impact.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have played a big role in improving data on global development priorities: the SDGs could do the same for a wider set of priorities.3 Building on trends over the last 15 years, this could mean that much more information is available to show progress on the issues that matter most to people, all around the world. Given that there are limited official data sources for some targets, monitoring this expansive agenda should mean that sources beyond member states and multilateral agencies are also used to track progress in real time.

National or regional indicators measuring priority issues particular to specific contexts will play a big role in monitoring the framework. These should be selected through consultation with a range of stakeholders, including for example local civil society groups or relevant regional and international organisations.

Yet we cannot meet global goals and targets unless some global indicators are also created. Follow-up and review processes will depend on this data, and cross-country comparison will help the international community focus attention where it is most needed. This will under- pin political commitment to meeting targets, and ensure accountability. For these reasons, the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) will be tasked with identifying a set of global indicators to measure the world’s progress towards global targets. Data for these common indicators will need primarily to be gathered at national level, and then aggregated at international level. As well as identifying key issues for consideration in the design of a global indicator framework, this briefing paper presents options for sets of indicators to monitor a holistic vision of peace.

Note: the numbers of each figure in this briefing correspond to the numbers of each indicator.