47unsc10 March 2016: As part of the UN Statistical Commission’s (UNSC) 47th session, governments discussed governance statistics and related issues, as well as their relation to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels).

UNSC 47 is taking place from 8-11 March 2016, in New York, US. Discussing the Report of the Praia City Group on Governance Statistics, on 10 March, delegates: welcomed and supported the proposed road map for the Group for the development of a handbook on governance statistics for National Statistical Offices (NSOs); requested the Group to report back to the UNSC at its 49th session; welcomed the Praia Group’s support for the SDG 16 indicators; urged the Group to keep the process open and transparent and hold consultations with non-members; and stressed the importance of capacity-building and training pertaining to governance statistics.

Cabo Verde announced that the Group’s next meeting, to be hosted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), will take place on 4-6 July 2016, in Paris, France.

Switzerland said the proposed road map for the Group appears “quite ambitious” as conceptual work is still necessary on the definition and measurement of governance, as there is currently no clear definition of governance. He explained that: the present understanding of governance is a very broad one; there is confusion between Goals and processes; and the measurement of individual policies, for example “crime” in SDG 16, has been suggested. He highlighted said a precise understanding of governance includes only processes, such as consultations and the involvement of stakeholders and citizens.

The UK said developing a methodology for the SDG 16 indicators should be the Group’s priority and the Group should invest resources and time also in developing national additional indicators. Sweden noted that several SDG 16 indicators might be better measured by independent institutes rather than government institutions. The US underscored that the participation of both developing and developed nations in developing the needed statistical infrastructure will be needed. She added that the US stands ready to play a bigger role in that, “if agreeable.”

Cote D’Ivoire stressed the need for cross-sectorial cooperation between ministries and for a curriculum to train the personnel. The EU said it is ready to support regional and national work on governance in Africa.

The Praia Group on Governance Statistics was formally established by UNSC in March 2015, which noted that goveranance statistics are a “new domain” for official statistics. The overall objective of the Praia Group is to encourage countries to produce governance statistics based on sound and documented methodologies. The Group aims at developing a handbook on governance statistics for national statistical offices, which will cover the conceptualization, measurement methodology and dissemination of governance statistics.

The first meeting took place in Praia City, Cabo Verde, in June 2015, where members prepared a road map for 2016-2020. [UNSC 47 Webpage] [Report of the Praia Group on governance statistics] [IISD RS Stories on UNSC 47] [IISD RS Twitter Feed] [IISD RS Story on Praia Group’s First Meeting]