Does Democratic Governance Count?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 12:00PM - 1:30PM
Room 1-23

Despite its prominence in the Millennium Declaration, democratic governance didn’t make it as a target, or even a “mention” like gender, into the MDGs. That the new Sustainable Development Goals now include SDG16 on justice, peace and accountable institutions represents an appreciable achievement for the activists who pressed so hard for its inclusion.  But does any goal count if you aren’t validly measuring and tracking it? Survey-based indicators – to canvass citizen perceptions across nations, alongside administrative or treaty data – have been abandoned for two of the most telling Goal 16 targets, access to justice (16.3) and fundamental freedoms (16.10); and were only belatedly conceded for a third, personal safety (16.1) after some organised “push-back”. How was SDG16 born, what underlies these latest developments, what efforts lie ahead to repair the damage, and what might be plausible, evidence-based, survey-indicator options to contribute to them? 

About the speaker

Mark Orkin served in the post-apartheid government in South Africa from 1995 to 2009 as Head of Statistics South Africa, President of the Human Sciences Research Council, and Director General of the civil service college PALAMA. In his retirement he is an Associate Fellow of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at Oxford University, Visiting Professor in the Development Pathways to Health Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and a member of the UN Statistical Commission’s new Praia City Group on official statistics of governance, peace and security. 

A light lunch will be served. Please register via email to

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