Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Danida Technical Advisory Services
Monitoring systems within the field of
- Applying the harmonisation agenda
This note is elaborated by Danida Technical Advisory Services. The primary target group is the
staff responsible for planning and implementing Danish supported development assistance
within the field of Good Governance. This encompasses embassy staff, technical advisers, con-
sultants and partners.
Comments to the note are welcome and can be sent to the contact person in Technical Advi-
sory Services: Senior Technical Adviser, Mogens Blom, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The note has been elaborated in a series of eight technical notes on monitoring and indicators
focusing on different sectors (see www.danida-networks.dk).
1. Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 2
1.1 Background and main argument of the note .......................................................................... 2
1.2 Good Governance .................................................................................................................... 3
1.3 Why the issue of monitoring often is to be addressed throughout the life of a
programme. ..................................................................................................................................... 3
2. Danida requirements ...................................................................................................................... 4
2.1 Danida Aid Management Guidelines (AMG) ......................................................................... 4
2.2 Two levels of monitoring: „activities and outputs‟ versus „ outcome and impact‟ ............... 4
2.3 What to do when a national monitoring system is not yet in place. ..................................... 6
2.4 What to do when a programme is composed by many individual projects .......................... 7
2.5 The so-called „VPA indicator‟ to be applied in all Danida programmes .............................. 7
3. DAC guidelines on aid Harmonisation ......................................................................................... 8
4. Millennium Development Goals (MDG) ..................................................................................... 8
5. International UN Treaties .............................................................................................................. 9
6. Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs) ........................................................................................... 10
6.1 General remarks ...................................................................................................................... 10
6.2 Alignment with PRSs targets ................................................................................................. 10
7. Alignment with „sector wise‟ national monitoring systems. Example from Uganda. .............. 12
8. Good Governance Indicators ...................................................................................................... 13
9. Danida Governance Website ....................................................................................................... 15
1.1 Background and main argument of the note
During recent years Danida has increased the focus on thorough monitoring of Danish sup-
ported development assistance and, thereby, the establishment of clear and measurable indica-
tors for all Danish supported programmes and projects. At the same time Danida stresses the
need for alignment with national poverty reduction strategies and MDGs - and enhancing har-
monisation to developing countries‟ national processes for accountability.
The demand for more thorough monitoring (and establishment of very specific indicators), on
the one hand, and harmonisation on the other, may at first sight seem contradictory.
The argument of this technical note is, that this is not the case. On the contrary, the harmonisa-
tion of Danish development assistance can provide the point of departure for supporting the
development of well-functioning – and transparent - national monitoring of the development
of Good Governance. This note warns against the establishment of specific monitoring sys-
tems and indicators focusing on outcome and impact of the Danish supported assistance only.
Instead Danish assistance should align with or support the development of national monitoring
systems. The note provides advice on points of departures for how this could be done.
Thus, the aim of this note is to provide guidance for the staff involved in the ongoing negotia-
tion of alignment and adjustment of indicators (including the identification of the so-called
VPA indicators for Danida internal monitoring purpose).
Finally, it should be stressed that the note does not attempt to provide guidance with respect to
the development of specific technical indicators within each of the many sub-themes of good
governance. Here one has to draw on specialists with the necessary insight into e.g. anti-
corruption, human rights abuse or the media sector. However, some useful links for the non-
specialist is provided in section 8 and the reference papers listed in section 9.
1.2 Good Governance
The concept Good Governance is here used in its broadest sense covering all activities within
the field of human rights, democratisation, decentralisation and various other forms of public
sector reform. In the “Good Practice Paper: Danida Support to Good Governance. Some Is-
sues and Challenges regarding Analysis and Planning”1 the concept of good governance is dis-
cussed in more details and advice provided as regards to planning and set-up of Danish support
within the field.
1.3 Why the issue of monitoring often is to be addressed throughout the life of a pro-
The issues of defining objectives and indicators – and designing a monitoring system - is, obvi-
ously, part and parcel of the design of a programme, component or project within the field of
good governance. Thus, in principle, indicators and monitoring systems ought to be defined in
the formulation phase. Often, programme documents have not included indicators for all com-
ponents and a final “turn key” monitoring system. It might be due to poor design and planning.
The recent 'Aid Management Guidelines'2 stresses the need for much more thorough prepara-
tion in this respect. In other cases, however, the definition of indicators has (rightly) been post-
poned to an inception phase. Or it has (again rightly) been stressed that indicators and monitor-
ing system should be adjusted to (and aligned with) a national monitoring system, which is be-
ing developed simultaneously with the initiation of the Danish support or is not yet in place.
Thus, even if the programme document is well prepared there will usually be a need for ongo-
ing development and adjustment of the monitoring system. This is not least the case within the
broad field of Good Governance. Here national poverty strategies are still relatively vague, and
national and international indicators are not comprehensively developed (compare to e.g. the
2. Danida requirements
2.1 Danida Aid Management Guidelines (AMG)3
The point of departure for the AMG (covering any Danish bilateral development intervention)
is the need for harmonisation of aid and alignment of Danish development assistance with na-
tional PRSs. It is repeatedly stressed, that planning and preparation of Danish support should
be done according to national standards and requirement. If at all possible Danish assistance
should make part of nationally owned programmes jointly funded by all donors (be that in the
shape of SWAps or various forms of budget support). Subsequently, the specific formats for
e.g. programme documents in the AMG should only be applied when a joint programme is not
Support within the good governance area often takes the shape of thematic programmes (one
or more) covering different activities. Within public sector reform and decentralisation SWAp-
like programmes – or „sector budget support‟ can be established. However, most often specific
components of good governance programmes support rather different areas - in some in-
stances with Danida as the sole donor, in others as basket funding with a number of donors.
Still in other cases, Danish support is provided as „old fashioned‟ project support as a stand-
alone Danish project.
In all instance, however, there is no demand for building up specific monitoring systems for
Danish assistance when it could be covered by national and joint donor monitoring systems.
On the contrary, the guidelines explicitly demand for a justification, in case monitoring is not
based on a joint national system.
Thus, as a point of departure Danida should support the partner to build up a national moni-
toring system, which can be appropriate for the partner and the country in a longer perspective.
Often it could be an integrated part of a Danish assistance that such a system be established.
2.2 Two levels of monitoring: ‘activities and outputs’ versus ‘ outcome and impact’
It is important to note that monitoring is taking place at various levels. Thus, monitoring of
activities and outputs (the direct products of a development intervention) ought to be carried
out as an integrated part of the implementation, in shape of what can also be considered a
„Management Information System‟. The implementation of activities and production of outputs
is in principle under the full control of the project or programme management (whether a na-
tional program or a small Danish project) and can often be measured relatively easily. Thus,
design of a monitoring system of activities and outputs are most often relatively straightfor-
ward, and is not the subject of this note.
What, however, provides a challenge – methodologically and practically – is to measure the ef-
fect (short or long term) of a given activity or output. This level of monitoring is what is dis-
cussed in the present note.
The above definition of two levels of monitoring could be illustrated in an example of one
component in an anti-corruption project targeting the police (a component, which ideally will
be complemented by other component addressing e.g. incentives structures, salary issues and
overall institutional issues in the police force).
Pilot project: Anti-corruption in the police force
Under the control of Target Indicators How to measure
Activities Training of police Number of police offi- Monthly reports
officers in city X in cers attending training
code of conduct
Outputs Police officers suc- Number of police offi- Monthly or bi-annual
cessfully trained and cers who have com- reports
passing test pleted training and
scored more than 80 %
Out of control of man-
Outcome Trained police offi- Anonymous
70 % of police officers re- structured
(Achievement of imme- cers in city X, re- interviews with a sample
frain from corrupt behav-
diate objective) frain from corrupt of 50 police officers and
iour in carrying out their
behaviour daily duties. 100 citizens who have
dealt with the police
Impact Citizens in city X 50 % of men and women Interview with random
(Achievement of devel- perceive the police interviewed state that they sample of male and female
opment objective) as honest. have increased confidence in citizens in city X.
As it appears, the bottom right part of the above matrix is the difficult part. The above example
is, though a stereotype, quite similar to what can be found in many human rights and good
governance projects. On paper it is relatively simple to define outcome and impact indicators.
In practice, however, it is very costly – and methodological challenging – to measure. In addi-
tion monitoring of stand-alone projects and programme can‟t be compared with other similar
project – and does not feed into a broader understanding of the issue. Most often, complicated
technical monitoring reports end up on the bookshelves with few or no readers. Alternatively,
monitoring of outcome and impact is carried out in a very superficial manner or doesn‟t take
place at all.
As mentioned above, the requirement of the AMG - and the overall argument of this note - is,
that instead of attempting to build up specific Danish monitoring system (on outcome and im-
pact), one should attempt to support the establishment of a comprehensive, cost-effective and
transparent national monitoring system.
The support to building up of national systems can – and should – take the point of departure
in nationally defined goals and targets. Both overall goals and specific targets can relatively eas-
ily be found at national level within water and health but are much more difficult to identify
within the broad field of Good Governance. However, global national targets within this area
are increasingly defined in e.g. PRS (likely to be even more specified in 2nd generation PRSs) –
as well as overall standards regarding human rights can be found in international treaties signed
by the country in question (see below section 5 and 6).
2.3 What to do when a national monitoring system is not yet in place.
Having said that an integrated part of Danish assistance could be to support the development
of a national system, the next question is, what to do in the meantime. Two lines of action are
suggested: A MIS system and an attempt to look into transitional solutions.
As mentioned above, all projects need to have a monitoring system regarding activities and
outputs. In a minor project this will be covered by keeping record of activities and a proper
monthly or biannually reporting. In lager projects or programmes a more comprehensive Man-
agement Information System ought to be established. Hereby one can, at least, justify cost and
spending against the most immediate results (outputs).
Regarding the measurement of outcomes and impacts one can look for various „transitional
It could be considered whether it would be appropriate to pilot a national system in the
area covered by Danish support.
In a transitional phase, one can also look for proxy indicators that can be measured
based on existing national statistics. Taking the above project ‘Anti-corruption within the
police’ as an example, existing registrations of complaints about the police might be an
acceptable proxy indicator on corrupt behaviour. Another proxy indicator might be
found in data from national studies like „Voices of the poor‟, which might have infor-
mation on „satisfaction with the policy‟.
Finally, one can decide to measure the development of a project against very general
data on trends based on existing overall Human Rights or Good Government indexes
(see below section 8). In the above corruption example, one can refer to an overall cor-
ruption perception index (which, however, might not provide specific data on corrup-
tion within the police, nor on the specific location where the Danish assistance is tar-
geted). That does not tell anything about the effect (outcome and impact) of the spe-
cific Danish supported project. However, it provides an indicator on the overall trends
in the field, which might be considered as useful input for the ongoing review of project
strategy and activities.
One will have to acknowledge that the two latter suggestions do not provide „proof‟ of the spe-
cific effect of Danish assistance. However, in most cases it would be more appropriate to ac-
cept this – and then spend time and resource on the building up a national system. Likewise,
one will have to accept that even a full developed national system might not established a causal
linkage between a (minor) Danish supported project and the outcomes/impact at national level.
It is assumed, that Danish assistance in the longer run will be provided as support for national
reform and programmes. Therefore resources are better used on comprehensive and transpar-
ent national systems than monitoring of time-bound Danish supported projects.
2.4 What to do when a programme is composed by many individual projects
As mentioned above Danish assistance within the field of Good Governance is often provided
through so-called thematic Good Governance programmes, which is composed by compo-
nents or project targeting relatively difference issues (e.g. human rights protection, access to
justice, anti-corruption, elections etc.). These components and project most often will have dif-
ferent partners and different institutional set-up. However, according to Danida Aid Manage-
ment Guidelines, one will have to attempt to ensure harmonisation and alignment with national
programmes within each of the areas. Thus, instead of attempting to create a coherent Danish
programme with a certain synergy between the individual components, one ought to attempt to
align the Danish support within national programmes or other donor support within each of
the specific fields.
Likewise, one should attempt to align monitoring systems to existing or potential national
monitoring systems within each of the specific fields. Establishment of a specific comprehen-
sive monitoring system encompassing all the areas supported by the Danish Good Governance
programme would seldom be appropriate and should in general be avoided.
2.5 The so-called ‘VPA indicator’ to be applied in all Danida programmes
As part of Danida‟s result based management system an annual business agreements (VPA) for
each Danish embassies is drawn up. The VPA defines targets and result for the Danish devel-
opment assistance for each programme country. In the VPA agreement the representations
have to identify and include one output indicator from each component. This is for internal
Danida managerial purposes alone – and does not substitute for the establishment of appropri-
ate monitoring systems as described above. Thus, everybody acknowledges, that the progress of
a large component can‟t be measured by one output indicator, and the VPA-system is of course
supplemented by other means of information (e.g. the annual sector review). When selecting
the indicator to be included in the VPA, one has to be pragmatic and identify the indicator,
which is deemed best to illustrate the progress within the component (or project) 4.
Moreover, the terminology can provide a problem. Within a good governance programme a ‘component’ might in-
clude a number of very different projects, with no overall output. For the use of the VPA, one might either use an output
indicator from one of the projects – or attempt to make up an output indicator covering a number of projects (e.g. the
total number of people trained within the various projects). In the first case, again, one should attempt to select an out-
put indicator from the project, which is considered most illustrative for the progress in the component.
3. DAC guidelines on aid Harmonisation
DAC guidelines on aid harmonisation „Harmonising Donor Practices for Effective Aid Deliv-
ery‟5, set very clear targets on harmonisation of aid that are fully in line with Danida AMG and
the arguments of the technical note. Chapter 4 of the DAC guidelines focus specifically on re-
porting and monitoring, and demand for alignment with PRS and harmonisation of reporting
The chapter, thus, provides a good point of departure for discussion with partner and other
donors on how to harmonise monitoring. It contains a number of very specific and clear-cut
statements in a checklist, which one could refer to, if partner donors, for practical reasons,
should hesitate to subscribe to joint formats and procedures. In box 1 below some examples
Box 1 Good Donor Practices in Reporting and Monitoring (extract from DAC Techni-
1. Relying and building on country systems
Donors promote locally designed and conducted reporting and monitoring systems
that are of international standard.
Donors adapt their reporting and monitoring needs as far as possible to fit with
partner country systems (e.g. use supplements to domestic reports, rather than de-
manding own reports).
2. Co-ordinating reporting and monitoring systems
In multi-donor activities, donors agree common reporting and monitoring formats
and timetables based on partner systems where possible.
In projects within same sector, donors seek to use common or similar reporting
formats to reduce the burden on partner officials working in the sector.
4. Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
Within sectors like water, health and education the MDGs provide very specific targets and
indicators for the development. The MDGs do not specifically address the spheres of Good
Governance, though the Millennium Declaration covers human rights issues in a general way.
The MDG country reports and the Road Map may, however, provide some inspiration in due
Moreover, the UN organisations attempt to establish a common UN Development Assistance
Framework based on UN Common Country Assessments. Here data and indicators on Good
Governance are increasingly included. More generally, however, overall goals and standards
within the field of Human Rights and Good Governance are defined in the international UN
treaties and conventions.
It is expected that first generation MDG country reports will be completed during 2004. Some reports are already
available, including for instance on Bolivia, Nepal, Tanzania and Vietnam. (http://www.undp.org/mdg/countryreports.html)
5. International UN Treaties
The Human Rights area of Good Governance is covered by the UN Universal Declaration on
Human Rights as well as a number of international treaties and conventions. These include e.g.
civil and political rights, women‟s rights and child rights. The principal Human Rights Treaties
are compiled in box 2.
Box 2 Principle Human Rights Treaties 7
CAT-Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment
CCPR-International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
CEDAW-Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
CERD-International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
CESCR-International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
CMW-International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and
Members of Their Families
CRC-Convention on the Rights of the Child
CRC-OP-AC-Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the
involvement of children in armed conflict
CRC-OP-SC-Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of
children, child prostitution and child pornography
The international treaties and conventions are important points of departure for planning
within the Good Governance area as they are binding on all governments that are parties to
such treaties and conventions and as they, in principle, are being monitored on an ongoing ba-
sis at the national, as well as international level (although to a varying degree). The monitoring
and oversights is undertaken both by national institutions and by international treaties bodies
and provides convention specific data and trend analysis on e.g. the human rights situation in
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) compiles more than one
hundred international treaties and conventions. Full overview of the UN conventions and the
countries, which have ratified the various conventions and treaties, can be found on
UNHCHR‟s homepage and Treaty Body Database.8
Today, the Treaties represent the most durable international agreement and consensus around key standards according
to which individual rights as well as country situations should be assessed. However, as the Treaty monitoring system
has grown it has confronted challenges. These include delays in submission and/or consideration of reports, non-
reporting, and duplication of reporting requirements among treaty bodies. Improving the effectiveness of the human
rights treaty system has been an ongoing interest of individual treaty bodies, the meetings of chairpersons of human
rights treaty bodies, the Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly. (http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf)
In all instances Danida supported programmes, which thematically are covered by treaties, and
conventions shall consider how to address the needs for monitoring these international treaties
Danish support will often include both government and non-governmental organisations. In
Human Rights terms, both the duty holder (government bodies) and the rights-holders (repre-
sentatives of the individuals and communities with specific rights to be defended and complied
with) are relevant partners in most support programmes. Moreover, so-called Non-Judicial
Control Mechanisms (independent entities such as Ombudsman, Human Rights Commissions
etc) might be involved.
Thus, though the government is responsible for reporting on for example the UN „Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination‟, parallel reports might be issued by a
Human Rights Commission and groups of Human Rights NGO‟s. The latter reports can pro-
vide checks and balances on the government report and thus parallel reporting systems might
be supported within the framework of a national programme assisting the area.
6. Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs)
6.1 General remarks
Most Danida countries of cooperation have now elaborated national poverty reduction strate-
gies (PRSs) or similar strategies on reducing poverty. At the strategic level these are key entry
points for Danish development assistance. The introduction of PRS has improved dialogue
with partners in monitoring the impact of poverty reduction. Denmark is committed to harmo-
nize performance measurement and monitoring with other donors and ought to support the
development of national capacities for PRS monitoring.
As stated above, PRSs have generally been weak on indicators, not least in the field of Good
Governance. However - as illustrated below - many PRSs do include both broad objectives and
more specific targets related to Good Governance, which can serve as an entry point for dia-
logue with partner government and donors and other stakeholders on the development of spe-
cific indicators on impact and outcome.
In addition, one should consider the need for supporting the abilities of one‟s partners in ensur-
ing that Good Governance objectives are more thoroughly reflected in the future PRS (which
in many partner countries will be developed in the nearest future).
6.2 Alignment with PRSs targets
As an illustration on how good governance targets have been included in existing PRSs, two
examples from Ghana and Nepal can be found in the Box 3 and 4.
As it appears the targets in the two examples vary a lot: From broad policy statements to very
specific goals, which makes up a measurable indicator in itself.
Box 3. Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy 2002-2004 –
Targets (indicators) within the field of decentralisation (extract)
Roles of Regional and District departments rationalized, defined and enforced
DACF increased to 7½ %
Courses on open and participatory governance commenced for Regions and Districts
Criteria for hard living District allowances established
Local Government Service Bill reviewed, revised and strengthened
Comprehensive training schedule for capacity building for Regional and Dis-
trict departments prepared
Referring to box 3, „Decentralisation in Ghana‟, the first target is a very broad objective that is
not specified in any way. However, at the same time it covers two immediate objectives of most
Danida decentralisation support programmes: 1) That a clear division of tasks between the
various administrative levels is established, and 2) that the capacity of the local governments is
strengthened. The same can be said about the very broad objectives on anti-corruption high-
lighted in the Nepali PRS (below Box 4), which covers issues, which most likely would be ob-
jectives of any anti-corruption, programme. Thus, the argument of this note is, that though
many PRS targets are very broadly defined, a number of PRSs do provide a possible point of
departure for developing national indicators that could be applied for the Danish assistance as
Box 4 – Nepal PRSP (10th Plan, 2002)
Spread of Good Conduct, Corruption Control and Transparency (extract):
The following measures will be taken to enact an effective legal framework for minimizing cor-
ruption and the development of the culture of effective implementation.
1. To increase alertness and awareness against corruption.
2. To develop a mechanism to monitor the conduct and property accumulation by political
leadership and high executive posts.
3. To conduct programmes to enhance the effectiveness of investigation and advocacy against
4. To upgrade the efficiency of the organization involved in corruption control.
5. To create a favourable environment through the provision of training to the employees and
authorities involved in corruption control and through the provision of physical facilities.
6. To prepare a national strategy to control corruption and to prepare separate action plans for
the administrative wings of each ministry and central level office.
At the same time, it appears, that some targets in PRSs are quite specific. This is the case for
some of the targets on Decentralisation in Ghana, box 3, (target 2-4). Here one can find very
specific objectives/outcomes, which are easily measurable and therefore without much diffi-
culty could be turned into indicators (if relevant for a support programme).
7. Alignment with ‘sector wise’ national monitoring systems. Example from Uganda.
In some cases the field of activity supported is not covered by existing PRS-targets, neither can
relevant targets be derived from national binding international treaties. However, still one can
attempt to look for and align with national systems. And if they don‟t exist, attempt to open a
dialogue with relevant authorities, national bodies and other possible donors on whether na-
tional targets, indicators and monitoring system could be established.
As an example we will refer to the decentralisation reform in Uganda, which has been sup-
ported by Danida since the early nineties. Decentralisation is throughout the Ugandan „Poverty
Eradication Action Plan‟ (PEAP) – Ugandan PRS - mentioned as an important administrative
and political reform, which provide the cornerstone for participation and rural development in
the country. However, still the PEAP only includes very overall policy targets, which only pro-
vide little support when it comes to monitoring and measuring the concrete development of
local governments and public participation.
In Uganda, however, donors have joined hands supporting one national programme, Local
Government Development Programme (LGDP). This programme includes support for policy
formulation, capacity building of local governments and transfer of block grant for invest-
ments. Within the framework of this programme a national monitoring system has been estab-
lished which includes an annual examination of all 52 districts. The examination includes a
measurement of administrative capacity and participation as well as e.g. the gender issues. Thus,
indicators for the Danida supported programme, of which the main component is a co-funding
of the LGDP programme, have been harmonised fully with the LGDP programme and the
monitoring linked to the annual LGDP examination. Even the specific Danida VPA indicator
has been identified among the LGDP-examination indicators and can easily be read out of the
Ugandan local government examination report (see below box 5).
Having said this, it should also be mentioned, that the development of one joint donor pro-
gramme – and the development of a national examination system, has been a long process.
Thus the first programme was piloted in the mid 90ies and the joint national programme only
launched in 2003.
Box 5. Danish Support for Decentralisation, Uganda. Component objectives and indi-
Type of objec- Objective Indicators Means of verifica-
Immediate objec- To strengthen - Number of LGs with a three year Indicators from
tive the capacity for rolling development plan (target: 75 LGDP‟s assessment
local develop- %) of the LGs: (“As-
ment. - Percentage of LGs submitted final sessment manual of
accounts on time to the General minimum conditions
Auditors Office and performance
- Number of LGs realising 80% of measures for local
the budgeted revenues by (FY governments”)
- LGs own revenue sources (taxes, Monitoring and
user charges and fees) increased by evaluation system
15 percent from baseline year under MoLG and
- LGs providing for operational and (LGDP II
maintenance costs in plans, budgets monitoring)
and in actual implementation
DANIDA VPA - No. of train- Monitoring system
indicator for ing events / no. under Ministry of
component 1 of of training days Local Government
the Decentralisa- for district staff and LGDP.
tion Programme. and counsellors
8. Good Governance Indicators
This note has attempted to pinpoint some potential points of departure in the process of har-
monising monitoring systems with national systems. When it comes to the actual development
of specific technical indicators, however, each sub-theme within the broad good governance
field provides specific methodological and technical challenges. Here one has to draw on spe-
cialists with the necessary insight into the specific sub-themes of good governance.
For the non-specialist overview and insight can be found in technical guidelines on indicators
developed by donor agencies or professional organisations. Moreover, donors discuss to what
extent it would be appropriate to develop a harmonised „menu‟ of governance indicators. A
joint OECD(DAC)/EU project „Metagora‟ is presently (autumn 2004) working on the task. A
website is under construction (www.metagora.org).
Thus, the issue “governance indicators” is widely discussed (1,440,000 hits on Google). How-
ever, as a point of departure, one ought to be aware that governance indicators are used at dif-
ferent levels and for different purposes:
1. Assessment for policymaking at global or regional level: Identifying relative strength and
weaknesses of individual countries and regions in critical dimensions of governance.
In this case, indicators are used to compare countries and assess relative progress.
Global indexes as Freedom House, Transparency International and World Bank Insti-
tute are typically used here.
2. Assessment of countries‟ absolute and relative performance. The above-mentioned
UNHCHR treaty monitoring could be considered as one example at this level. World
Bank has developed their own scheme „Country Policy and Institutional Assessment‟
that is used for aid allocation and includes key governance indicators.
3. Monitoring of the result of specific governance reform policies and programmes.
Though monitoring schemes at country level can be inspired by the indicators estab-
lished in global indexes, the focus for monitoring schemes – and thereby indicators –
will be the absolute progress at country level vis-à-vis national defined policies, targets
and reform programmes. It is here Danish support should focus in Danida programme
4. Finally, indicators can be developed in connection with country-specific studies and sur-
veys of specific governance issues.
Thus, there is not one good indicator on e.g. anti-corruption or „rights of the child‟. What is the
best indicator will always depend on the level of assessment and the purpose of the measure-
The Oslo centre of UNDP has recently published „Governance Indicators: A Users' Guide‟. 9
This guide includes an easy-to-read introduction and references to 33 of the most commonly
used indexes on global governance (all available on the Internet). The guide provides a short
introduction and assessment of each of the 33 indexes. The focus and the methodology applied
by the indexes vary a lot. To a large extent, however, they focus on global comparison, and as a
point of departure only indexes which enable cross-national comparison are included10.
For inclusion in the Guide, UNDP requires that the Data sources meet the following criteria: i) Have a clear Govern-
ance Data aspect, ii) Have data available, iii Enable cross-national comparison, iv) provide information about their
methodology, v) Be available via the Internet, in English, and Sources which required payment for access were only
included where one is able to obtain information concerning methodology and sample data free of charge.
9. Danida Governance Website
Danida Governance website11 is established to assist the work of Governance practitioners to:
Get the latest Danida related information from the Governance sector.
Access programme and project documents, partner agreements, laws and related rele-
vant information from all Danida partner countries.
Browse the latest relevant governance documents and papers as they are produced.
Utilize relevant tools such as examples of TORs, MoUs etc.
Get information on and links to governance colleagues working with Danida globally.
Access links to donor, academic, NGO and Government websites, networks and re-
Here one can access the following reference papers which deal with the issue of how to define
„good‟ technical indicators within the field of good governance:
Overview of Current Initiatives Within Human Rights, Democratisation and Good
Governance Indicator Development. Danida, October 2003.
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