SDG 16 Data

Monitoring SDG 16 is difficult because regular and reliable data on peace, justice and inclusion is particularly hard to get. Why is that? One reason is that many activities covered by SDG 16 are taking place but not always officially recorded, e.g. corruption, organized crime or illicit financial flows. Another reason is that some aspects of SDG 16 touch on power dynamics (e.g. responsive, representative decision-making or protecting fundamental freedoms) and, since information on these issues can be perceived as threatening by dominant parts of society, it may be collected less often, or alternatively by non-governmental actors such as civil society. There are also capacity and resource challenges to collecting data. However, huge progress has been made to gather data on peace, justice and inclusion over the past decade by governments themselves, researchers, and by civil society. For instance, there are now more than 90 cross-country data sets measuring various aspects of governance, peace and justice (Rotberg, 2015, Governance: What it is, What it Measures, and its Policy Uses), compared to around 40 data sets ten years ago.  

There is also broad recognition that a successful monitoring of SDG16 will require strong national statistical systems and dedicated efforts to support national statistical offices (NSOs) to play a vital coordination role across SDG 16 data producers. 

The SDGs call for ‘Leaving No One Behind’, which requires data disaggregated by location, age, income, ethnicity and other identifiers. This is a paradigm shift from the MDGs, which measured progress only for the average population. Disaggregation is costly, so long-term investment in administrative data systems and national surveys by NSOs is critical, as well as partnerships with entities that monitor and have data on vulnerable and marginalised population groups within civil society and with National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).

Photo credit: @UNDP Kyrgyzstan