9 OECD Journal on Development, Volume 9 Issue 2

Measuring Human Rights and Democratic Governance: Experiences and Lessons from Metagora

image of OECD Journal on Development, Volume 9 Issue 2
On the occasion of the 60 anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this special issue of the OECD Journal on Development focuses on robust methods and tools for assessing human rights, democracy and governance. These findings of the Metagora project formulate a response to these questions.

Metagora is the first international project on measuring human rights and democratic governance to undertake several pilot experiences in different regions of the world in an interactive fashion. This publication presents key results, policy relevance and methodological implications of these experiences. It illustrates the feasibility and usefulness of measuring human rights and democratic governance with combined quantitative and qualitative approaches. It provides decision makers, policy actors, analysts and civil society with first-hand materials and selected examples on how statistics and indicators can be created and used in this field.

This publication also presents a wealth of global lessons from the Metagora experiences. These include the need for involving a wide range of institutions and actors -- such as human rights institutions, research centres, national statistical offices and civil society organisations -- in the measurement and assessment processes. Metagora’s findings and lessons constitute a substantive and innovative contribution which usefully complements ongoing work by leading international organisations on governance and human rights indicators.

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Indicators for Monitoring Compliance with International Human Rights Instruments

The work on indicators at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was initiated at the request of the Inter-committee meeting of the human rights treaty bodies to help them make use of statistical information in states parties’ reports in assessing the implementation of human rights. OHCHR undertook an extensive survey of literature and prevalent practices among national and international organisations on the use of quantitative information in monitoring human rights (see Fasel and Malhotra, 2005). Having taken stock of the state of the art, steps were taken to develop a conceptual and methodological framework, in consultation with a panel of experts, for identifying operationally feasible human rights indicators. The first outline of the framework was presented to the Inter-committeemeeting of human rights treaty bodies in June 2006 (see UN-HRI, 2006b).

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