Politics of Evidence Based Policy Making: Reporting on SDG 16 in Egypt

SDG 16 has many politically sensitive indicators, which is allowing governments (in this case - Egypt) to not self-report accurately. Including quantifiable targets and indicators for the SDGs helps citizens hold their governments accountable for the implementation of all the promises governments make to its citizens.

Research Findings

The Development of targets and indicators for the SDGs is a first step forward towards more effective global governance. However, SDG 16 is one of the trickiest and most sensitive goals in measuring, monitoring and reporting. We do not expect governments to be forthcoming and willing to share data about poor governance, violations of human rights, lack of transparency, corruption, and curbing of freedoms. A lot of information is lacking and there is a clear interest in not reporting accurately, or at all, on SDG 16 targets and indicators by the Egyptian Government. Hiding information and not reporting, or selective reporting, is an obsolete practice with the open skies and open space for information sharing

There needs to be a review of the indicators needed for reporting on the SDG 16 targets: We need to get the politics out and make sure the indicators agreed to first are appropriately matching the targets, and that they are easily implementable. Having Tier II type indicators and knowingly accepting that it would take at least a few more years to be able to collect the data and apply the indicators is in itself unacceptable.

Key Recommendations

1. Recognise the role of civil society organisations, academia and research centres in monitoring and reporting on the politically sensitive indicators of SDG 16 (not just governments!)

2. If we’re interested to achieve the SDGs then we need to take responsibility by actively collecting the data and monitoring achievement ourselves (especially for SDG 16)

3. There is a need for governments to invest in better data collection, access and rigorous, transparent and objective reporting

4. Civil society organisations can support the government by collecting data and monitoring the implementation of the various indicators agreed to.

Implementation Examples

This study was based on the Government of Egypt. But it can be relevant to all countries having to report on SDG 16.

UNDP has led successful initiative for the localisation monitoring of SDG 16 in Tunisia, where a perception based ‘governance, peace and democracy survey’ is used to collect baseline data, and in the UK where a mapping occurred for all existing data sources for SDG 16

Methodology

This paper was the outcome of document analysis

Core Concepts

SDG 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 (United Nations SDG Knowledge Platform).

Limitations

Analysis limited to Egyptian government.