The Handbook is divided in two main parts. The first part addresses cross-cutting issues applicable to all or most dimensions of governance statistics. This part provides an overarching framework with common analytical underpinnings informed by international human rights norms and principles that are applicable to all the dimensions. The second part of the Handbook provides guidance on eight dimensions of governance: non-discrimination and equality; participation; openness; access to and quality of justice; responsiveness; absence of corruption; trust; and safety and security. For each dimension the Handbook provides a conceptualization of the dimension, a discussion of its relevance, a presentation of data and best practices that currently exist, recommended key indicators (including but not limited to indicators for the SDGs) and a suggested way forward to achieve international statistical standards in the context of the dimension. In brief:

  • Non-discrimination and equality addresses any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference or other differential treatment based on grounds such as color, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, disability or other status that has the intention or effect of nullifying or impairing human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • Participation focuses on the ways in which individuals take part in the conduct of political and public affairs, including by: registering to vote, voting or standing as a candidate in elections; being members of legislative, executive and judicial bodies at all levels of government; accessing positions in the public service; and engaging, individually or as members of political parties and NGOs, in political activities.
  • Openness refers to the extent to which public institutions provide access to information and are transparent in their decision- and policy-making processes; it covers access to information, open government provisions, freedom of expression and media pluralism;
  • Access to and quality of justice is about the ability of people to defend and enforce their rights and obtain just resolution of justiciable problems, if necessary, through impartial formal or informal institutions of justice and with appropriate legal support;
  • Responsiveness focuses on whether people have a say in what government does, and whether they are satisfied with the government’s performance;
  • Absence of corruption refers to intolerance to corruption, the levels and patterns of observable corrupt practices, and the State response to corruption;
  • Trust addresses people’s trust in institutions such as the parliament, the national government and the justice system, as well as trust in other people; and
  • Safety and security focuses on levels and patterns of crime, perceptions of safety, measurement of casualties directly provoked by armed operations, and the quality of law enforcement and criminal justice institutions.

Each chapters outlines a way forward in terms of furthering the methodological development in the respective area with a view to eventually achieving internationally agreed statistical standards.

The Handbook will be lunched during the UN Statistical Commission’s 51st session in March 2020