Tag Archives: measurement

Measuring the SDGs Progress with Data Envelope Analysis

How do you gauge the accomplishments of policy and its failures? While a number of nations are successful in maximizing a socioeconomic welfare function, others are woefully falling short of the optimal frontier. Considering the large number of SDGs and development targets, the accomplishments and failures of nations and their policy performance will always be multidimensional. Once we have agreed on a single measure of such progress, it becomes possible to document numerically how policymakers succeed (or fail) in achieving their goals and communicate them politically.

Data envelopment analysis (DEA), codeveloped by Abraham Charnes and William Cooper in 1978, is ideally suited for the purpose, delivering a metric that evaluates the performance of Decision Making Units DMUs(nations, regions, cities, enterprises, banks, schools, etc.) according to their ability to use inputs, and marshal economic and social policy to attain a spectrum of desired goals. We propose a DEA framework to assess an empirical production function and to serve as an interactive-iterative policy evaluation system for monitoring the multi-dimensional progress various nations make towards
achievement of the SDGs.

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Loss Data Underpinning Disaster Risk Reduction

At present, our understanding of appropriate long-term disaster risk management is limited by the lack of in-depth knowledge on the impacts of disasters. In this regard, recording disaster impacts at detailed level is crucial for informed decision making, using methodologies that allow aggregation over space and in time. Scientific approaches for record disaster losses consistently and accurately are essential to move from undependable evidence driven mainly by media coverage to more systematic and proven datasets on disaster impacts. New partnerships between science and DRR actors are enabling just this.

Disaster loss data recording is the mechanism that links the science of risk assessment to the policy making for reducing disaster risks. Loss data collections are useful, for identifying trends and patterns in the data over time sand for tracking relationships between development and disaster risk (IFRC, 2005). As evidenced in the Global Assessment Report (GAR), loss data, recorded in national and global disaster databases are increasingly being used within risk modelling platforms to guide the decision-making processes of DRR (ISDR, 2013). When combined with ancillary data such as disaster risk
management expenditures or demographic information (Gall et al., 2015), disaster loss data are essential indicators on the relevance of DRR policies in a broader context of development and climate change.

This note discusses the relevance of disaster loss data for evidence based policy in DRR and the main application domains of loss data within the European Union (EU) Member States.

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Measuring Progress on the SDGs: Multi-level Reporting

In September 2015, heads of state will adopt Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goals will chart out a universal holistic framework to help set the world on a path towards sustainable development, by addressing economic development, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and good governance.

The agenda laid out by the Open Working Group on the SDGs (OWG) in July 2014 is the main basis for the Post-2015 intergovernmental process, which began on 19 January 2015. From now until the September summit, Member States will further review the goals and targets. They will also consider the means of implementation, the nature of a new Global Partnership, and a framework for monitoring and review of implementation.

As underscored by the OWG, the focus of reporting on the SDGs must be at the national level. Each country will choose the indicators that are best suited to track its own progress towards sustainable development. Yet, the Goals also describe a global agenda, including some global public goods that cannot be implemented by any country on its own. Success will require international coordination and collaboration, which in turn requires accountability and monitoring at global level. In addition, regional monitoring and accountability will play a critical role in fostering regional collaboration and coherence in strategies to pursue the SDGs. A fourth and critical level of monitoring occurs in each thematic or epistemic community.

The four levels of monitoring – national, regional, global, and thematic – are laid out in the Secretary-General’s synthesis report. The report calls for “a culture of shared responsibility, one based on agreed universal norms, global commitments, shared rules and evidence, collective action and benchmarking for progress.” This culture of accountability must be particularly strong at the national level, “building on existing national and local mechanisms and processes, with broad, multi-stakeholder participation.”

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How New Metrics for Sustainable Agriculture Can Align the Roles of Government and Business

In three decades the potential for the private sector to make a positive difference in development has garnered increasing credence and support (Schmidheiny 1992; Porter, Ketels,
& Delgado 2007). This aligns with increasing acceptance that being sustainability-oriented can also benefit a firm’s market performance (Eccles et al. 2011). It is clear that the private sector will have to be an important part of any effort to attain the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). It has likewise become clear that for agricultural producers merely participating in markets or trade is not sufficient to ensure poverty reduction and increase sustainability (Hopkins 2007; Jaffee et al. 2011).

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Resilience Framework For Measuring Development

Policy makers and decision makers in the world today are facing critical and contradictory challenge to ensure development for all within the capacity of the environment and natural resource base. The “business as usual” development models are clearly showing incapability to face the challenges of the present systems. The future pathways to development must holistically vision for people and planetary well-being.

Emerging recognition is also of the fact that social, economic, environmental and governance systems cannot be treated in isolation. For the systems to be concurrently aligned in the development paradigm,
the first step is to develop a meta-metric framework that identifies indicators and their respective roles in the development processes. A clear comprehensive metric system that not just focuses on economic indicators but includes social, environmental and governance systems is a pre-requisite.

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Assessing sustainability of local production systems: A proposal based on socio-ecological resilience and collaboration

Sustainability and resilience are considered the base for reaching a balanced functioning of socio-ecological systems, facing internal conditions and external shocks. However, there is no agreement on how to get a good measure of both concepts to allow for managing local production systems in that sense. An interdisciplinary research group from seven universities in the Centre-West of Argentina, have developed an analytic-methodological proposal to
assess sustainability of local production systems, based on the concept of resilience of socio-ecological systems (RA, 2010). The result of its two-year research, a methodology for assessing sustainability of production systems is presented in this brief. The possibility for applying this methodology rests on a collaborative process between science and policy to improve resilience, and therefore sustainability of local production systems.

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How moving beyond GDP may help fight poverty in Africa

The gross domestic product (GDP) is the world’s most powerful statistical measure. Its underlying economic principles have contributed to splitting the planet into two worlds: the ‘developed’ and the ‘developing’ countries and/or the North and the South. Paradoxically, the GDP mantra was imposed on poorer
nations in spite of its creators’ conclusion that its approach should not be applied to countries largely dependent on informal economic structures, as these are not considered by income accounts, which are threatened by policies designed to increase GDP (Fioramonti 2013). The economist Simon Kuznets, one
of the architects of the GDP system, is also known for having demonstrated how income inequality rises in times of fast GDP growth. His famous ‘curve’ shows
how relative poverty is exacerbated, especially in under-industrialized countries, leading to a concentration of resources and income in the hands of
a few. This brief makes the argument that GDP is a highly inappropriate measure to gauge progress, especially in the so-called developing world. It will
therefore focus on Africa to show how moving beyond GDP may open up creative opportunities to fight poverty and achieve sustainable wellbeing.

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Reducing child poverty: the importance of measurement for getting it right

It is widely recognised that the reduction of child poverty is crucial for sustainable economic and social development (UNICEF 2014), and the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognises that growth and development should particularly benefit children (§4). Child-specific
measurement is imperative for addressing poverty and reducing vulnerability (Ben-Arieh 2000) and for the first time newly proposed global goals for poverty reduction make specific reference to children.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1, Target 2 reads: “By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions” (OWG 2014; 7). This explicit mention of children constitutes an important step forward but also gives rise to questions about the use of indicators and measurement of child poverty. This science digest provides an overview of the academic debate
regarding the complexity of child poverty and the importance of comprehensive child-focused poverty measurement in supporting adequate and effective poverty reduction policies.

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