In a globalized world, the quickening pace of economic and social change has put
increasing pressure on OECD governments to identify and manage problems.
Challenges associated with migration, climate change, the depletion of resources, aging societies and new
security risks demand sound policies and rapid adaptation on the part of state leadership. But how capable
are OECD democracies in responding to these challenges? And just how sustainable are these responses?
At their core, sustainability-oriented policies should avoid shifting unfair burdens to future generations,
and should result in a preservation of – or even an improvement in – the quality of life for present and
future generations. This is no easy task in the face of the global challenges and megatrends identified
above. Policy-makers must thus take all possible care to ensure that economic, sociopolitical and environmental
systems are flexible and adaptable enough to sustain their populations' needs well into the future.
Employing both qualitative and quantitative research methods, the Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI)
identify effective policy-making strategies throughout the OECD, with printed and online reports aimed at
interested citizens, the media and policy practitioners alike.
This is the second edition of the SGI, with future editions scheduled to appear biennially. The project was
developed as a complement to the Bertelsmann Transformation Index
, which documents good governance practices
in 128 countries in transition. Both projects are guided by the vision of Bertelsmann Stiftung founder Reinhard
Mohn, who believed in the importance of identifying good practices by means of systematic comparison, allowing
individuals around the world to learn from one another's experiences.
In this manner, the SGI seek to
- contribute to the debate on “good governance” and sustainable policy-making
- identify successful models and
- foster international learning processes within the OECD and beyond.
The concepts of sustainability and governance form the conceptual underpinnings of the
SGI’s two pillars, the Status Index and Management Index. Whereas the Status Index
examines the relative
success of policies implemented in recent years, the Management Index
focuses on the efficiency and
accountability of the underlying policy-making processes.
Robust democratic institutions and practices are essential to the establishment of long-term systemic sustainability.
The Status Index therefore examines the quality of democracy
in each surveyed state according to definitional norms
of participation rights
, electoral competition and respect for the rule of law
. Other factors reinforcing democratic
practices – such as media independence
, civil rights protection
and access to information
– are also assessed here.
Once approved, policies must also perform. Good policies deliver outcomes that render a society prepared to meet
the challenges of a rapidly changing world. The Status Index examines the performance of policies in four key sectors
in order to identify reform strengths and weaknesses (Economy/Employment
, Social affairs
By contrast, the Management Index
examines the capacity of executive actors to formulate, coordinate and implement policy.
It does so by assessing factors such as strategic planning
, the use of expert advice
and impact assessments
and ministerial coordination
. Other factors contributing to strategic capacity, such as the extent to
which institutional learning
and organizational reform
takes place, are also assessed here.
and democratic competence go hand in hand. Actors beyond the core executive can increase the government’s
strategic capacity by monitoring the executive's policy decisions and contributing to its knowledge base. The Management
Index therefore examines also nongovernmental actors' ability to influence the political process through established,
regular channels. It does so by assessing the evaluative and participatory competence of citizens
SGI assessment process
More than 80 international experts
contributed to this large-scale study. Taking nearly 150
qualitative and quantitative indicators into account, SGI experts created a detailed profile of each country’s strengths
and weaknesses (see SGI 2011 Codebook
). The SGI 2011 period of review was May 2008 – April 2010 (SGI 2009: January
2005 – March 2007).
Following the release of the SGI 2009 in February 2009, the project's methodology was subjected to a rigorous process
of evaluation, resulting in a number of updates. For this release, all SGI 2009 results have been recalculated with
reference to these methodological changes, thus enabling direct comparison between the SGI 2011 and the SGI 2009.
However, the original SGI 2009 scores remain accessible via the website (see SGI 2011 Methodology
). Additional details
about the assessment process can be found on the project's FAQ