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Books and book chapters

The challenge of measuring peace and security

What role for African regional frameworks in Goal 16?


Bolaji-Adio, A. 2015. 'The Challenge of Measuring SDG 16: What Role for African Regional Frameworks?'. Chapter 16 in 'Governance for Sustainable Development: Ideas for the Post-2015 Agenda'. Edited by The Friends of Sustainable Development. Published by New World Frontiers. July 2015.

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The inclusion of Goal 16 in the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reflects the growing international consensus that governance and peace and security are important for development.

Adedayo Bolaji-Adio contributes a chapter to this latest book on peace and security in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

This e-book is available to download through Amazon (Kindle or free app) 

Key Messages

  • Regional initiatives like the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) provide the type of in-depth political analysis that is necessary for conducting a rigorous assessment of countries’ progress on Goal 16. To date, the APRM has served as a useful early warning tool for conflict resolution, and it has highlighted a number of crucial governance issues, which African countries have then sought to address in national development plans.
  • The principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” as described in the 1992 Rio Declaration can provide a good framework for developing indicators to measure governance at the global and national levels. A two-tiered system of measurement, with standardised indicators at the global level and country-specific indicators at the national level, could be an effective way to accommodate the differences in governance approaches between countries.
  • Indicators, however, can provide only limited information on governance and peace and security, which alone is insufficient for supporting progress in these areas. The targets under Goal 16 are complex, inherently political and country-specific.



Governance for Sustainable Development is produced by the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development. It is chaired by the governments of the Republic of Korea, Mexico and Romania. Secretariat support for the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development is provided by Article 19.

This e-book was prepared by Article 19 for the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development through the Civic Space Initiative, implemented in partnership with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the World Movement for Democracy. This e-book is wholly or partially financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida).

Further Reading 

Conflicts in places like Mali, Syria, Libya and the Central African Republic have significantly reversed development gains and threaten to undermine long-term development planning and policy implementation. Goal 16 is therefore considered an important enabling factor for achieving the post-2015 development agenda.

There is, however, no universal agreement on the precise dimensions of governance and the best approaches to peace and security that are important for development. Goal 16 as presently articulated is largely inclined towards a normative conception of “good governance”, which it posits as essential for development. Yet, this position is neither universally accepted nor substantiated in practice. In Africa, seemingly participatory and representative systems of governance have in a number of cases heightened group polarization and failed to prevent or contain communal violence. By contrast, the recent history of development in a number of Asian and African countries demonstrates that poverty alleviation is possible despite institutions that are not very inclusive or participatory. Moreover, even countries that have successfully embraced democratic forms of government continue to face challenges in achieving equitable and inclusive development.

Since Goal 16 is considered a universal factor for development, how do we measure its targets in a way that is meaningful for development at the regional and country levels?

This e-book is available to download through Amazon (Kindle or free app) 

For more information, see ECDPM’s Discussion Paper ‘The challenge of measuring SDG 16: What role for African regional frameworks?

Download (PDF, 451KB)

Image courtesy of Julien Harneis

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African institutionsAfrican Governance InitiativesBook chaptersBooks and book chaptersAfrican Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)Post 2015Africa

External authors

Adedayo Bolaji-Adio