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The citizen-led approach – a framework for the post-2015 development agenda

September 10, 2014

International IDEA’s experience has shown that its citizen-led assessment frameworks provide a useful means for working within the post-2015 development framework.

Since the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a variety of global data sets for measuring democracy and governance have been established. International IDEA´s State of Democracy (SoD), State of Local Democracy (SoLD) and Democratic Accountability in Service Delivery assessment frameworks, have been developed, tried and tested in a number of countries, including Mongolia. Using universal and context specific indicators, this enables comparative analysis whilst highlighting the uniqueness of a particular country´s democracy. The approach is designed to be inclusive: stakeholders include parliamentarians, civil society organizations, academia and ordinary citizens. In contrast to other assessment models which rely heavily on outsiders, IDEA’s frameworks are led by and become owned by the assessment countries themselves.

Working with a framework which allows for universal as well as contextual indicators can establish local implementation, monitoring and accountability mechanisms for inter-governmental processes. By looking at Mongolia’s experience when it applied the SOD citizen-led assessment framework to assess its democracy, a few key lessons stand out, specifically applicable to the post-2015 development agenda:

  • Mongolia demonstrated the need for governments to actively lead their citizens in processes that translate international commitments into action. Linked to this, it also showed that it is possible to build country ownership of international commitments through inclusive and highly interactive approaches.
  • Supported by the international community, Mongolia defined and packaged a clear reform agenda: the new Mongolia specific ‘Millennium Development Goal (MDG) #9’
  • Based on this, Mongolia developed democratic governance indicators (DGIs) used to regularly monitor the MDG-9.
  • Based on the DGIs, Mongolia institutionalized and monitored democracy and democratic governance within a national monitoring and evaluation mechanism.

IDEA Recommendations

  1. The citizen-led and owned approach should be adopted and adapted as a framework for the post-2015 development goals and targets.
  2. The monitoring framework for the post-2015 development goals and targets should adopt universal indicators as well as developing context specific indicators.

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