The key findings on tracking the progress on SDG 16 using the Global State of Democracy Indices data are as follows:

  • The GSoD Indices enable to measure progress on six targets of SDG 16 (Targets 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 10). This GSoD In Focus assesses progress in implementing SDG 16 since 2015.
  • According to GSoD data, global progress on SDG 16 is facing significant challenges, although some advances can be noted. Of the 18 GSoD aspects used to measure progress on SDG 16, 12 of them have seen significant declines, 5 have recorded advances, and 1 of them has seen stagnation.
  • Public access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms (linked to SDG 16.10) are under threat across all regions. The underlying causes include the curtailment of civic space, democratic backsliding and erosion, and encroaching authoritarian tendencies by governments, which contribute to undermine fundamental rights.
  • Over half of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean live in countries that have seen declines in aspects related to SDG 16.10. 39 per cent of people in Asia Pacific and 28 per cent in Europe live in countries that have seen declines on this target.
  • Africa has made the most progress in implementing SDG 16 targets. However, significant challenges remain for achieving SDG 16, particularly for effective, accountable and transparent institutions (target 16.6), and  public access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms (target 16.10). Levels of democratic development in the region remain low compared with the rest of the world.
  • The Middle East has made some progress, although it remains the lowest-scoring region in the world on all aspects linked to SDG 16.
  • Asia-Pacific has made progress in implementing SDG 16, with significant challenges remaining on GSoD aspects, particularly those related to target 16.10.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean have seen mixed progress, and closer attention is warranted on reducing all forms of violence and related death rates (targets 16.1), and 16.10. It is the region after Europe with the largest share of declines on GSoD aspects relating to SDG 16.
  • Europe provides high overall scores on GSoD Indices linked to SDG 16. However, it is also the region that has seen the most declines on the GSoD aspects that measure progress on SDG 16.
  • North America (United States and Canada) scores among the top 25 per cent of countries in the world on 14 and 16 (respectively) of the 18 aspects related to SDG 16. However, stagnation is noted on more than half of the aspects (55 per cent) and declines in 44 per cent of them while only one saw an advance.

In November 2017, International IDEA launched the first edition of a new biennial report, The Global State of Democracy. The report provided evidence-based analysis and data on the global and regional state of democracy.

This GSoD In Focus showcases progress on SDG 16 derived from the GSoD Indices, which now covers a total of 158 countries for the period 1975–2018. More detailed analyses of regional findings will be included in the second edition of The Global State of Democracy, which will be published in November 2019.


Publication date
15 September 2019
Number of pages



1. Introduction and methodology

2. Complementarity of GSoD Indices with SDG 16

3. Analysis of GSoD data

4. Conclusion


Give us feedback

Do you have a question or feedback about this publication? Leave us your feedback, and we’ll get back to you

Send feedback

Tracking progress on Sustainable Development Goal 16 with Global State of Democracy Indices

GSoD In Focus No. 8
Total views 8733
Downloads 0
Close tooltip