World Governance Index
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The World Governance Index (WGI) is an indicator developed in 2008 by the Forum for a new World Governance (FnWG). It aims to provide, year on year, a precise image of the situation of world governance and of its evolution. Based on the picture it provides on where the world and its individual countries stand in terms of governance, this index is intended to allow those in charge of governance to raise the appropriate questions when thinking about solutions and remedies for what constitutes one of the major problems of the 20th century.
If there is one topic that in the past 15 years or so that has been extensively written about, it is definitely world governance. The magnitude of world governance is reflected by the exponential multiplication of books, articles, symposia, debates, and summits on its subject, whether to explore the many paths to it, to discuss the difficulties involved in it, or the requirements it brings to light.
Developing a set of indicators in order to produce a World Governance Index (WGI) is a long and complex undertaking. The idea is to measure a contemporary concept which, in spite of the fact that it is historically rooted, that there are frameworks in which it is currently applied, that it is implemented by identified actors, and that there is agreement on the diagnosis of its afflictions, it is as yet far from having been “stabilized.”
Basing their work on the United Nations Millennium Declaration, which was the subject of unprecedented U.N. consensus among the heads of state and government who adopted it in 2000, a team of researchers of the Forum for a new World Governance (FnWG), made up of Gustavo Marín, Arnaud Blin, and Renaud François, focused its research on the five main concepts defining the application framework of world governance and constituting key goals to be reached by 2015:
- Peace / Security
- Democracy / Rule of Law
- Human Rights / Participation
- Sustainable Development
- Human Development
What is the purpose of a WGI?
The research team considered its mission with two goals in mind:
- The first was to create a World Governance Index (WGI) providing an overall picture of world governance at time T based on data obtained for the 179 countries included in the survey. The WGI combines 5 indicators, each made up of 13 sub-indicators, each of those made up of 37 indexes. These indexes were selected from among the best available databases. They are all provided by recognized sources, well known for their quality, seriousness, and reliability.
|Peace / Security||National Security||Conflicts|
|Refugees / Asylum Seekers|
|Public Security||Political climate|
|Degree of trust|
|Homicides / 100,000 inhabitants|
|Rule of Law||Body of Laws||Ratification of International Treaties|
|Protection of Property Rights|
|Settlement of Contractual Disputes|
|Corruption||Corruption Perceptions Index|
|Human Rights / Participation||Civil and Political Rights||Respect of Civil Rights|
|Respect of Physical Integrity Rights|
|Freedom of the Press|
|Violence against the Press|
|Participation||Participation in Political Life|
|Electoral Process and Pluralism|
|Discrimination / Gender Inequalities||Women’s Political Rights|
|Women’s Social Rights|
|Women’s Economic Rights|
|Female Parliamentary Rate|
|Sustainable Development||Economic Sector||Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita|
|GDP Growth Rate|
|Ease in starting a business|
|Social Dimension||Poverty Rate / Inequalities (Gini Coefficient)|
|Ratification of International Labor Law Treaties|
|Environmental Dimension||Ecological Footprint / Biocapacity|
|Environmental Performance Index|
|Human Development||Development||Human Development|
|Well-being / Happiness||Subjective Well-being|
- The second goal is to motivate world-governance actors to consider the resulting WGI and the relative importance of the different indicators. This should allow them to identify the “key” or “pilot” indicators that will set up the conditions for good world governance and, more importantly, guarantee their sustainability. The ultimate goal of this study is part of a long-term process. On the basis of the situation described by the WGI and of its diagnosis, it should allow actors in charge of governance to raise the right questions in order to consider solutions.
Methodology and databases
Although some of the indexes used (only 4 out of the 37) were drawn from databases that had not been updated since 2007, the 2008 World Governance Index nevertheless reflects the state of world governance in 2008.
The regional rankings are inspired from UNDP classification. The 179 countries surveyed in this study —microstates were deliberately not included in this list – were grouped into six regional subgroups:
- European Union / OECD
- Latin America / Caribbean
- Asia / Pacific
- Arab World
- NIS / Central Asia / Balkans
World Governance Index: PDF document, 81 pages.
- "World governance" is also and often referred to as "global governance."
- As testified by any Internet search, over 64,000 books have been published in English since the mid-1990s on the topic of world or global governance. As for journals or magazines that have featured articles on the subject, they include a broad variety, from mainstream magazines to specialized journals from all over the world on anthropology, democracy, atomic science, current affairs, etc. It is naturally a key topic for the G-20 and countless other meetings, international or not. The WGI described here was developed within an Internet-based research project called the Forum for a new World Governance with funding from the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for Humankind.
- See the first chapter of Global Governance on Wikipedia.
- This includes, among others, the entire United Nations organization and the Bretton Woods institutions.
- Among several hundred converging diagnoses, see, for instance: World Humanity Action Trust (2000), "Governance for a Sustainable Future", Reports of the Commissions of the World Humanity Action Trust, Russell Press Ltd., Nottingham (UK), p. 30; (2009), O'Hara, P.A. (ed.), "Public Policy and Political Economy", International Encyclopedia of Public Policy - Governance in a Global Age, Vol. 3, Perth; "Environmental governance" on Wikipedia; "Current global governance systems lack capacity to deal with global risks" in Daily Financial Times, Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. Colombo (Sri Lanka), January 14, 2011; etc.