The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are recognised as having significantly shaped the global policy debate and resource allocations for development cooperation, through raising the profile of key aspects of development. A defining feature of the goals has been that they provide clear, concrete and measurable objectives, with a range of targets and indicators for areas like health, education and poverty reduction. Overall, however, the silence of the MDGs on governance has been seen as a weakness that should be corrected in a future set of goals.
That governance is such a complex and debated concept can lead to conclusions that it ‘cannot be measured’. However, while a catch-all ‘governance’ measure is unlikely to be very meaningful, it is important to recognise that in relation to specific dimensions of governance (such as the rule of law, transparency, inclusion or state capacity and effectiveness), progress has been made in recent years in developing a range of relevant and useful indicators and measures, especially at the national level. Developing and measuring governance indicators, however, especially at global level, it is not without its challenges and lessons should be learnt from past experience to help guide a constructive process for agreeing a post 2015 framework.