About the SGI

Mission Statement

Why do most states fail to deliver sustainable governance?
In our globalizing world, increasingly complex challenges – from shifting economic power and social inequalities to aging societies and depleting resources – are placing governments under intensifying pressure. Now more than ever, governments must rapidly adapt and deploy policies to meet these challenges.

When confronting these challenges, most OECD and EU governments continue to struggle with implementing sustainable policies. All too often, ad-hoc measures rule the day. Mounting debts shift unfair burdens to future generations. The lack of equal opportunities in labor markets, education and health care put the future viability of entire societies at risk. And most countries fail to prioritize the efficient use of natural resources for long-term sustainability.

In order to ensure quality of life for present and future generations, stakeholders throughout society must pursue and demand more long-term thinking. And doing so requires more innovation in governance - in making policies work for us all, now and in the future.
How does the SGI address these needs?
We believe good governance and sustainable development go hand-in-hand. We also believe in mutual learning. As a cross-national comparative survey designed to identify and foster successes in effective policymaking, the SGI explores how governments target sustainable development. We advocate for more sustainable governance, which is built on three pillars:

Policy Performance

Driven by evidence-based analyses, the SGI helps a variety of stakeholders throughout the OECD and EU navigate the complexity of effective governance. What works in which context and why? Answering these questions can help generate innovative responses to cross-cutting challenges worldwide. Whether citizen or a member of the public, private or third sector, practitioners across the policymaking spectrum will find the SGI useful in identifying “good“ practices and in adapting them locally.

Sustainable Policies

Why Policy Performance?
If the goal of public policy is to promote sustainable development as well as citizens’ social and economic inclusion, then governments must cultivate the social, economic and environmental conditions that generate well-being and empowerment. The SGI examines how well policies have performed in achieving these objectives by examining outcomes across 16 policy fields.

Underpinning the examination of each policy field are qualitative assessments and quantitative data. Outcomes are examined to establish the extent to which governments actively foster opportunities at home and contribute to the provision of global public goods. The areas examined are:

Robust Democracy

Just how important is democracy?
The sustainability of policies will depend in many ways on the quality of a country’s democracy. Guaranteeing opportunities for democratic participation as well respect for the rule of law and civil rights cultivate citizens‘ confidence in the legitimacy of actions taken by political leaders. Without strong public support for government actions, even the best ideas in policymaking will lack the traction needed to take hold.

Confidence in the mechanisms and institutions of governance also enable societies to respond more quickly to necessary changes. The Democracy pillar examines the extent to which the features of a democratic system ensure and foster this confidence. The areas examined are:

Good Governance

What enables long-term thinking in governance?
Sustainable governance is anchored in leaders adopting a long-term view of public policies that considers the interests of future generations. Some contexts, mechanisms and approaches are more facilitative than others in promoting such farsightedness. This pillar of the SGI explores the extent to which a country’s institutional arrangements enhance the public sector’s capacity to act (“executive capacity”) as well as the extent to which citizens, NGOs and other organizations are endowed with the participatory competence to hold government accountable to its actions (“executive accountability”). The areas examined are:
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