Explaining progress

Exploring where and how progress has happened, analysing the social, economic and political drivers of progress amongst some of the leading performers.

Favela, Rio de Janerio. Flickr, Anthony Goto

A series of case studies will explore where progress has happened and why, revealing the political, social and economic factors facilitating progress. Each country case study will explore a particular focus area within one of the following dimensions of wellbeing, with several case studies explicitly researched from a multidimensional angle.

Material wellbeing
The basic economic and material dimension of progress. Case studies will centre on countries that have managed to shift their growth patterns and the distribution of secondary income in favour of the poor, and those that have significantly improved individuals’ economic resilience and associated access to services. Particular attention will be paid to equity and economic security.

  • Quality of life in urban areas: Peru and Thailand
  • Extreme poverty: TBC

Physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or illness. Case studies will examine specific, narrower outcomes within health service provision: maternal health and combating preventable diseases – both of which are linked to MDGs that have proven elusive for many countries.

Knowledge, skills and competencies. Case studies will examine progress across two areas that have shown to be particularly challenging in education globally: the quality of basic education and access to post-primary education.

A contributor to incomes, particularly of the less well-off, but also an important contributor to self-respect and fulfillment. The quantity of work is of course important but perhaps more so is its quality. Case studies will explore countries that have been able to increase quality employment in urban and rural areas, in the informal sector, and for specific deprived groups.

  • Access to productive employment: Uganda and Sri Lanka

The quality of air, land and water, biodiversity and atmospheric change; and at the household level, access to clean water and improved sanitation. Case studies will focus on the interrelation between environmental sustainability and economic and social progress, identifying environmental protection and income-generating activities that have been mutually reinforcing.

Political voice
The inclusiveness and functioning of governing institutions that enables the participation of individuals in political processes, allowing citizens to participate in policy making and speak up against what is perceived as wrong (intrinsic value), and ensuring accountability of public officials and institutions whilst revealing values, needs and deprivations (instrumental value). Case studies will focus on national-level political processes aimed at enhancing freedoms and improving governance.

  • Building more inclusive and open political orders: Morocco and Mexico (TBC)

Social Cohesion
A ‘cohesive’ society works towards the wellbeing of all its members and fights exclusion and marginalization (social inclusion); creates a sense of belonging and promotes trust (social capital); and offers members the opportunity of upward social mobility. Case studies will consider the integration and representation of historically excluded groups into political processes, focusing particularly on countries that have increased women’s empowerment.

  • Women’s empowerment: Tunisia and Colombia

Personal security, including the reduction of armed violence and improved citizen safety.  Case studies will examine what factors have enabled improved peace and security along with strengthened resilience and recovery mechanisms in countries overcoming conflict.

  • Peace and security: Timor Leste and Liberia

A set of three multi-dimensional case studies will more fully explore how dimensions of progress potentially interact, centred on a selected sub-set of ‘linked’ dimensions.

  • Health, education and political voice: Ghana, India and Ethiopia.