Four Ways Peace Research Made an Impact in Nuevo León, Mexico
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a comprehensive framework for global action on critical peace and development issues. Goal 16 is the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels. It represents the international community’s acknowledgement that peace is fundamental to development.
Goal 16 is the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) participated in the discussions on this agenda and, together with other actors, achieved the inclusion of this objective. In 2016, IEP released a global data audit on measuring Goal 16 and produced the first sub-national assessment of progress toward Goal 16 conducted anywhere in the world.
Each year, IEP publishes a Nuevo León Peace Report based on the results of the Mexico Peace Index (MPI), a study of peace levels in Mexico whose fourth edition will be published in April 2017. The 2016 Nuevo León Report included a special focus on Goal 16, with an assessment of the state’s progress in the 14 of 23 indicators that can be measured at the state level in Mexico. The research was commissioned by the local Civic Council of Nuevo León and is being used by the state government and members of the community to actively improve peace in the state.
Below are four core factors that have made this innovative piece of peace research successful and impactful:
- Engagement with a local partner
Cómo Vamos, or, How Are We Going? Is an initiative of the Civic Council of Institutions of Nuevo León, it tracks the state’s progress in development and includes a citizen agenda for the state government of 2015-2021. The state government has committed to improving Nuevo León’s MPI score. This connection to an existing, locally-led program turned a piece of peace research into a tool for peacebuilding.
- Being dogged about obtaining data
Too often, the types of violence that predominately affect women are the hardest to count. But the ultimate mandate of the 2030 SDGs is to ‘leave no one behind’. This call to action rang true when collecting data for the Nuevo León report. Nuevo León’s crime data comes directly from their Attorney General’s office, but it is published in a very difficult to use format, making it difficult for citizens and researchers to access. . However, IEP’s researchers were tenacious, working over-time to obtain and manually input sexual violence data, which was critical in mapping the levels of peace in the state.
- Civil society used data to hold the government to account
At the end of the year, Cómo Vamos Nuevo León held a meeting with the Governor and his entire team of state secretaries to analyze progress toward improved peacefulness. The Nuevo Leon Report was a key focal point for citizen and government discussion in an event that lasted approximately four hours.
Governor Jaime Rodríguez Calderón signed a commitment in the campaign to advance in this objective and to measure it through the Mexico Peace Index. Although Nuevo León ranks 24th in the MPI, the state has a strong potential to improve its current levels of peacefulness. The report highlights the need to address rising sexual violence and the high rates of extortion in recent years. Likewise, the passage of migrants through the state and the treatment that the community gives them is an important factor in improving acceptance of the rights of others – a key aspect of positive peace.
Based on IEP’s findings, citizens called on their government for solutions and the Governor’s cabinet presented its plans to address these key issues.
- IEPs metrics fill data gaps
While Goal 16 is measurable, there are many limitations. Fifteen of the 23 indicators that make up the Goal 16 targets can currently be measured by existing sources at national levels. Proxy indicators can measure the remaining eight indicators. However, there are still significant challenges to data availability, reliability, timeliness and objectivity around the world and in Mexico and Nuevo León specifically. At the local level, most of the official indicators are not adequately disaggregated for state or municipal measurement. However, the MPI and the Mexico Positive Peace Index (MPPI) indicators serve as very close proxy measurements. The concepts captured by the Goal 16 targets are already being measured by the data sources and indicators, that IEP already uses to quantitatively asses peacefulness in Mexico.
Many of the official Goal 16 indicators either cannot be measured at the sub-national level or do not have available data. Metrics like the proportion of the population subjected to any form of physical, psychological or sexual violence in the previous 12 months are very difficult to capture in full. However, the MPI already tracks as many forms of violence in Mexico as data allows. The Nuevo León Peace Report 2016 further supplements this research with local peace and violence data.
In total, IEP was able to measure nearly half of the Goal 16 indicators at the local level. Nuevo León sub-national Goal 16 assessment shows that state outperforms Mexico as whole on eight our 14 indicators.
In 2017, the Nuevo León Peace Report will be repeated based on the 2017 MPI. With this tool, the state’s achievements and outstanding needs will be evaluated. In addition, the next report intends to involve more national level experts and citizens of Nuevo León in hopes of restoring Nuevo León’s former position as one of the most peaceful states in Mexico.