Indicators to measure the performance of international human and minority rights treaties are increasingly a requirement in the assessment of the impact of legal standards. Once a legal framework exists, specific measurement tools need to be designed and implemented. This raises a number of questions with an often technical nature, and which ought to be addressed in the general perspective of “policy analysis”— where the notion “policy” has to be clearly distinguished from the notion of “politics.” However, there is relatively little information, whether in terms of analytical tools or practical experience, on the evaluation of policies addressing minority issues. Whereas there is considerable technical know-how, in a policy analysis perspective, on other types of issues (for example, in the case of policies that address economic inequality between groups, making it possible to apply such knowledge to the reduction of socio-economic disparities between majorities and minorities), much less is known about how to evaluate rigorously various minority protection policy options.

To investigate more closely the techniques (whether already available or in need of further elaboration) for the ex ante assessment and ex-post evaluation of the organisational and financial consequences of measures in favour of minority protection, as well as for the general assessment of the effectiveness of policy measures, the ECMI has since 2000 implemented ad hoc indicator projects aimed at designing indicators for minority rights. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), indicators are parameters or values derived from information describing the state of a phenomenon. As such, they are an attempt to gather facts and information despite conditions of uncertainty due to lack of comprehensive data and to the ever-changing nature of the phenomena under analysis. Different types of indicators have different aims.

Through this research effort, the ECMI wishes to

  • Improve the application of minority indicators through a conceptualization of policy-to-outcome indicators;
  • Design context relevant minority indicators for specific legal instruments and governance policies;
  • Produce toolkits and handbooks that may be of use not only to monitors, but also to public servants and NGOs that are involved in monitoring minority protection;

The results will continue to be disseminated through the ECMI publications. See further:

ECMI Report #6, “Evaluating policy measures for minority languages in Europe: towards effective, cost-effective and democratic implementation”

ECMI Working Paper #61, “Policy-to-Outcome Indicators and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages“

ECMI Handbook, “Qualitative Minority Indicators: The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities,”

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