Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Documentation note ESCWA'S national plans database

Grand, Nathalie and Lorenz, Adam and Woodford, Georgina (2017): Documentation note ESCWA'S national plans database. Published in: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Technical paper No. 23 (21 December 2017): pp. 1-22.

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The Database of National Planning (DNP) compiled by the Economic Governance and Planning Section at UN-ESCWA provides standardised indicators about development planning practices in the Arab region in order to facilitate policy analysis and scholarly work. The goal of the DNP is to assess current policy practices in the Arab region against international standards of ‘good planning’, and facilitate identification of potential for improvement of planning practices. The database may also be used to monitor countries’ achievements towards their stated goals, mainstream international agendas in Arab countries’ planning thus informing the public debate and contributing toward aligning people’s expectations.

The paper describes the framework used to ensure comparability of individual planning initiatives across the region. It provides detailed description of data gathering, and data treatment methodology. It explains the database structure and operations. It exemplifies ways to compute composite assessment indicators, currently based on the degree of ‘quality’ and ‘sophistication’ of planning in the Arab region. Finally, the paper explicitly reports the limitations of the database for meaningful analyses and cross-country comparisons and way forward.

Currently, the National Planning Database contains selected planning data series for seventeen of ESCWA’s member states and Algeria; however, there is no information available for Syria, Comoros, Djibouti and Somalia. The qualitative and quantitative information compiled comes from Arab countries’ planning documents readily accessible online. The methodological paper is intended to be a living guide, whereby additional or updated information can be added when available and as appropriate.

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