Thursday, June 14, 2007

Scraping Metrics - Part III: UN Report

As we mentioned in an earlier post, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recently published a quarterly report detailing the situation in Iraq from the UN's point of view.

This post continues with the idea that the news around us give us ideas that help answer the following questions:
  • What are the most important indicators?
  • What we must measure to form a fuller picture how things are going in Iraq?
When tackling a task like this, the idea is to be on the lookout for important factors that we haven't yet included in our growing composite list.

The Secretary General's report is a rich source for these kinds of ideas. Some of the measurable indicators that come up are named directly. In other cases, we use an idea expressed in the report as a springboard for creating a specific, measurable entity that would at least partially shed some light on how well things were going in that general area.

Thousands of Words and Nary a Picture. The report itself does not include a single trend graph which is a disappointment as the UN has a unique perspective and likely has access to key data that may not be available elsewhere. The report relies on the spoken word for conveying information about trends and therefore falls short of what its potential might have been.

Here then is the list of important UN indicators. Many of these can be profitably subject to disaggregation into Shia, Sunni, Kurd, or by location in Iraq.
  1. Number of kidnappings
  2. Oil revenues - how are these being divided today, prior to the passage of new oil revenue sharing law (by region, by ethnic category, by different government agencies)
  3. Millions of dollars of new loans secured
  4. Number of newly displaced Iraqis inside Iraq
  5. Number of newly displace Iraqis who have fled to neighboring countries
  6. Millions of dollars of financial assistance provided to internally displaced Iraqis
  7. Millions of dollars of financial assistance provide to Iraqis who have fled to other countries
  8. Number of Iraqis registered to vote
  9. Number of law enforcement personnel charged with serious human rights violations
  10. Number of attacks on journalists or media persons
  11. Number of casualties (wounded) registered in hospitals
  12. Number of families losing their breadwinner to death or incapacitating injury
  13. Number of family members losing their breadwinner
  14. Percentage of eligible children attending school (primary, secondary) (male, female)
  15. Number of students attending college (male, female)
  16. Number of college graduates
  17. Number of advanced degrees awarded
  18. Number of doctors completing their training
  19. Number of nurses completing their training
  20. Millions of dollars of Iraqi assistance to displaced persons
  21. Percentage of population with safe water supplies
  22. Percentage of displace persons having access to the public
  23. Percentage of malnourished children
  24. Additional contributions to the United Nations Development Group Iraq Trust Fund
  25. Number of attacks in the International Zone (Green Zone)
  26. Number of incoming rounds of mortars, rockets in the Green Zone
  27. Number of deaths and injuries in the Green Zone from attacks
  28. Number of attacks on strategic targets - e.g. bridges, major thoroughfares, checkpoints near the Green Zone, Parliament building
  29. Number of attacks on infrastructure for electricity, water, oil, sewerage
  30. Number of neighborhoods in Baghdad with new security outputs
  31. Number of attacks on new security outposts
  32. Percentage of buildings in Green Zone with hardened overhead protection capable of withstanding attack from large scale ordnance such as 107-mm and 122-mm rockets.
Imagine how much better we would understand what is actually happening in Iraq if we had a trend history and regular, moderately frequent, near real time updates for each of these factors inspired by the Secretary General's report.

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