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Assessment Framework

The Monitor assessment framework is designed to measure inclusions and exclusions holistically across political, economic and social dimensions.

The Global Pluralism Monitor Assessment Framework reflects the Centre’s dual focus on institutions (hardware) and mindsets (software) and the complex interactions between the two. The Framework is comprised of seven that help assessment teams tell the story they want to tell about a specific country, highlighting the best and worst examples of pluralism. This is done through a country profile, 20 indicators, and recommendations for policy and practice. The indicators span 5 dimensions: Commitments, Practices, Leadership, Group-based Inequalities, and Inter-Group Relations and Belonging. This section provides guidance on using the framework as well as detailed descriptions of its components.

The Global Pluralism Monitor assessment starts with a country profile wherein expert assessors provide relevant contextual factors and explain why specific forms of diversity are chosen for the assessment. Country profiles also allow teams to discuss important factors affecting pluralism in a country that cut across several or many indicators to avoid repetition of that information throughout the assessment.


For pluralism, commitments are the most prominent way for states to declare their intent to build inclusive societies, and for non-state actors to keep states accountable. Commitments to pluralism can anchor other efforts to make society’s hardware and software more inclusive.

1. International Commitments

To what extent does the country engage with international legal commitments that support pluralism?

International law, particularly international and regional standards on human rights, minority rights and non-discrimination are important starting points for pluralism. These standards require states to not only tolerate diversity, but also to respect and protect it through positive measures.

International law standards require states to prohibit practices that undermine pluralism, such as hate speech, racial discrimination, and coercive assimilation policies.  These standards also have symbolic value as universal norms that underpin pluralism. Monitoring mechanisms that review state compliance with these standards can be further safeguards for pluralism.

For this question, assessors are asked to consider the extent to which countries have not only ratified the following treaties, but more importantly are also engaging with the monitoring mechanisms for those commitments (if applicable):

  • Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and Protocol Relating the Status of Refugees
  • International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
  • International Labour Organization Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries
  • UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Engagement with monitoring mechanisms may include (but is not limited to) establishing government agencies to conduct monitoring, the level of coordination between the diplomatic service and secretariats of conventions, whether the treaty was ratified with reservations, and timeliness of submissions to monitoring bodies.

Assessors should also consider the country’s engagement with monitoring bodies for regional treaties where they exist.

2. National Commitments

To what extent are there legal frameworks to recognize and protect the rights of diverse groups?

Legal commitments matter for pluralism because they serve as the basis for how states govern  diversity. While recognition and protection of individual civil and political rights are important, pluralism also requires laws that go beyond those basic individual rights.

Laws that recognize, support and/or accommodate diverse groups by enabling them to preserve their culture, express their identities, and participate fully in political, economic and socio-cultural spheres are important. This includes collective rights, such as those providing for territorial autonomy or access to natural resources.

In answering this question, assessors should consider whether there are commitments regarding:

  • Right to exist (eg. Recognition of Indigenous groups’ status)
  • Right to non-discrimination (eg. Hate speech legislation, equal protection laws, employment equity laws, freedom of religion in the public and private sector, affirmative action)
  • Right to the protection of their identity (eg. Minority rights in education, language and cultural rights, recognition of customary law)
  • Right to participation (eg. self-government rights)
  • Gender inclusion (eg. protection from gender-based violence, right to property, right to inheritance)

3. Inclusive Citizenship

To what extent are the country’s citizenship laws and practices inclusive?

Citizenship is often the primary means by which the state recognizes an individual as deserving of formal rights and protections, as well as being a full and legitimate member of that country. On one hand, citizenship can be a powerful tool for broadening inclusion and putting diverse groups on an equal footing. On the other hand, citizenship laws can also be used as a means to actively exclude groups, denying them recognition or protection.

Not recognizing some groups as citizens (and thus as “outsiders”) can often be used as a starting point for other kinds of exclusion, whether it be denial of social services or even targeted violence. Pluralism requires that all members of society have a reasonable path to citizenship without insurmountable obstacles.

For this question, assessors should consider the formal and informal mechanisms for accessing citizenship in the country:

  • On what grounds are individuals able to acquire citizenship?
  • Do all peoples living within the country have access to citizenship?
  • Are some groups denied citizenship by law or by other informal means?
  • Is it permitted to hold multiple citizenships?

II. Practices

While commitments are important, pluralism requires sufficient political will and action to realize commitments in practice. This dimension includes three measures for assessing the extent to which practices of the state reflect a desire to build more inclusive and equal societies:

4. Policy Implementation

Are policy commitments to pluralism implemented?

While political and legal commitments to pluralism are necessary, they are not sufficient. In order for pluralistic societies to thrive, policies also need to be fully implemented so that formal commitments can be realized in practice.

This requires willingness amongst those tasked with implementation of laws and policies, as well as adequate resources and an enabling institutional environment to make implementation possible. Further, it is important that the laws and policies be implemented fairly and equitably across diverse groups.

In answering this question, assessors should consider:

  • Do those responsible for implementing legal and policy commitments realize the same in practice?
  • Is there adequate funding and other resources available for implementing policy commitments?
  • Are there independent monitoring bodies to ensure accountability?
  • Are policies implemented and laws enforced equally and fairly across groups?

5. Data Collection

To what extent is data on group-based inequality collected?

The absence of data related to group inequalities (such as per capita incomes or consumption, educational attainments, and other relevant dimensions of wellbeing), disaggregated by ethnicity, religion, or other cultural markers, allows systemic inequalities and exclusion to persist.

Effective interventions in the form of laws or policies are only possible if there is recognition of inequalities, and an understanding of the factors driving them. Because of this, data collected by government bodies is often most valuable, as it may already be an indication of the state’s willingness to address group-based inequalities.

To assess the quality of data being collected, assessors should consider the following questions:

  • To what extent is data on inequalities disaggregated by group, and collected systematically and regularly throughout the country?
  • Is such data made publicly available?
  • Are there state-imposed restrictions on the collection of data? Is data collection outlawed?
  • What other barriers may exist to prevent the collection of data?
  • Is data collected on some groups but not others?
  • Is there data on intersectional discrimination or inequality?

6. Claims-Making and Contestation

To what extent are groups able to make claims and engage in peaceful contestation to advance their interests?

The ability of groups to make claims is a vital component of a healthy pluralistic society. Groups need to be able to peacefully mobilize for change, without the fear of repression by either the state or non-state actors.

Calls for greater representation of a group in the government, demands for more rights, or protests against discriminatory treatment are examples of claims, and may be made through formal means (such as electoral or judicial channels) or through mobilizations and movements (for example, protests or campaigns). There will always be new challenges for pluralism, and a society’s ability to have ongoing dialogue and action to accommodate diversity is indicative of its long-term sustainability.

In answering this question, assessors should consider both the legal and political environment for claims-making as well as how these movements are generally perceived as legitimate or not by wider society.

III. Leadership for Pluralism

Leadership for pluralism can look different from sector to sector, but is always rooted in a fundamental recognition that all groups deserve dignity and should feel that they belong.

7. Political Parties

To what extent do major political parties espouse pluralistic values?

Successful pluralistic societies require that political discourse be situated in norms of mutual respect and inclusion. This also extends to the values espoused by political parties through their platforms and actions.

Political parties of all kinds, be they broad coalitions or parties representing the interests of specific groups, have a responsibility to articulate their agendas in ways that are respectful of difference, and not rooted in divisive rhetoric. This extends to the policies that parties support.

8. News Media

A. Representation: To what extent do diverse groups participate in news media as contributors or creators? B. Prominence of pluralistic actors: How prominent are news media actors that espouse pluralism?

Media has the potential to reflect the diversity of a society, as well as to reinforce public perceptions on who belongs in society. Broadening the idea of who belongs is imperative to building pluralistic societies, and in the media space this begins with diverse groups fully participating at all levels: be it through producing their own content or collaborating with others.

In answering this question, assessors should consider the following:

  • Is news media available in diverse groups’ native languages?
  • Is there news media created by and for minorities?
  • Does news media’s coverage reflect the country’s diversity?

Pluralistic societies require a media environment where the most prominent voices are those that reinforce attitudes of respect and inclusion for diverse groups. Media actors that embrace divisive rhetoric or otherwise portray issues related to diverse groups in a negative light can undermine efforts to broaden inclusive norms.

In answering this question, assessors should consider the following:

  • How are diversity issues portrayed by publicly funded national news broadcasters?
  • Are group stereotypes reinforced?

9. Civil Society

How prominent are civil society actors that espouse pluralism?

A vibrant civil society is an important part of pluralistic societies. Civil society actors – such as non-government organizations, religious associations, trade unions, and social movements – provide spaces where the hardware and software of society can be shaped and challenged.

Civil society can often be the catalyst for change, whether through grassroots social movements or organizations directly lobbying the government. However, civil society actors can also be a source of division when they adopt discriminatory practices and exclusionary messaging. Organizations committed to the concerns of particular groups are invaluable for ensuring that all people in society have a voice, but espousing pluralism means situating groups’ concerns within a broader environment of respect and recognition of others’ right to the same.

For this indicator, assessors are asked to consider the prominence of civil society actors who champion inclusion and respect for diversity.

10. Private Sector

To what extent do the workforce and leadership in large local private companies represent diverse groups?

The private sector plays a pivotal role in creating pluralistic societies. Most importantly, private sector actors must make a considered effort to hire individuals from diverse groups.

In societies where stark group-based economic and social inequalities exist, the private sector can be a leader in breaking intergenerational cycles of exclusion for groups that have not had equitable access to gainful employment or a living wage in the past.

In answering the question, assessors are asked to consider whether large private companies have representation from diverse groups both in the workforce as well as in companies’ leadership and decision-making roles.

IV. Group-Based Inequalities

Building pluralistic societies requires addressing group-based inequalities at all levels.

11. Political

To what extent is there equitable political representation and participation?

Political representation and participation are arguably the most pivotal mechanisms for the democratic accommodation of diversity. The ability to vote, form political parties, and otherwise access and benefit from institutions for political decision-making are all central to a functioning pluralistic society

Inequalities in the political domain, particularly along lines of group difference, are markers of a pluralism deficit.

12. Economic

To what extent is there equitable participation and access in the economic domain?

Inequality in economic access and participation is particularly damaging for pluralism when it overlaps with lines of difference. Inequalities intersect and have multiplying effects in other areas (for example, economic inequality affects access to quality education, and in turn, a lack of education is a barrier for economic opportunity.

In answering this question, please use available data on economic inequalities by group, including the following areas:

  • Income and wealth, including wage gaps
  • Access to public and private-sector employment
  • Access to land and natural resources, including benefits of natural resources
  • Land and property inheritance
  • Inclusion in finance, such as savings and credit cooperatives, both formal and semi-formal

13. Social

To what extent is there equitable participation and access in the social domain?

Pluralism rests on the idea that society belongs to all of its members, so public goods and services (such as education and healthcare) must be shared by all. Access to public goods and services is important not only for ensuring equality but also for establishing inclusive narratives around who belongs in society.

In answering this question, assessors should consider the following:

  • Access to education and educational attainment (primary and higher levels)
  • Access to healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health, that address the particular needs of diverse groups
  • Access to welfare and social protections

14. Cultural

To what extent are there cultural inequalities between diverse groups?

In pluralistic societies, diverse cultures – expressed through dress, religious observance, symbols, language, and history – are treated with equal respect and dignity.

Cultural inequalities occur when certain cultures are not recognized as deserving public recognition, or are seen as subordinate to cultural norms dictated by the dominant groups in a society.

While all societies have cultural norms and practices that could be seen as dominant in that society, a pluralistic society is distinguished by a concerted effort to ensure that all cultures are treated with equal levels of respect.

15. Access to Justice

To what extent is there equitable access to justice?

While commitments to pluralism in law are necessary, they are not sufficient. When laws are implemented inconsistently or unfairly, all individuals in society must be able to challenge injustices in courts of law, through ombudspersons or other institutional arrangements.

Furthermore, the justice system must be easily available to all who need it, and must not involve onerous bureaucratic or financial obstacles. Pluralistic societies require that all individuals, regardless of identity, can defend their rights and be empowered to challenge exclusionary practices.

In answering this question, assessors should consider the following:

  • Is there a strong and independent judiciary?
  • Can people afford and access civil and criminal justice?
  • Is civil and criminal justice subject to unreasonable delays?
  • Are there effective and accessible alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including informal justice systems?
  • Is there funding for national human rights organizations or other institutional mechanisms to address grievances? Are these mechanisms effective?
  • Is there differential treatment towards certain groups by law enforcement?

V. Intergroup Relations and Belonging

In order for pluralism to flourish, there needs to be consensus between groups and individuals that everyone deserves dignity and belong in society.

16. Intergroup Violence

To what extent is there violence in response to ethnic, religious, or cultural grievances between groups?

Ethnic or sectarian violence generally occurs as a result of pervasive group-based inequalities, and the failure of peaceful claims-making. In answering this question, assessors should consider the nature of grievances between different groups in the country, and the level of violence that has occurred as a result.

Not all protracted violence in a country can necessarily be traced back to diversity issues, and so the links between violence and political/economic/cultural exclusion by group must be made clear in the assessment.

17. Intergroup Trust

To what extent is there intergroup trust in society?

Building pluralistic societies requires trust between groups. Diversity must be accepted as a normal and desirable social condition, and people must view those of different religions, ethnicities, genders, languages or nationalities in a positive way, so as to ensure peaceful co-existence. Intergroup trust demonstrates a shared, vested interest in creating inclusive, resilient societies.

In answering this question, assessors should refer to available perception survey data on intergroup trust and attitudes toward diversity. This could include:

  • Level of trust towards diverse groups
  • Level of comfort with intergroup marriage
  • Level of comfort with having a boss who is from a different group

18. Trust in Public Institutions

To what extent do diverse groups trust public institutions in the society?

The level of trust extended by diverse groups towards public institutions to protect during a time of crisis is a key marker of the health of pluralism. For different groups, their experience of public institutions may be influenced by historical narratives of discrimination, exclusionary policies and group-specific vulnerabilities.

In answering this question, please consider levels of trust among diverse groups towards institutions such as:

  • Public health
  • Public education
  • Law enforcement
  • Judiciary

19. Inclusion and Acceptance

To what extent do diverse groups feel that they are included and accepted in society?

A major factor in ensure that people feel they belong in the society they live in is to feel that they are accepted for who they are. In pluralistic societies, this means being accepted without denying one’s cultural, religious or other identity. People should also be able to participate—such as speak their own language or celebrate their culture– without fear of discrimination.

In answering this question, please refer to relevant and available survey data related to:

  • Feelings of inclusion
  • Feelings of acceptance
  • Personal experiences of discrimination based on identity markers

20. Shared Ownership of Society

To what extent do all groups feel a shared sense of ownership in society?

The goal of pluralism is for everyone to feel that they belong. In addition to inclusion and acceptance, a full sense of belonging also means a shared stake in responsibility and ownership of society. For example, some members of society may be accepted by others but only as “guests”.

Some groups may feel they are accepted but do not assert or claim specific rights or accommodations for fear of backlash. Belonging means feeling a sense of shared ownership and the right to participate as a legitimate and full member of society.


Recommendations constitute the final element of the Monitor’s assessment framework. Assessment teams provide preliminary recommendations based on the findings.

As a conclusion to the report, assessors will provide preliminary recommendations for policymakers and practitioners based on the findings. These are meant to be starting points for broader discussions with relevant stakeholders to translate the analysis from the report into actionable items. In successive reports, assessors can also reflect on whether recommendations have been acted upon in meaningful ways.