In conjunction with Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic, MSI Integrity has been developing the MSI Evaluation Tool to assess the institutional design of MSIs from a human rights perspective. The MSI Evaluation Tool has been rigorously developed and reviewed over a three-year period involving extensive academic review, consultation with practitioners, practical application during pilot MSI evaluations, and finally, public scrutiny during our 2013 global consultation. It will be finalized and released in 2016.


Overview of the MSI Evaluation Tool

The MSI Evaluation Tool contains over 400 indicator questions. The indicator questions are objective, meaning that they ask specific questions that can be answered with yes or no responses. For example, “Are the MSI’s standards publicly available?” (Yes / No).  A “yes” answer indicates that the MSI is designed to meet the criteria in question. Indicator questions include some purely informational criteria, as well as assessment criteria that are categorized as:

[toggle title=”Essential Elements”] Essential elements questions identify the necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for an MSI to have the capacity to protect and promote human rights.


These questions are colored red in the Draft MSI Evaluation Tool.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Good Practices”] Good practices questions identify the commonly used, but not necessary, conditions for an MSI to have the capacity to function effectively to protect and promote human rights.
[/toggle] [toggle title=”Innovative Practices”] Innovative practices questions identify novel or uncommon conditions that have been used or theorized to improve or optimize the capacity of an MSI to protect and promote human rights.

The forthcoming companion MSI Essential Elements Evaluation Tool will contain only the indicator questions that assess the essential elements, allowing for a more concise evaluation of these critical aspects that are necessary, but not sufficient, for MSIs to have the capability to protect and promote human rights.


The Evaluation Tool questions are organized into sections according to seven core aspects of MSI design:

  • Human rights scope and mandate;
  • Standards to protect human rights;
  • Internal governance systems;
  • Implementation (e.g., monitoring, evaluation, and grievance) mechanisms;
  • Capacity to evolve over time;
  • Transparency and accessibility; and
  • Affected community involvement.

MSI Evaluation Reports are also organized according to these seven sections, and include contextual analysis and recommendations based on the results of the MSI Evaluation Tool assessment.


Use the MSI Evaluation Tool

The MSI Evaluation Tool will be openly available for public use to evaluate MSIs, in conjunction with the assessment methodology and specific guidance. The revised MSI Evaluation Tool, which will be released in the short term,  incorporates feedback related to indicator criteria and clarifies assessment procedures. A summary of each comment received during the consultation process and the resulting modifications will accompany the release of the revised Tool. At present, a draft version of the Evaluation Tool presented for our 2013 global consultation is available for reference below.


Additionally, MSI Integrity will publish a glossary explaining the terminology used in the MSI Evaluation Tool, and a new, simplified version of the Evaluation Tool that exclusively contains the essential elements indicator questions. This simplified evaluation tool will be called the MSI Essential Elements Evaluation Tool, and will allow an evaluation to focus exclusively on essential elements of MSI design from a human rights perspective. The Essential Elements Tool is suggested to be used as an initial or preliminary review tool, complementary to the full MSI Evaluation Tool, which also assess good and innovative practices.


MSI Integrity encourages any individuals or organizations interested in conducting a comprehensive MSI evaluation to carefully review and follow our assessment methodology, and contact us for guidance and advisory assistance to ensure that the evaluation benefits from our experience and learning.


Download the draft version of the MSI Evaluation ToolMSI Evaluation Tool [pdf].



Last updated: March 17, 2014