Dr. John Kingdon, a political scientist, created a model for how ideas move up policy agendas, a precursor for government laws and regulations. One part of the puzzle is the use of data to define the seriousness of a problem. For example, for anyone who believes that mothers everywhere should have a similar likelihood of surviving childbirth, the fact that maternal mortality rates are much higher in developing countries is a problem that needs to be addressed. With limited resources, the public often wants policymakers to focus on solving these types of problems.
To help motivate policies and other resources, the United Nations monitors progress on problems identified as part of its Millenium Development Goals for 2015. This dynamic map shows MDG progress over time and by country.