1 November 2018
PARIS21 Reports on International Support to Statistics
UNESCAP. 2018. Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2017 (Figure 1.3).
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PRESS 2018 notes that support to statistics amounted to US$623 million in 2016, marking a 5% increase from 2015, but the overall amount of funding for data and statistics remains low.

A PARIS21 study is currently exploring the feasibility of setting up a Global Fund for Development Data.

PRESS 2018 was prepared by the Secretariat of PARIS21, a global network of statisticians, policymakers, analysts, and development practitioners.

24 October 2018: The financing for the data agenda has gained visibility over the past five years, but only 56 of the 102 countries with statistical plans have secured adequate financing to implement them, according to a report prepared by PARIS21. In addition, it finds that available information on domestic support for statistics remains a challenge in many developing countries.

The 2018 edition of the Partner Report on Support to Statistics (PRESS), issued annually by the Secretariat of the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21), aims to provide a full picture of international support to statistics. It identifies factors that are important in constructing well-financed national statistical systems, including: a high level of national political interest; donor alignment with government strategies; legal autonomy or giving legal status to national statistical offices (NSOs); the alignment of National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDSs) with country development plans; and coordination between statistical stakeholders through regular inter-agency meetings. The report mainly provides information until 2016, and is based on “newly available data” from an annual donor survey, and the 2016 Creditor Reporting System (CRS) – the official source of information on aid commitments from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, and some multilateral organizations.

According to the report, support to statistics amounted to US$623 million in 2016, marking a 5% increase from 2015, and the share of official development assistance (ODA) focused on data and statistics was 0.33%. However, the overall amount of funding for data and statistics remains low, and support remains concentrated on certain countries, with the top 25 recipients receiving nearly half of the support dedicated to 165 countries. The top-ten support recipients for 2006-2016 were Bangladesh, Bolivia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Vietnam.

The report indicates that a large share of global support to statistics continues to come from a very small number of providers. The top five providers of development cooperation in statistics are the World Bank, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Eurostat, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which contributed 69% of total commitments in 2016. Also, based on a survey on Global Private Philanthropy for Development presented by the OECD in 2018, private philanthropy organizations are getting more involved in statistical development, the report says. Private foundations provided US$23.9 billion from 2013 to 2015, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was the most significant of the foundations surveyed, providing 49% of total resources.

Only two of nine SIDS have their national strategy for statistical development fully funded and under implementation.

On areas benefiting the most from statistical support, the report outlines demographic and social statistics (28% of total commitments in 2016), adding that environmental and multi-sectoral statistics “reached a record level” with the adoption of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On gender, it notes that statistics are not prioritized in data collection, resources devoted to them remain “grossly inadequate,” and the three areas where statistical investments are more focused are: sexual and reproductive health and rights, eliminating violence against women, and women’s economic empowerment.

On regional allocations, the report indicates that: Africa received the largest share of statistical support with 56% in 2014-2016; the share of total statistical support committed to Latin America and the Caribbean increased from 5% to 8%, driven by several commitments to national censuses in the region; and the share of commitments received by Asia and Pacific fell by half, due to the fact that some large projects committed in 2013 were no longer included for the 2014-2016 period.

On small island developing States (SIDS), the report notes that commitments to SIDS remain low. It adds that most SIDS are lagging behind in terms of building statistical infrastructure and developing statistical planning, and only two out of nine SIDS have their national strategy for development of statistics fully funded and under implementation.

On fragile states, the report mentions that statistical systems have made progress in strengthening their statistical capacities, but a lack of resources and technical skills has persisted. The authors call for more commitments and long-term investment for strengthening systems and capacity development in contexts experiencing fragility to implement and monitor National Development Plans (NDPs), and the SDGs, and to fill sector-specific gaps in areas such as environmental and economic statistics.

In terms of international initiatives on supporting data and statistics, the report states that a new PARIS21 study is currently exploring the feasibility of setting up a Global Fund for Development Data, that could feed into the reflection regarding a funding framework to underpin the implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan. The report points to the creation of a Data for Development group within the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), to discuss data strategies for development and identify good data for development practices in areas such as financing, partnerships with donors and evaluating data interventions. It also mentions a collaboration on a gender statistics programme between PARIS21 and UN Women, within the framework of the Making Every Woman and Girl Count global flagship initiative.

PARIS21 is a global network of statisticians, policymakers, analysts, and development practitioners which facilitates statistical capacity development, advocates for the integration of reliable data in decision making, and coordinates donor support to statistics with the main objective to achieve national and international development goals and reduce poverty in low and middle-income countries. It was established by the UN, the European Commission, the OECD, the IMF, and the World Bank. Its Secretariat is hosted within the OECD’s Statistics and Data Directorate. [Publication: PRESS 2018: Partner Report on Support to Statistics] [PARIS21 website] [SDG Knowledge Hub summary of UN World Data Forum 2018]

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