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STATCAP is a multi-country Statistical Capacity Building Program designed to make it easier for clients to access regular World Bank financing for improving statistical capacity. STATCAP projects are prepared and appraised following regular provisions for investment lending, and normally financed either through IBRD or IDA as specific investment credits or loans.

STATCAP was approved by the Board of Executive Directors in 2004, as a “horizontal” Adaptable Program Loan, or APL. It provides a framework for strengthening national statistical systems though a comprehensive approach, and provides streamlines processing procedures. The framework encourages effective coordination, participation of other international and bilateral donors, and participation of national stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors.

Projects normally finance the implementation of National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) or a similar comprehensive mid-term action plan (such plans are sometimes referred to as a Statistical Master Plan) . These strategies or plans normally include a detailed assessment of the national statistical system; a clear strategy for its further development with goals and targets for the medium term; and an action plan to put it into effect. Where these documents have not yet been prepared or where they need updating and developing, a grant from the Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) can be made available.

The criteria for use of the STATCAP program are:

  • the preparation of an NSDS or SMP;
  • national commitment and leadership to strengthen the national statistical system;
  • willingness to comply with good statistical practice;
  • participation in global development and monitoring activities;
  • use of sustainable implementation arrangements.

Each project is based on a full assessment of a country’s needs and existing capacity, but it is expected that most STATCAP projects will include actions to improve or strengthen:

  • Statistical policy and the regulatory and institutional framework: legislation safeguarding independence and confidentiality, mechanisms for efficient management and coordination;
  • Statistical infrastructure: the business register, sampling frames, classifications, database structures and geographic information systems;
  • Statistical operations and procedures; Human resources; and
  • Physical infrastructure and equipment.

STATCAP projects will normally be implemented by a national statistical agency or other appropriate government body. They may provide benefits, however, to a number of different agencies and may finance a range of activities, including goods, services, civil works, and other costs.

To promote good practice, the SRF-CF encourages donors to agree on a number of principles in the area of statistics, based on the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. These include:

  • Respect country leadership in implementation of National Statistical Plan;
  • Support nationally-agreed statistical priorities, thereby, avoid donor driven activities;
  • Deliver statistical support in a harmonized and coordinated manner, based on program-based approaches; and
  • Assist countries in their efforts to set up results-oriented measurement frameworks for sector development plans (including Poverty Reduction Strategies).