- Governments around the world have recognized that all countries need to have accessible, timely, and reliable disaggregated data to measure progress and ensure no one is left behind in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Since 2017, the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data (CTGAP) has provided a framework for planning and implementing the statistical capacity building activities needed to achieve the scope and intent of the 2030 Agenda and to mobilize funding for the modernization of national statistical systems across the world.
- However, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, significant resources were diverted away from longer-term initiatives aimed at achieving the shared goals crystallized in the commitment and vision of the CTGAP.
- The World Bank's Development Data Group, the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNSD), and the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) have conducted a global survey of national statistical offices (NSOs) with the aim to refocus the conversation on the longer-term goals set by the CTGAP and to inform actions by decision makers and international partners to implement, monitor, and finance the CTGAP, taking into consideration the new realities and challenges of the pandemic.
- Ultimately, findings of the survey seek to inform strategic decisions aimed to accelerate the production of the statistical data needed to enable the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Results of the first round of the survey provide new insights into the current financing and capacity development needs of NSOs as well as into the new statistical priorities that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The data collected will also inform the implementation of two instruments that were announced at the October 2021 UN World Data Forum: the World Bank-hosted Global Data Facility and the Bern Network’s Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data.
- The first round of the survey was implemented in August-September 2021.
- The survey questionnaire has been sent to 195 national statistical offices around the world and 101 national statistical offices participated in the first round.
- The present survey follows four rounds of surveys of NSOs conducted between May 2020 and May 2021, which were implemented by the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the World Bank Development Data Group, in collaboration with the Regional Commissions of the United Nations, to monitor the evolving impacts of the pandemic on statistical operations.
The first round of the survey was implemented in August-September 2021 and focused on the financing and capacity development needs of NSOs as well as on the new statistical priorities that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some key findings:
- Despite gradual improvements, the transformative change in national statistical capacities proposed in the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data (CTGAP) has yet to be realized, particularly in low- and middle-income economies.
- While most respondent countries have the fundamentals of functioning national statistical systems in place, almost half of them have statistical laws that came into force more than a decade ago and many lack data privacy and access safeguards, highlighting the need for keeping statistical legal frameworks up to date in the context of a rapidly changing data ecosystem.
- Coordination of statistical activities between NSOs and partners within and outside the national statistical systems has been improving, although significant opportunities for further improvements remain, especially in low- and lower-middle-income countries, according to the vast majority of respondents.
- NSOs identify the compilation and dissemination of metadata and the development of an organization-wide open data strategy as top priority areas for capacity development. Relatedly, almost nine in ten NSOs report they need to strengthen their online data dissemination platforms and tools as well as their data visualization and communication capabilities in the next three years.
- Two-thirds of NSOs in IDA countries experienced either moderate or severe delays in budget disbursement in the last fiscal year, and many relied on development aid from external sources, which has decreased during the pandemic, to implement their work program.
- In the next three years, NSOs in most IDA countries say they expect to face the most significant funding shortages in business and agricultural census as well as population and housing census. Health is the most prioritized policy sector for NSOs in IDA countries for both on- and off-budget support.
- With regard to the impact of the ongoing pandemic, the state of national statistical systems has not taken a significant turn for the worse despite the enormous strain COVID-19 has placed on NSOs through an unprecedented increase in demand for timely and disaggregated data and statistics, attesting to the strength and resilience of these institutions.
- Nonetheless, the pandemic has highlighted data gaps and exacerbated inequalities among NSOs: more than a year after the COVID-19 crisis had begun, connectivity issues and inadequate remote data processing capabilities are still among the most common challenges faced by NSOs, with marked differences in information and communication technologies (ICT) readiness across income levels.
- Two recently launched innovative mechanisms—the Global Data Facility hosted by the World Bank and the Bern Network’s Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data—will use the measured progress and demand to contribute to the implementation of the CTGAP.
- Full Report: Survey on the Implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data (English) (PDF)
- Blog: New global survey shows that some statistical systems are being left behind (English), Données du développement durable : une nouvelle enquête internationale pointe les difficultés de certains systèmes statistiques (French)