In the margins of the 44th Session of the UN Statistical Commission, PARIS21 held a side meeting to discuss the diversification of actors (both on the user and producer side) in statistics and how to bring them together more systematically. The meeting was held on Saturday, 23 February 2013, from 10:00 – 12:00, in New York.
The current discussions on the post 2015 development framework and big data are interesting examples of a fundamental shift in the way users and producers of statistics interact. The push for a more results-oriented and evidence-based policy making agenda leads to an increasing pressure by users of statistics for more, better and faster data covering a wide diversity of topics ranging from climate change financing to happiness and well-being. Furthermore, the big and open data movements have ushered in a new data frontier which shifts the debate from “data scarcity” to surfing a “data deluge,” even though in low-income developing countries the amount of “meaningful” data is still a problem. It seems increasingly unlikely that the conventional model of statistical production in developing countries will be able to respond to all these existing, latent, and emerging demands, even more so as their national statistical systems are currently heavily under-funded and their human resources are scarce.
This session took a fresh look at the possibilities to adapt the existing institutional framework of how producers and users of statistics should engage from data production to dissemination to its final use. Recent developments show that our conventional understanding of a two-dimensional matrix – national statistical offices (NSOs) on one side of the table and policy makers on the other – needs to be reconfigured into a multi-stakeholder framework covering official and non-official producers as well as the whole spectrum of users including parliamentarians, civil society, business organizations, researchers, the media, and the like. As an example, data production is becoming highly decentralized with many different actors contributing, which leads to new opportunities and challenges for NSOs.
The Busan Action Plan for Statistics, which will be monitored by PARIS21, offers a useful framework to rethink how data users and producers can engage more effectively in view of making statistics more relevant, accessible, and useful and thereby attract more resources for their production.
- Mr. Johannes Jütting, Manager, PARIS21 Secretariat
- Mr. Pali Lehohla, Statistician General, Statistics South Africa
- Dr. Jose Ramon G. Albert, Secretary-General, Philippines National Statistical Coordination Board
- Mr. Peter Harper, Deputy Australian Statistician, Australian Bureau of Statistics
- Ms. Margarita Guerrero, Director, UN Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific
- Mr. Milorad Kovacevic, Chief Statistician at Human Development Report Office, UNDP