Saturday 1 March 2014, 10:00 - 13:00
Room 2330, DC2 Building, 2 UN Plaza, New York

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Statistics is a crucial part of the development agenda, providing evidence needed to develop and monitor effective development policies and programs. It is an indispensable tool for allocating resources to address development concerns, and a catalyst for improving transparency and accountability.

However it remains a challenge for many National Statistical Systems (NSSs) in developing countries to obtain the funding needed for their statistical development – 88% of the top constraints facing National Statistics Offices (NSOs) are linked to a lack of financial resources – and now as the Post-2015 development agenda looms, NSSs will inevitably need to prepare for even greater challenges ahead. With only 0.16% of ODA dedicated to statistics in 2012, and that support becoming increasingly concentrated (with the top 25 recipients receiving 84% of total support in 2013) it is clear that from a long term perspective funding for statistics will need to be supplemented and replaced by national resources.

While the PARIS21 Partner Report on Support to Statistics (PRESS) exercise gives a snapshot of ongoing financial support to statistical development worldwide and an overview of trends it does not cover statistical funds allocated by governments to their own NSS. To address this, the PARIS21 Secretariat developed the Country Report on Support to Statistics (CRESS) which is a country-led exercise aimed at gathering all data relating to the funding of the entire NSS whether it is derived from national resources (for example through the national budget, or through a statistical development fund) or donor support (such as development banks or bilateral donors). Such increased resources for NSSs can lead to the ability to:

  1. continuously upgrade the capacity of statisticians to generate important statistical indicators to measure emerging concerns;
  2. improve statistical infrastructure (i.e., registers, sample frames, databases, archives, data generation devices, software, website, etc.);
  3. undertake statistical operations and processes (i.e., surveys, censuses, administrative data systems, data analysis and dissemination); and
  4. enhance statistical institutions (statistical policies, laws, coordination mechanisms, etc.).

The international community recognizes the necessity of these improvements. The Busan Action Plan for Statistics (BAPS) recognizes that an increase in “resources for statistical systems would entail continued investment to break the vicious cycle of neglect and disuse of statistics.” Action 5 of the BAPS is to “ensure financing for statistical information is robust and that funding instruments and approaches reflect the new modalities and actors in development finance.”

With this in mind, what needs to be done to enable NSSs to deliver properly and meet the growing and evolving demands of users? Should we strengthen advocacy? Increase Official Development Assistance for statistics? Develop new funding mechanisms? Involve the private sector? The Post-2015 debate and the call for a data revolution is a unique opportunity to mobilize stakeholders and to uncover, promote, and develop innovative mechanisms for statistical funding.

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