When Madagascar developed its first national strategy for the development of statistics (NSDS) in 2007 it was a major milestone for the production and use of statistics in the country. However, as the country develops its second edition with support from PARIS21 and UNFPA, learning from what worked and what did not is an important step. As the country’s public and policy makers face unexpected consequences of climate change, developing a culture of statistics to provide reliable, comprehensive and timely information that is used by a range of stakeholders is vital
A national strategy for the development of statistics is the basis for good data production and use
Countries’ national strategies for the development of statistics (NSDS are the basis on which to build a culture of statistics. The NSDS provides a governance structure for countries to understand the production of statistics and link this to users’ needs. This ensures that reliable and timely information is used as a basis for policy and decision making. For governments, these are also essential in understanding how much financing support is required in order to maintain and grow statistical capacity in line with their sustainable development objectives. However, sustained efforts are required to build this culture of statistics, and Madagascar’s experience shows how this iterative process requires time, investment and dialogue between different stakeholders.
Madagascar’s second NSDS builds on the lessons of the first strategy
Madagascar’s first NSDS, developed in 2007, was a huge milestone for statistical development in the country. However, INSTAT and its partners recognised that the implementation of the first NSDS was hampered by several factors:
1. The first NSDS resulted in a slight improvement in statistical production, largely thanks to the financing plan which guided technical partners to provide better financial support, notably through the STATCAP project.
2. Census activities, household surveys and MICS surveys were carried out providing essential data for monitoring the 2030 and 2063 Agendas.
3. Some sectoral data collection improved and provided regular information including on education, health and justice, however for other sectors, the information is not collected regularly enough.
4. Institutional and organisational capacity was identified as a main reason that the NSDS did not fulfil its potential: notably on budget. The government budget for statistics is estimated at 0.007%, far from the recommended 0.15% by the African Union’s SHaSA.2.
Madagascar’s NSDS II needs to tackle changing and growing data requirements
With financial and technical support from PARIS21 and UNFPA, Madagascar’s goal is to design a long-term strategy that meets the needs for quality statistical data and that is aligned with the national development strategy, the United Nations 2030 and African Union 2063 Agendas. These national and international agendas are increasing the demand for more data - and more varied data, growing requirements for disaggregation, coverage and consideration of the cross-cutting “gender” and “climate change” dimensions.
In addition, the challenges that Madagascar faces are growing, and the impacts are widespread. For example, southern Madagascar’s recent experience with severe drought is indicative of how the growing impacts of climate change cut across sectors and manifest in ways that require solid strong and cross cutting data to understand. A World Bank report highlights the range of impacts of the drought including increased migration, higher crime rates and increased violence against women and girls. To understand the full scale of the impacts and to take action to mitigate these, policy makers and the public need access to data.
How Madagascar’s new strategy will help
The new strategy is built around four axes to support the country’s 2030 vision to “become a coordinated, reputable, adequately resourced national statistical system, capable of meeting the needs of users for the emergence of Madagascar”.
• Improve the governance of the national statistical system: Take the implementing texts of the Statistics Law and make the National Statistics Framework functional in order to ensure good coordination of the national statistics system and effective implementation of the NSDS.
• Build the capacity of the NSS: Ensure the initial and continuous training of statisticians and other soft skills in order to have qualified personnel on the one hand, and on the other hand, ensure the financing of statistics with the operationalisation of the Development Fund for statistics to increase domestic support and the coordination of development partners support to statistics.
• Develop and improve statistical production: Expand data coverage, with levels of disaggregation at the regional level to support the decentralisation process and by gender to respond to the government's aim to promote gender equality and the emancipation of women.
• Promote the dissemination, archiving and use of statistical data: Ensure better dissemination and accessibility to data through a dissemination and communication policy; Carry out in-depth analyses of the results of surveys, census and data from administrative sources in order to propose innovative solutions to the Government on certain topics; produce communication materials adapted to the target audiences.
Madagascar’s new NSDS highlights the importance of mutual learning and dialogue, common and supported goals, and learning lessons.
Find out how Madagascar is bringing together different partners to develop a communications strategy to support the dissemination of its data and statistics.