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On 23 June, the Global Partnership in collaboration with the Bern Network on Financing Data for Development hosted a workshop for countries to exchange and share their good practices and common challenges to address data and statistics in development dialogue. Government officials and National Statistical Office (NSO) representatives from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali and Rwanda presented their structures and mechanisms for coordinating data in development cooperation and shed light on ways to more effectively resource data and statistics, both domestically and through support from development partners.

Johannes Jütting, Executive Head of PARIS21, the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century, opened the seminar stating “more and better data is on all of our minds, especially on the minds of decision-makers. COVID-19 has increased appetite for better, faster and granular data…There is a push from the demand side like we’ve never seen before”.

The workshop is part of Global Partnership’s work programme, specifically Action Area 1.2 which supports strengthening statistical capacity and data. Andrea Ries, Senior Policy Advisor at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and one of the Co-Chairs of the Global Partnership, is leading this area of work. She highlighted the important role of NSOs in coordinating data ecosystems by bringing different government planning agencies, statistical units, subnational entities, and civil society organisations together for “good, efficient processes” in getting “data from the ground”.

Despite the key role NSOs play, data and statistics are underfunded globally and effective development cooperation can play an important role in addressing this challenge. Participants recognized the strong need for data funding to be integrated into national and financing plans. From a multi-stakeholder “Troika” committee in Mali to a National Data Roadmap in Ghana that fills data gaps and encourages data use to National Steering Committee, sectoral and regional commissions for dialogues in Burkina Faso, representatives shared insights on their country-specific cooperation structures and coordination mechanisms.

In addition to presenting these good practices, participants also shared a wide array of capacity challenges that they face when trying to strengthen national cooperation around development data and statistics. This ranged from foundational issues such as wavering political will and NSO capacities to practical challenges in building more holistic and coordinated national statistical plans that are aligned with the data interests of different stakeholders.

The webinar ended with proposed action items for more and better financing for development data which included a call for creating high-level coordination platforms, devising good National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) that push key players to prioritize funding for national statistics programmes, and monitoring gaps and data usage for development.

More good practices and recommendations from the roundtable will be compiled and published soon as a resource for all stakeholders. Insights will also inform ongoing work of the Global Partnership and feed into the development of a new global platform to better match the supply and demand for statistical support called the Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data, which is being developed by the Bern Network. These outcomes will be presented at the upcoming UN World Data Forum in October 2021, helping put forward high-level global commitments around more effective development cooperation in support of data and statistics.