Dear colleagues,

It has been a while since we were last in touch and I wanted to share with you some exciting developments around our work on data and statistical capacity development.

Privacy for a Pizza?

Before we do so, let me share with you some some interesting insights from my summer reading around the debate on data and privacy. Andreas Weigend, former Chief Scientist of Amazon, claims in his book “Data for the People: How to make our Post-Privacy Economy work for you” that we should be worrying less about loosening our privacy protections – which he and others say is a concept of the last century – and more about how we can take control of our own data. The call to get something in return for the use of data by data refineries such as Google, Amazon and Facebook is getting louder and louder. In this context, new research by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research found out that citizens gave up their privacy – in this case students and their email lists which included private addresses from friends – for just a pizza even though this contradicts their stated goal of being in favour of privacy protection, something the author calls a “digital privacy paradox”. The author shares two main findings. First, the role of information intermediaries will increase to help citizens manage trade-offs around their rights, choices and privacy with respect to access. And second, the use of private data and that regulation needs to be improved.  Would this not be something the official statistical community could engage in too?

Re-assessing Capacity Development

Many of us in the official statistical community started the year off in South Africa, where we saw the adoption of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data that endorsed our call for developing new approaches to capacity development, which we have labelled Capacity Development 4.0 (CD4.0). This concept describes a new approach for understanding the processes, products and business models needed to generate and use data and statistics in the new data ecosystem. It moves away from traditional approaches of capacity in National Statistical Systems (NSS), which tend to focus heavily on the technical and functional aspects of capacity building (supply-driven data coming from the NSS) and pay little attention to the needs of data users.

During the 2017 PARIS21 Annual Meetings, the Board approved the creation of a Task Team on New Approaches to Capacity Development. This Task Team is currently developing  best practices,  measurement tools – such as an open assessment repository – and an overall guiding framework to push this agenda forward. The first set of results will be presented during the December Global Workshop while a more concrete set of results will be presented during the 2018 Annual Meetings.

What's up next?

Coinciding with our work on capacity development, we are excited about the upcoming release of OECD’s 2017 Development Co-operation Report (DCR) on Data for Development. We were happy to see this important issue spotlighted in such a significant way and have gladly helped our OECD colleagues put together this year's findings. The full report will be presented at various events, including the October 2017 OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) High Level Meeting. 

Visit the DCR 2017 website

We are also looking forward to our involvement in this week’s International Conference on Sustainable Development Goals Statistics (ICSDGS) which is being co-organised by the Philippines Statistics Authority and UNSD (Check out our Q&A with Ms. Lisa Bersales). We are excited to not only discuss how statistical capacity relates to the SDGs but also launch the results from our 2017 Progress Report on Support to Statistics (PRESS). This year’s results show two promising developments: 1) an increase in the percentage of Official Development Assistance (ODA) dedicated to statistics and 2) an expansion and diversification of the pool of donors. For the full results from the 2017 PRESS, we invite you to check out our website on 5 October.

Finally, you may have noticed a few changes to PARIS21. We have updated our website and logo to better reflect our work in the world of the SDGs and data for development. We are happy to have your feedback on the website and invite partners to connect with us to be featured in an upcoming news article or “Data Talk” podcast.

Stay in touch,


Read the full bulletin below.

> Fall 2017 Bulletin


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