A first comprehensive look at the state of statistical capacity in developing countries



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PARIS21's inaugural Flagship Report, the Statistical Capacity Development Outlook 2019, outlines statistical capacity across four areas:

  1. Overview of the current state of statistical capacity
  2. Recent trends in statistical capacity development
  3. A revised approach to assessing statistical capacity
    in the new data ecosystem
  4. Developing capacity for the more effective use of statistics


Key Highlights


  • The data demands of the SDGs require countries to ramp up capacity within their national statistical systems

  • 32% of countries think that individual capabilities need to be improved to respond to challenges posed by the new data ecosystem, while only 2% of assessed capabilities in statistics target the individual

Evolving definition of capacity

  • The evolving data landscape is requiring capacity development to move beyond planning and production to include data use and soft skills

  • Leadership, Management and communication skills are increasingly important across statistical organisations

  • Only 50% of national statistical offices in the lower-middle statistical capacity level monitor the use of their data

  • Countries increased data use in policy documents by 14% globally, but more needs to be done to promote data use in policy decisions

Mismatch of donor support and country needs

  • The results-based framework of development partners has produced supply-driven approaches that do not always match the capacity needs of countries

  • Countries feel little ownership over capacity programmes, with over 60% of African NSOs reporting that programmes do not meet their needs

Co-ordination and planning is key

  • Financial and technical support needs to be sufficient, sustainable and progressive for countries to fully benefit

  • For funding to statistics to be effective, USD 10 per capita over 10 years is needed and should prioritise poor and lower capacity countries.

  • Countries need to prioritise the holistic development of their statistical systems: In 2018, 129 countries were implementing a comprehensive national statistical plan, up from 102 in 2017

Key Documents

Statical Capacity Development Outlook 2019



Download Outlook 2019

Outlook 2019 Postcard




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