New Approaches to Capacity Development for Better Data: How to Scale Up Innovation?

13-14 January 2020

The Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) and the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD) organise the joint PARIS21-UNSD Conference “New approaches to capacity development for better data: How to scale up innovation?” which will take place on 13-14 January 2020 at the OECD La Muette Conference Center in Paris, France.

This conference introduces new approaches to capacity development in national statistical systems and highlights the need for both stronger institutions and better innovations for making the data ecosystem serve all citizens. It brings together representatives from national statistical offices, development cooperation agencies, governments, and the private sector to share their experiences of implementing new approaches towards statistical capacity development.

The key objectives of the meeting are to:

  • Discuss new approaches to implementing statistical capacity development
  • Launch the new “Capacity Development 4.0 Guidelines” (PARIS21) and explore their pertinence for existing pilots
  • Present country experiences in implementing new approaches in statistical capacity development
  • Discuss the challenges of coordinating and financing capacity development
  • Raise awareness on measuring the impact of capacity development initiatives

The expected outcomes of the meeting are to:

  • Identify priority areas of statistical capacity development
  • Kick-start country pilots (south-south cooperation, peer reviews)
  • Contribute to ongoing capacity development discussions at the global level and report back at the World Data Forum 2020 (18-21 October 2020)


A roadmap to statistical capacity development

The need for statistical organizations to adapt and develop was stressed in the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data (CTGAP), launched during the first United Nations World Data Forum in January 2017. It identified the gaps in national statistics programmes and statistical coordination in response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Action Plan thus serves as a road map for the capacity development efforts of the statistics divisions of international, regional and national agencies involved in the production of official statistics.

New approaches in capacity development emerge

In 2017, PARIS21 explored at UNSC the practice of deploying NSS assessment frameworks in developing countries to propose concrete actions to increase efficiency for measuring statistical capacity. Since then, a new initiative, Capacity Development 4.0, was launched with the ambition to revisit the notion of capacity in statistics and respond to the emerging challenges for NSSs. A Task Team gathering representatives from NSOs, international agencies, civil society, think tanks, academia and the private sector has worked since then towards the definition of a broader framework for capacity, the proposal of new metrics for assessing progress and the implementation of capacity development programmes.

Thinking about capacity development differently is not enough

Entering a post-2015 agenda, we do not yet know where we stand in implementing new approaches to statistical capacity development. So far, stakeholders have started thinking statistical development differently, but it remains unclear whether countries consider those approaches successful. Components of capacity development that may be most applicable to one country might be quite different for another country, depending on aspects such as available resources and the institutional environment within which it operates. To lead the way in transforming NSS, this conference aims at answering the following questions:

  • Why do we need new approaches to capacity development in data and statistics and how do they contribute to transforming the NSSs
  • What kind of country experience do we have with in implementing new approaches and how can the new PARIS21 Guidelines best support this process?
  • How can the new approaches help to respond to better measuring and monitoringthe SDGs and contribute to the implementation of the CT-GAP?

To answer those questions it is important to exchange best practices taking into account the need for adaptation and flexibility in developing statistical capacities.

background note

draft agenda