Effective global development will be just as important after 2015 as it was at the time of the Millennium Declaration in October 2000. The elimination of extreme poverty and deprivation throughout the world could be a reality within a decade. If we are to achieve this, however, it is clear that we will need a strong, reliable, timely and consistent measurement framework. To put this in place in time to make a difference - as the UN High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the UN Secretary General have emphasized - we will need nothing short of a “data revolution”.

The data revolution will need to “draw on existing and new sources of data to fully integrate statistics into decision making, promote open access to, and use of data and ensure increased support to statistical systems”. It is not about starting over, or ignoring what we have already achieved; rather, a successful data revolution will build on previous successes and knowledge of what works, when and how. In particular it will need to make use of the capacity, knowledge and experience that we have built up over the past 14 years. At the same time, however, it will certainly not be business as usual. The challenge will be to build on what we have put in place to meet the needs to support effective development now, finding new ways to collect, compile data; transforming data into information, information into knowledge and ensuring that knowledge leads to action.

The data revolution will need to unlock the power of data, delivering the right data to the right people in the right format at the right time.

With the financial support and encouragement of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) is now launching a 21-month project to Inform the Data Revolution. The aim of the project is to identify what has worked well and what we can build on, bringing together both the providers and users of data and to develop a road-map for the next five years. It will aim to identify new solutions to old problems and see to what extent successes in one environment can be scaled up and used elsewhere.

The Project, which will be implemented through three modules, will be launched formally at a meeting that will take place in Paris at the offices of PARIS21 on 17 and 18 February 2014.

The purpose of the meeting is to review and agree an outline work programme, to discuss the design of the different modules and to establish a process for review and quality control.