Despite the challenges, 2020 was a year of tremendous progress and productivity for PARIS21, the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century. We are pleased to present some of the highlights and deliveries from the past year in our interactive progress report. The website is complemented by an extensive document with additional milestones and information available to download below.
In many ways, the pandemic served as a harbinger of change for the Secretariat, catalysing changes that will make our work more impactful and efficient, and better able to respond to the needs and aspirations of our partners.
During the first half of the year, PARIS21 received an overwhelming demand from our partner countries, many of whom were struggling with a precipitous rise in data demands while also facing serious operational constraints. Immediately seeking to respond, we significantly adjusted our 2020 programme of work and established a COVID-19 Rapid Action Task Force. Within only a few weeks, the task force developed a practical and comprehensive guide to help national statistical offices collect life-saving data and engage partners while adapting to remote working. It also produced a policy brief to guide countries seeking to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis on data and statistical production and use.
We connected more than 80 national statistical offices to solution providers from our PARIS21 community. To put this guidance into practice, we convened more than a dozen virtual workshops and peer-to-peer learning opportunities for national statistical organisations, policymakers, private sector entities and others to exchange ideas and best practices.
Demand for our PARIS21 Academy, our free e-learning platform, was also high, with more than a thousand people enrolling in our new course on communicating gender statistics within one week of its launch. At the same time, recognising that responding to current and future global crises requires a step change in commitments to data and statistics, we, together with our partners, initiated a number of groundbreaking new projects to mobilise support. The Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data, the world’s first online portal showing near-real funding flows and opportunities, promises to make financing for development data smarter.
Preview of the Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data
The COVID-19 pandemic also provided us with an opportunity to reflect on how we work to achieve our mission, and in so doing find new ways to be more efficient and effective in our business practices and strategic approach. From holding, for the first time in PARIS21’s history, our Annual Meetings virtually, we learned that virtual events could be highly engaging and productive. We also learned that, by providing space for partners for whom travel to Paris would normally have been prohibitive to engage, virtual events can be more inclusive. Consequently, a record 650 participants took part in the 2020 Annual Meeting. Those lessons were brought into the 2021 Annual Meetings that took place from 29 March-01April 2021.
The pandemic also showed us that we, the global data and statistics community, must become better at articulating the impact of data and statistics on improving the lives of people. No longer taking this connection for granted, PARIS21 will prioritise this through a robust results framework for 2021-2025 and a work stream focused on telling our impact story and that of our partners.
2020 taught us all these things and more, and inspired us to approach our efforts to build a stronger, more engaged partnership with a new vigour. We will only succeed in our efforts if we are united in purpose, and we look forward to working with our partners in 2021 to create a world where everyone can produce and use high-quality data and statistics to advance sustainable development for all people.