Development Co-operation Report 2017

Data for Development

image of Development Co-operation Report 2017

The 2017 volume of the  Development Co-operation Report focuses on Data for Development. “Big Data” and “the Internet of Things” are more than buzzwords: the data revolution is transforming the way that economies and societies are functioning across the planet. The Sustainable Development Goals along with the data revolution are opportunities that should not be missed: more and better data can help boost inclusive growth, fight inequalities and combat climate change. These data are also essential to measure and monitor progress against the Sustainable Development Goals.

The value of data in enabling development is uncontested. Yet, there continue to be worrying gaps in basic data about people and the planet and weak capacity in developing countries to produce the data that policy makers need to deliver reforms and policies that achieve real, visible and long-lasting development results. At the same time, investing in building statistical capacity – which represented about 0.30% of ODA in 2015 – is not a priority for most providers of development assistance.

There is a need for stronger political leadership, greater investment and more collective action to bridge the data divide for development. With the unfolding data revolution, developing countries and donors have a unique chance to act now to boost data production and use for the benefit of citizens. This report sets out priority actions and good practices that will help policy makers and providers of development assistance to bridge the global data divide, notably by strengthening statistical systems in developing countries to produce better data for better policies and better lives.

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The role of national statistical systems in the data revolution

The supply of relevant, timely and usable data is essential for countries to set priorities, make informed choices and implement better policies for sustainable development. This chapter looks at how national statistical systems in developing countries can and should harness the data revolution. It explores the opportunities, enablers and challenges countries face in using big data and other new sources of data. The chapter reviews developing country capacity, gaps and strategies for putting in place the right data for policy making. It also presents selected examples of how the data revolution is already fuelling better statistics in developing countries. The chapter considers the role of governments as well as the opportunities offered by public-private partnerships. It enumerates the key conditions for building capable statistical systems and proposes steps to be taken by national statistical offices, policy makers and international development partners.

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