Open, inclusive, and responsible data can help to improve service delivery, ensure transparency and accountability, and drive inclusive and sustainable growth. These are critical in creating more stable, secure and prosperous countries and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Since COVID-19 struck, data have become even more critical to help countries to plan and monitor their response as well as to help them recover and build a sustainable and resilient economy.

The Data for Development Profiles show that providers of development co-operation, including Switzerland and the United Kingdom, are actively supporting their partner countries’ efforts to build strong, national statistical systems. They provide in-depth information on how members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) are doing so: from financial and technical assistance to awareness raising at the global level. In a world where there is an increasing recognition of the importance of data and where new donors are supporting capacity strengthening across the globe, the profiles are an important step for co-ordinating our efforts. We aim to work together with our shared conviction that development and development co-operation needs to be data-driven and evidence-based.

But helping partner countries build strong, national statistical systems which increase the availability and use of open, inclusive, and responsible data for policymaking, is a daunting task. We need strong political engagement alongside humility, openness to new ideas and a sustained effort to draw on the experience and knowledge of different stakeholders.

The Data for Development Profiles provide the knowledge base and entry points: first, most DAC members do not have a dedicated strategy to support data and statistics and many activities are part of sector programmes and projects. Second, our support will have greater impact if we act in concert with one another, share knowledge and lessons about what works and avoid duplication of efforts and fragmentation. The profiles have already sparked discussions and reflections within our institutions and provide a basis for further dialogue between providers and with their partners. Finally, development co-operation providers strive to be data-driven and evidence-based. At the same time, we must respect partners’ priorities and timelines for data and statistical development, working jointly with them towards their vision of a thriving data ecosystem. It is our hope that the profiles will advance discussions about suitable benchmarks for effective international support for data and statistical systems, reinforcing the effectiveness principles of country ownership, a focus on results, inclusive partnerships, and transparency and accountability.

While COVID-19 has demonstrated the value of data for policymaking in the face of adversity, it has also highlighted the growing divide between countries that are capable of producing and using relevant data and those that are not. We need to ensure that all countries have the data they need to emerge from the current crisis, navigate future crises and drive their development.


Andrea Ries, Senior Policy Advisor,

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation,



Neil Jackson, Chief Statistician

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office,

United Kingdom

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