Guidelines for Developing Statistical Capacity

A Roadmap for Capacity Development 4.0 - January 2020


Date: 11 January 2021

National statistics are an essential component of policy making. They provide the evidence required to improve the lives of citizens, monitor results and hold governments and other actors accountable. Recent international agreements such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 for Africa recognise the central role of strong statistics and place a significant emphasis on goals, indicators and national reporting.

At the same time, technological advances are creating a wealth of new data sources, some of which have the potential to enrich national statistical systems and enable more effective and responsive policy making. Yet many national statistical systems face challenges in collecting, producing, analysing and disseminating the data required for sustainable development. Without making further improvements to their statistical capacity, they are at risk of falling further behind under the twin demands of the reporting requirements of international agreements and the need to ensure the quality and rigor of new data sources.

However, PARIS21 experience shows that the capacity of national statistical systems can be strengthened, providing countries with a solid foundation for long-term national development and good governance. These guidelines introduce a pioneering approach to capacity development – Capacity Development 4.0 – that brings together new data stakeholders, does more to involve users and promotes a holistic view of statistical capacity development. In addition to technical skills, they place an emphasis on softer skills such as leadership, change management, advocacy and networking. The guidelines are designed to align with the programme management cycle so that users can quickly identify which features and related actions are relevant to their particular situation, while numerous case studies provide practical context. At this moment in time, we need to go beyond principles and standards.

We need to focus our efforts on implementing the commitments that we have made. The Cape Town Global Action Plan (CTGAP), which emphasises the need for a country-led framework for planning and implementing statistical capacity development to achieve the 2030 Agenda, has shown us where we need to go. These guidelines are the detailed map of how to get there.