World’s first platform to track SDG data financing launched at United Nations World Data Forum

On the first day of the United Nations World Data Forum in Bern, Switzerland, the global data community was introduced to the Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data: an innovative, free online platform that aid recipients, donors and others can use to close the stark data financing gap that is preventing progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, two-thirds of national statistical offices urgently need more funding to provide life-saving data amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the PARIS21 2020 Partner Report on Support to Statistics.

The clearinghouse, developed by the Bern Network on Financing Data for Development, a multi-stakeholder alliance created in 2019 by the Swiss Government to promote more and better funding of development data, will help mobilise the global community into action by providing more timely information and facilitating partnerships. The platform allows users to analyse data financing flows, identify funding gaps, access data on 36,000 projects, and connect to new communities of experts.

“Making development cooperation for data and statistics more effective needs stepped up coordination efforts and better information.  The clearinghouse brings together all actors to coordinate, share and act”, said Andrea Ries, Senior Policy Advisor for Effective Development Co-operation at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on countries to produce, collect and use timely, quality and disaggregated data to ensure that no-one is left behind.  To harness the potential of development data and statistics, the United Nations Statistical Commission adopted the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data (CTGAP) in 2017, developed by the High-level Group on Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for statistics for the 2030 Agenda.

The CTGAP is a roadmap for the evolution of national statistical systems to meet future needs, including the monitoring and tracking of SDGs, and provides a robust framework for international and national efforts to strengthen statistical systems. Yet, while progress has been made, data gaps persist among many low- and middle-income countries, who need more resources and technical assistance to enhance their national statistical systems.

With the launch of the clearinghouse as an important mechanism to strengthen coordination and make funding for data more effective, in line with the principles identified by countries in the HLG-PCCB, we now have a great opportunity to drive the implementation of the CTGAP forward.

A rapid and sustained scaling-up of domestic resource mobilisation is essential, and so is a more harmonised and efficient approach to external aid if countries are to develop statistical systems fit for sustainable development.

According to Johannes Jütting, Executive Head of PARIS21, “We can realise huge efficiency gains in financing for development data without spending any more money simply by ensuring that financing flows go to where they are most needed, and where they align with the priorities of aid recipient countries. The clearinghouse makes this possible.”

The clearinghouse is a complementary solution to another mechanism to catalyse the needed step-change in development data finance to deliver Agenda 2030, the World Bank’s Global Data Facility. It will help provide a mechanism for aid effectiveness and transparency the Global Data Facility, also launched during the UN World Data Forum. The GDF is now the Bank’s primary mechanism to mobilize and coordinate donor support for data and statistics priorities, and is designed to leverage further financing, including World Bank IDA/IBRD financing, and enable long-term support for priorities by strengthening domestic investments in data and statistics.

“Achieving the SDGs will only be possible with more and better data. Together, the World Bank’s new Global Data Facility and the clearinghouse have the potential to bring about a step-change in terms of the scale, coordination, transparency and efficiency of development data financing”, said Haishan Fu, Director of the World Bank’s Development Data Group.

The clearinghouse also offers a dedicated channel on gender data financing which provides information on financing flows to gender data over the past ten years, among other analyses and resources. By facilitating this thematic entry point, the platform will also help provide transparency to commitments made at the Generation Equality Forum to close gender data gaps.

The clearinghouse was developed by PARIS21 in its capacity as secretariat of the Bern Network, together with Open Data Watch. The Government of Switzerland, UN Statistical Division, World Bank, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Data2X, IDRC Canada and Eurostat provided significant input and support.

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About the Bern Network:

The Bern Network is a multi-stakeholder alliance created in 2019 by the Swiss Government and led by a group of core members including GPSDD, International Monetary Fund, OECD, Open Data Watch, Switzerland, PARIS21, the United Kingdom, United Nations Statistics Division, and the World Bank.