The development goals have helped to focus global attention on the fight to eliminate abject poverty from the world. Progress toward the Millennium Development Goals is measured by 48 quantitative indicators,
most of which are derived from national statistical systems. But these indicators are only part of the picture. Countries have set national goals that are not included in the MDGs. Moreover, effective statistical systems are not just to monitor progress toward the goals, they underpin development by providing the basis for rational decision making, macro-economic management, and the efficient allocation of scarce resources.
Despite the greater demand for statistics, there is still a critical shortfall in the national and international efforts to develop appropriate and sustainable statistical capacity.
In February 2004, the Second Roundtable on Better Measuring,
Monitoring, and Managing for Development Results in Marrakech,
Morocco agreed that better production and use of statistics remain
an important part of the monitoring for results agenda. This
resulted in a global action plan for
statistics, including the
preparation of national statistical development strategies for all
low-income countries by 2006 and the urgent need for improvement in
monitoring the MDGs by 2005. See
World Bank's Statistical Capacity Building
web site for more information.
Programs to increase statistical capacity
The Partnership in Development for Statistics in the 21st Century (PARIS21) is a consortium of international organizations, countries, NGOs, and individuals who are working together to increase statistical capacity in developing countries. To find out more about its work, click here:
The International Monetary Fund has an extensive program of technical assistance in statistics. It encourages member countries to adopt standard practices in compiling and reporting statistics and strongly recommends public dissemination of statistical
information. The World Bank also provides technical assistance to
improve standards of socio-demographic data by participating in the
IMF's General Data Dissemination Standard missions.
Click here to go to the IMF Data Dissemination Standards Bulletin
The World Bank works in many countries to improve statistical systems. It manages
a Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building
and provides loans
(STATCAP) for countries to implement their statistical master plans. The World Bank also leads
a global initiative to improve the quality and availability of internationally comparable data through the
International Comparison Program. Such data are crucial in accurately monitoring development progresses and to form policies that reflect efficient use of resources.