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Source: Small Island Developing States

16 September 2019: The Bern Network on Financing Data for Development has released a paper and one-page summary outlining a proposed facility for financing data and statistics. The multi-donor Data Financing Facility would build on existing mechanisms and take lessons learned from other global funds.

The Bern Network on Financing Data for Development is an open, multi-stakeholder collaboration to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by promoting more and better financing for data. It aims to advance implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, and is working toward a robust funding framework to be presented at the UN World Data Forum on Sustainable Development Data 2020 in Bern, Switzerland.

Launched at the July 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the documents highlight that data to understand the scope of low- and middle-income countries’ challenges are still lacking (let alone data on solutions and progress towards the SDGs). The Network calls for a doubling of financial support to statistics, from current levels of about 0.33% official development assistance (ODA) to 0.7%, which the documents note “could achieve significant progress” on the aim of leaving no one behind.

The envisioned Facility’s primary aims are: encouraging partner country awareness of and commitment to development data; incentivizing improved in-country investment; and supporting and/or convening research and development initiatives. The one-page summary notes that the Facility could: provide incentives for coordination and alignment with national strategies, which would be an improvement on existing schemes; raise additional domestic and international funds for national statistical authorities; and drive progress towards widely agreed metrics.

The Facility would feature two thematic funding windows. The first would provide national statistics offices (NSOs) with a match funding response for critical data capacity gaps. The second would offer seeding, and blend financing for data architecture and service delivery applications.

The documents also outline critical actions to strengthen donor coordination on statistics, including:

  1. Boosting statistical capacity;
  2. Promoting international engagement and standard-setting;
  3. Improving coordination for knowledge sharing;
  4. Creating pooling arrangements for improved support to development data; and
  5. Improving monitoring of investments in data.

The release of the paper marks the end of the Bern Network’s technical work, and a shift towards socializing the analysis at key milestones to catalyze change. These milestones include the “Senior HLPF” and SDG Summit in September 2019, the World Bank meetings in October 2019, and the UN’s annual Financing for Development (FFD) Forum in 2020.

In September 2019, three experts – Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS); El Iza Mohamedou, PARIS21; and Koffi Zougbede, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – welcomed the Bern Network’s initiative, calling on recipient countries, donors and development agencies to align around investment in data. Their op-ed at IPS News adds further context to the challenge of data collection, noting that no least developed country (LDC) has a complete set of national statistics. [Bern Network] [Publication: The Bern Network: A global alliance to strengthen development data] [InterPress News Op-ed]

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