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Better Statistics, Better Results

Aid effectiveness, which is a major concern for donors, development agencies, and developing countries, is the central agenda at an international roundtable in Hanoi in February 2007. The Third International Roundtable on Managing for Development Results focuses on building countries’ capacity (including statistical capacity) to manage for results.

The Roundtable builds on the success of an earlier Roundtable in Marrakech in 2004, and a High-Level Forum in 2005 that endorsed the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Its objective is to help countries, and their development partners, enhance their ability to manage for results and to develop country-level action plans.

One aspect of managing for results is improving development statistics. The Marrakech Action Plan for Statistics, described below, is intensifying efforts in developing countries to invest in statistical capacity improvement, participate in the 2010 Census round, carry out better household surveys, and more effectively harmonize efforts by donors and agencies. 

Marrakech Action Plan

What is it?

Good statistics are important for achieving better development results. The Marrakech Action Plan for Statistics is a global plan for improving development statistics, agreed at the Second Roundtable for Managing for Development Results held in February 2004


Progress has been made 

Strategies. Around 100 countries have prepared (or are preparing) a National Strategy for the Development of Statistics as a basis for improving statistical capacity

Projects and investment. Some countries have started to implement statistical development strategies, with external support in some cases, although much more is needed

Censuses. A World Program has been launched by the UN to support the 2010 census round through technical assistance and advocacy

Surveys. The International Household Survey Network has been launched to better coordinate international household survey efforts and to provide countries with helpful planning and dissemination tools

MDGs and other key statistics. The UN has coordinated international reporting of estimates of MDG progress, has supported improved access to indicators, and has trained users in their interpretation. Some specialized agencies of the UN have implemented programs to help countries improve statistical capacity in key areas, such as education, health, urban welfare, and gender

Harmonization and coordination. Principles for international statistical agencies have been agreed, and tools to improve the coordination of support for statistical capacity improvement are being developed


More is needed

Scaling-up. Countries and donors need to scale-up investment in statistical capacity, to implement National Strategies for the Development of Statistics as part of development policy

Countries should plan to take a good census during the 2010 census round, with support from the international community

International household surveys need to be better coordinated, survey datasets need to be more accessible and better used, and survey programs need to be better established in some countries


Support is available

United Nations: Provides guidance for the collection of official statistics, including the coordination of international standards and support for countries undertaking censuses. Specialized agencies and regional commissions also support improvements in statistics, often in specific areas.

Provide guidelines and advocacy for improving statistical capacity, including for National Strategies for the Development of Statistics.

World Bank: The Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building provides grants for statistical capacity improvement projects, including the development of strategic plans. Large projects can make use of STATCAP, a lending program for improving statistical capacity. A new Accelerated Data Program supports shorter-term improvements to household survey programs.

Other partners: Many other bilateral and multilateral agencies support countries in making improvements in statistical capacity, including regional development banks, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and bilateral donors

Marrakech Action Plan

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