PARIS21 2021 Annual Meetings: Data as a public good – Building resilience for a post-pandemic world


Day 1 :

29th March 2021
14:00 - 14:55
Opening Panel: Data as a public good – A chance to build back better
The opening panel will explore the implications of treating data as a public good. It will touch on the difficulties of measuring the value of data and its effect on social welfare at large, and the implication that this knowledge may have on investments in public data infrastructure. It will also shed light on the pathways through which data may spur innovation, improve public services, foster accountability and enhance government efficiency. All sessions will feature simultaneous translation in English, French and Spanish.
15:00 - 16:30
Africa & MENA: Data leaders of tomorrow – Building skills, competencies and resources
In the Middle East and Africa, as elsewhere, strategic planning, coordination, as well as effective human resource management and transparent statistical production processes, are all crucial for producing high-quality data. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, the ability of governments to respond to crises and adapt to digital challenges depends heavily on prior investments in human capital, governance and technology. Yet in many countries, shortage of funds and lack of skilled staff to implement programmes are the biggest obstacles to the success of national capacity development efforts. Next to the quantitative skills needed for data production, analysis and dissemination, so-called ‘soft skills’ such as communications, negotiation and leadership skills, are gaining importance now that the traditional skills of data analysis are becoming more automated. This session will unpack the capacities and resources required to enable national statistical systems to survive and thrive amidst a global pandemic. It will draw insights into the specific soft and hard skills that national statistical organisations and others need to ensure effective operations and strategic decision-making amidst, and beyond, the COVID-19 world. All sessions will feature simultaneous translation in English, French and Spanish.
17:00 - 17:30
Fireside chat - Advancing data literacy in the post-pandemic world
The urgent need to foster data literacy The COVID-19 crisis presents a monumental opportunity to engender a broad-based data culture. Since early 2020, the emergence of popular data sites like Worldometer have promoted interest and attention in data-driven tracking of the pandemic. “R values”, “flattening the curve” and “exponential increase” have seeped into everyday lexicon. Social media and the news outlets have filled the public consciousness with trends, rankings and graphs over multiple waves of COVID-19. Yet, the crisis also reveals a critical lack of data literacy amongst citizens in many parts of the world. A surge of data actors with conflicting numbers have left the ordinary layperson more confused than informed. Keeping up with inconsistent reporting practices, dubious sources and heterogeneous data quality is becoming arduous and has contributed to wavering public trust in data, evidence and institutions in different parts of the world. The supply of statistics and information has significantly outpaced the ability of lay citizens to make informed choices in the digital data age. Every day people are bombarded with aggregate statistics that may not be directly relatable for personal situations, face divergent views of evidence-based “experts” or need to make decisions about their data privacy – all of which demand a critical-thinking lens towards data. There is an urgent need to develop data literacy at the level of individuals, organisations and society, such that all actors are empowered to navigate the complexity of modern data ecosystems. Further, the capacity to compare, contrast and parse meaningful information amidst the escalating data noise, can propel citizen engagement and civic participation for thriving deliberative democracies. This means that building a minimum set of relevant capabilities to become data literate is more important than ever. Beyond a fragmented understanding and practice of data literacy Interest in data literacy has steadily increased over time and in different parts of the world, including several non-OECD countries, signifying a broad-based acknowledgement of its need in today’s digital data age. However, much more needs to be done to mainstream its development through concerted efforts by different actors in society, including governments, private sector organisations, civil society and international organisations. Data literacy is often defined, conceived and understood in different ways depending on the context, sometimes confounded with other adjacent competencies such as information, statistical or digital literacy. A modern framing of data literacy needs to account for the role of all actors, including citizens, not just as data consumers – but data producers and partners, which requires a transformational change in societal mind-sets and attitudes. Further, implementing data literacy policies and programmes remains a complex endeavour. The dual nature of this challenge contributes to a lack of effective targeting of data literacy interventions and an absence of a broad-based measure to evaluate the impact of such efforts. There is an urgent need now to go beyond an ad-hoc understanding and operationalisation of data literacy to forge a common language around what it means to be data literate and consolidate learnings on how to do data literacy effectively. This session is part of an effort to drive a global dialogue to converge and catalyse the thinking and practice around data literacy, happening in different communities spanning media/journalism, development policy, official statistics and open data, and other areas. Against the above background, the fireside chat aims to: - Discuss the urgent need to foster data literacy among citizens, as part of a broad-based data culture - Understand what data literacy means and which competencies does it cover - Shed light on what practices have worked, and haven’t - Discuss the path to the future of data literacy – how can we go beyond ad-hoc initiatives to sustained policy, investment and impact All sessions will feature simultaneous translation in English, French and Spanish.

Day 2 :

30th March 2021
09:00 - 10:30
Asia & the Pacific: The right approach to data governance - Elements of an enabling legal and institutional environment
How well countries approached data handling during the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the trajectory of their response. However, the global crisis laid bare the challenges of regulatory and legal mechanisms in official data collection in many countries. Faced with rising data demand from policymakers, governments had to ensure business continuity and innovate while adapting to lockdown conditions. Remote work, online systems and an increased use of data have increased the risks to data protection, while legal and regulatory provisions are not always in place to safeguard against the misuse of data. Updating statistics laws can strengthen the ability of countries to handle data amidst a rapidly evolving digital and operational landscape, and support reengineered statistical systems that coordinate various stakeholders around a common goal of addressing data user needs. The regional session will discuss the crucial elements of data governance through a lens of national statistical system legal frameworks and coordination mechanisms, with a focus on new developments that are taking place amidst the pandemic. All sessions will feature simultaneous translation in English, French and Spanish.
14:00 - 14:45
Spotlight - Introducing the Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data
To achieve long-term sustainable development for all and to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, countries everywhere need more quality, timely and disaggregated data to underpin evidence-based policymaking. What the crisis has shown, however, is that now more than ever many low and middle-income countries face significant hurdles to resource and find the additional support needed to meet the new and increased demand for data created by the pandemic, as well as to continue conducting their regular activities. Since the start of the pandemic, over half of national statistical offices have seen a decrease in funding from national governments as well as donors. Even before the crisis, the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data (CTGAP) recognized that more and better funding was required to allow national statistical systems to modernize and develop the capacities required to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. In order to reduce data inequalities and ensure that countries can rely on resilient and agile statistical and data system to respond to the current crisis, future shocks, and longer-term sustainable development, it is critical to ensure that data and statistics are adequately and effectively resourced. To address this challenge, countries and the global community must find new ways to create efficiencies in current spending, leverage existing resources and attract new funding, both domestically and from external aid providers. One such innovative solution currently under development is the Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data, a new online platform being driven by the Bern Network on Financing Data for Development. The Clearinghouse will make financing for development data more efficient and effective by providing information and functionalities to better match the supply and demand for statistical support, as well as by creating a community of practice and supporting offline processes that bring together donors, recipients and stakeholders both at the global and the country levels. Come join us for this spotlight session to learn more about the Clearinghouse and how it can help development cooperation partners, aid providers and others make more and better funding for data a reality. The session will include an exclusive visual preview of the platform, as well as a panel conversation on the different ways the Clearinghouse can be used to support bilateral, multilateral and thematic capacity development for data and statistics. The Bern Network on Financing Data for Development is a multi-stakeholder alliance of development cooperation providers, national statistical offices, multilateral organizations and other institutions dedicated to overcome existing barriers that limit incentives to channel adequate financing for data and statistics. Founded by the Swiss Government in 2019, it includes over 150 members from across the globe. PARIS21 serves as the network’s secretariat. All sessions will feature simultaneous translation in English, French and Spanish. Agenda 14:00 – 14:15 Introductory overview - What’s the Clearinghouse for Financing Development Data? - Rajiv Ranjan, Innovation Team Lead, PARIS21 and Jurei Yada, Bern Network Coordination Lead, PARIS21 14:10 – 14:40 Conversation – How can the Clearinghouse help achieve more and better funding for data? - Andrea Ries, Senior Policy Advisor, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation - Andrea Richter Hume, Deputy Director, International Monetary Fund - Montasser Kamal, Program Leader, Maternal and Child Health at International Development Research Centre 14:40 - 14:45 Conclusion - What’s next
16:30 - 18:00
Latin America: Strengthening participation – Multi-stakeholder approaches to data
In early 2021, the XII Ministerial Forum for Development in Latin America and the Caribbean noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing the greatest economic recession of the last hundred years, as well as widespread increases of poverty and inequality. Collaboration among state and non-state actors on monitoring societal, economic or environmental issues can shed new light on different aspects of inequality, create a mechanism of accountability and bolster a sense of ownership. Digital technologies and new forms of data open up new opportunities for action at all levels of government. Participatory approaches to data production and engagement with local data holders and civil society can forge trust in data and strengthen accountability throughout the data ecosystem. This session will provide space to discuss a set of mechanisms to improve participation and engagement with different data actors, taking stock of country experiences in collaboration between the state and civil society. All sessions will feature simultaneous translation in English, French and Spanish.

Day 3 :

31st March 2021
14:00 - 15:30
Closing Session: Data as a global public good – The way forward?
The closing panel will discuss the potential of data as a public good for a post-COVID-19 society. Building on the lessons learned in the regional sessions, the meeting will present diverse perspectives on how we can join forces to strengthen statistical systems to support better lives for all. The closing session aims to: • Identify and discuss the opportunities and challenges in providing data as a public good that lie ahead and the open questions that remain to be solved • Bring together lessons learned and good practices from three regions (Latin America, Asia & Pacific, Africa & MENA) • Look into the future provision of official statistics and data to support sustainable development All sessions will feature simultaneous translation in English, French and Spanish.

Day 4 :

1st April 2021
14:00 - 16:00
PARIS21 Board Meeting
Following three days of policy and regional dialogues which put the spotlight on key issues facing the statistical and development communities, the week of PARIS21’s 2021 Annual Meetings will close with a meeting of the PARIS21 Board. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss and approve the main items of business of the Secretariat (including the 2021 Programme of Work and Budget), reflect on achievements and lessons learned from 2020, and consider how and in what ways the partnership can adapt to an ever evolving environment to set a strong course for its continued work in a set of breakout discussions. This meeting will be open to members of the PARIS21 Board and invited guests only. All sessions will feature simultaneous translation in English, French and Spanish. Agenda 1. Welcome and networking meet-and-greet: 14:00 – 14:15 2. Adoption of meeting agenda, 2020 Highlights & documents for approval and discussion: 14:15 - 15:10 3. Learning and adapting for the future: 15:10 -15:55 - Panel interventions 4. Closing remarks: 15:55-16:00