The Road Map for a Country-led Data Revolution is the foundational document of the Informing a Data Revolution project. The Road Map sets out the goals, activities and resources needed for developing countries to use data to achieve the sustainable development goals.  It defines what a data revolution should achieve and lays out actions needed to 1) strengthen statistical systems in developing countries to produce better data for informing policies and managing development 2) prepare data producers and users for the proliferation of new data sources and technology and turn the “data deluge” into better and more timely statistics.




To bring all countries into the data revolution, PARIS21’s Road Map for a Country-led Data Revolution sets out a step-by-step action plan across four areas – capacity building; principles and standards; technology, innovation and analysis; and governance and leadership. Underpinning all this are three “big ideas”:


1. Increase official development assistance (ODA) for statistics from around 0.5% of ODA to around 1%;

2. Create a data compact where countries sign up to a set of basic principles and receive, in return for progress, improved financial and technical assistance.

3. Establish an annual Data for Sustainable Development Report to measure countries’ progress in developing their statistical capacity and to report on funding for statistics.


Continuous engagement with national statistical systems, policy makers, data users, and civil society organizations throughout the development process was a unique feature of the Informing a Data Revolution project. PARIS21 carried out research in more than 30 developing countries and identified a number of widespread statistical challenges, including:

·       Too little investment in people, skills and infrastructure.

·       Data are not adequately disseminated and used.

·       National statistical offices are undervalued.

·       Aid for statistics often does not match national priorities and is fragmented.


In response, the Road Map offers detailed recommendations for those countries around the four action areas identified by the UN Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) on the Data Revolution: capacity and resources; principles and standards; governance and leadership; and technology, innovation and analysis.


Capacity building: The data revolution will need to turn a vicious cycle of underperformance and inadequate resources for statistical agencies into a virtuous one where increased demand leads to improved performance and an increase in resources and capacity leading to an increase in the effective use of data.


Principles and standards: A set of core principles for managing data and a process to establish and promote standards for different aspects of data work must be applied as widely as possible. Countries should adopt and use key principles; the right of users to access data should be advanced; and key technical standards should be promoted and their adoption actively monitored.


Technology, innovation and analysis: A major concern for the data revolution will be identifying the innovations that work best for developing countries. Given the lack of resources in many of these countries, much of the necessary research and development will happen at the regional or international level. But it will need to take better account of countries’ needs and concerns than in the past.


Governance and leadership: Improvements will be needed first, within countries, to strengthen coordination between agencies and to enhance the leadership role of national statistical agencies; and second, at the regional and international levels, where the voice of developing countries needs to be heard and where countries should be encouraged and supported to play a more prominent role in international coordination.