Data for Development: A Needs Assessment for SDG Monitoring and Statistical Capacity Development



The Financing for Development Summit in July 2015 presents a crucial opportunity to make the case for increased investments in development data, but to do so the statistical community needs to agree upon a robust estimate of resource needs. This study, prepared by a broad coalition of data for development experts convened by SDSN, attempts to respond to that challenge. It details monetary estimates of the spending required to upgrade current systems and conduct ongoing data collection for the Sustainable Development Goals, and provides recommendations for both donors and recipient countries of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in joining the data revolution.

Key Insights


As estimated by the data for development experts that contributed to this report, a total of US$1 billion per annum will be required to enable 77 of the world’s lower-income countries to catch up and put in place statistical systems capable of supporting and measuring the SDGs.


Recipients of ODA must mobilize domestic resources behind clear national strategies for the development of statistics.

HOW TO MODERNIZE data production, analysis, and communication

What are emergent technologies for data production and use, and what is their cost-saving potential?




The writing of this report was led by Jessica Espey (SDSN); with Eric Swanson, Shaida Badiee, and Zach Christensen (Open Data Watch); Alex Fischer, Marc Levy, Greg Yetman, Alex de Sherbinin, Robert Chen, and Yue Qiu (CIESIN); Geoffrey Greenwell, Thilo Klein, and Johannes Jutting (PARIS21); Morten Jerven (SFU); Grant Cameron, Ana Milena Aguilar Rivera, Victoriano C. Arias, and Samuel Lantei Mills (World Bank); and Albert Motivans (UNESCO).

This report has benefited from the expert inputs of Guido Schmidt-Traub (SDSN), Anneke Schmider, and Rifat Hossein (WHO), Shyam Upadhyaya (UNIDO), Haishan Fu, Maurice Nsabimana, Barbro Hexeberg, Gero Carletto, and Amparo Ballivian (World Bank), Amanda Glassman (CGD), Jenna Slotin (UNF), David McNair (The One Campaign), Attila Hancioglu (UNICEF), Jacob Adetunji (USAID), and Matthias Reister (UN Statistics Division). Lauren Barredo, Kathy Zhang, and Carolina Rosero (SDSN) edited the report. Matt Smith (SDSN) designed the cover.