With the World Bank/ IMF Spring Meetings underway, many of us are keen to explore more and better resources for achieving the data revolution for sustainable development. As we and others have argued before, a key part of this revolution must involve greater harmonization of data collection and use efforts between country governments and development partners.
The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Development Gateway (DG) are pleased to release a new report entitled “Decision-Making and Data Use Landscaping: Better Data, Better Decisions - May 2017 to October 2018.” This work examines the role that data plays in supporting key decisions taken by DFID at the strategy, portfolio (sector or country), and programme level. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through DG’s Results Data Initiative, the report synthesises in-depth interviews with approximately 60 DFID staff across four country offices, all sector teams, and senior management.
Data-driven decision-making was considered a positive norm across countries researched during the UNICEF Data for Children pilot process. Ideally, the national data use cycle would consist of: (i) evidence-based planning; (ii) implementing programs according to plans; (iii) monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and reporting; (iv) analyzing data; and (v) making appropriate planning or program adjustments.
What does “fit-for-purpose” data actually mean? It depends: on who you ask, and what decision is at stake. For governments and development partners – particularly those who rely on data from country systems for program planning and management – much frustration came from perceived redundancies in statistical and administrative data systems.
Within the Sustainable Development Goal context of “leave no one behind,” there exists an opportunity – and a pressing obligation – to support better outcomes for children. But much of the change needed must happen at country and local level, through better use of data and evidence in decision-making.
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