The recently released Guide to Statistics in European Commission Development Co-Operation is a key tool for developing, assessing and evaluating aid programs.


It explains how to obtain reliable statistics that can help to set up a development policy. Reliable statistics are crucial to define policies for development - without good statistics, governments cannot deliver efficient administration, good management and evidence based policy making. In order to have reliable and accurate statistics it is necessary to improve the statistical capacity of the institutions that produce, compile and disseminate statistics.

Better statistical data and improved analysis can create a political will for change. Quality statistics will promote the accountability of policy makers by enabling media, non-governmental organisations and citizens to monitor policies implemented by the government.

“The Guide is a very important tool for the delegations, because it will help to have an idea about how to formulate, how to design, implement, evaluate and monitor statistical projects and programs,” said Susana Martins, coordinator of the new edition of this 455-page guide.

It contains information that can be used to assess the capacity of statistical institutions and can also support donor coordination for the development of statistics.

“Eurostat decided to develop and write this guide because statistics are important to assess where aid is most needed, how to use the resources efficiently and how to measure progress and evaluate results. Good indicators are crucial to design a policy in the context of development,” argues Susana Martins, from the Statistical Cooperation Unit at the Luxembourg-based Eurostat. 

The Guide explains why development statistics are important, how to use statistics in the context of development cooperation, and what needs to be done to make statistics available. 



This comprehensive guide is organized in four parts, the first of which - part A - is devoted to how to use it. It refers to practical examples of statistical projects, policies and strategies that are developed throughout the rest of the guide, making it a user-friendly guide for development practitioners.

Part B is a more informative chapter as it refers to how statistics are made and lists regional organizations, both in the European Union (EU) and in partner countries that are involved in collecting data and making statistics. It also provides information on EU development policy and the types of statistics that are important to gather when designing or monitoring a program.

Part C provides information on how to support actions for statistics. It provides examples of national strategies and other development strategies that have led to the improvement of statistical capacity in developing countries.

It also provides an impressive quantity of information on project management and the project cycle in the European Commission, making it a key reference document for all development practitioners.

Finally, part D focuses on statistics in development and provides an overview of the increase in development statistics.

“It gives an overview from a global policy perspective and mentions international initiatives that focus on performance measurement and result-based policy making,” explained Susana Martins.

Part D of the guide - which in its PDF version also contains hyperlinks that provide additional information - presents 20 sector-by-sector information points related to statistic-gathering, from sectors including health, water, biodiversity, education and others.

“For instance, a project on the education sector would include information about the indicators that are necessary to design, assess, monitor and evaluate the project, and if this is not enough, links will provide other sources of information,” said Susana Martins.

For more information on an e-training course on the use of the guide, click here.

This collaborative piece was drafted with input from Susana Martins, with support from the Coordination Team.


DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interests of knowledge sharing and capacity development and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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