On July 23, 2014, a validation workshop was organized by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) as part of the Bangladesh Country Study under the Post-2015 Data Test initiative. The objective of the workshop, held in Dhaka, was to share the findings of the study and seek feedbacks from relevant experts. The Bangladesh study team made a presentation on the preliminary findings of the country study, particularly in terms of the available data for monitoring select post-2015 goals and targets. The presentation highlighted key data sources and the frequency of data generation. The team also provided an overview of the data quality assessment under the study, which examines the relevance, accuracy and reliability, timeliness and punctuality, accessibility and clarity, and coherence and comparability of nationally produced data. A number of experts, including data producers, policymakers, academics and development partners, were present at the event.
Participants acknowledged the importance of the study for providing an early indication of the state of information and data available for monitoring the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Participants gave positive feedback on the potential sources identified by the research team for indicators for which data are not readily available at present. A number of new surveys were proposed which could be important data sources for measuring progress. It was, however, acknowledged that because of the absence of previous surveys, it would be challenge to obtain data for a benchmark year of 2010. The participants supported the research team’s recommendation that the existing Bangladesh National Strategy for the Development of Statistics be reviewed and revised to accommodate post-2015 data needs.
Participants at the event also noted the value of the study’s in-depth examination of data quality. The role of new technology and advanced techniques in data collection were particularly emphasised in this context. It was agreed by all that the lack of both human and financial resources were major constraints as regards data availability and quality assurance. More efforts are needed to generate disaggregated data as well. It was also highlighted that ensuring availability of data, including disaggregated data, is insufficient alone; data needs to be made accessible, affordable and usable.
Political dimensions of data production is also critically important in Bangladesh, as noted by participants. Good data has the potential to serve as a strong tool for ensuring transparency, accountability and good governance. Participants stressed that this aspect of data generation and use must inform the developmental discourse in Bangladesh.
It was also noted that the role of private sector, both as data user and producer, is becoming increasingly significant. In connection to this, participants recognised the need for better coordination between government and non-government actors to ensue soundness of data collection methodologies, data reliability and use of data. National statistical institutions could play an important role in this respect by working more closely with the private sector.
CPD found the inputs of the validation workshop very useful. The research team will finalize the Bangladesh country study, taking into consideration the comments and views shared at the validation workshop.