17 Jan 2019

Data partnership is groundbreaking win for South-South cooperation

Strong partnerships and good data: both are essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are often difficult to achieve. SDG 17 acknowledges this by calling for the global community to support partnership building— particularly between countries in the Global South—to increase/encourage the development of strong data and monitoring systems.

“When countries have strong data tracking systems, they can make better decisions and accelerate progress towards improving children’s lives and achieving the SDGs,” said Kate Hampton, CIFF’s CEO. “With this innovative partnership, leaders from Bangladesh and Peru are moving both countries to the forefront of the data revolution. We’re proud to support them in such progressive work.”


However, with ties to both Peru and Bangladesh, CIFF saw an opportunity; Peru is a world leader when it comes to reducing child stunting: in less than a decade, it halved the number of children who are stunted through a revolutionary pay-for-performance (P4P) model, and Bangladesh has developed a robust technological tracker for its progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

With support from CIFF, Ariela Luna, former Peruvian social vice minister, presented Peru’s P4P model to Bangladesh’s public service innovation agency, Access to Information (a2i). Impressed by the results of that effort, the Bangladesh government is now planning to set up a similar P4P system for nutrition in Bangladesh. It plans to launch a pilot in two sub-districts in 2019. Ariela’s presentation also led to a broader and unexpected conversation on how Peru monitored and collected data for the initiative, and the countries’ shared interest in strong SDG monitoring. a2i had led the development of Bangladesh’s SDG tracker which, while fully functional, still faces challenges in real-time data collection and presentation.

Ariela then connected a2i with Peru’s National Institute of Statistics and Information (INEI), which had developed a database that will provide the foundation for Peru’s SDG tracker, but needs support with the design and digitalisation of its tracking system. As the countries shared knowledge, both saw a unique opportunity to collaborate.By working together, both countries will not only help to fulfil their SDG 17 targets, but also make critical progress in creating the data systems needed to achieve all the SDGs.

South-south collaboration

Both countries hope that their success will lead the way for more involvement from the statistics community across Southern states. CIFF is proud to have played a role in brokering this partnership, showing the catalytic role that philanthropies can play in connecting partners and encouraging collaboration.

At this year’s UN World Data Forum, two countries— Peru and Bangladesh— scored a win for both collaboration and data by signing a ground-breaking agreement to work together to improve SDG data tracking. CIFF’s role in bringing key leaders from both countries together shows how philanthropy can play a critical role as a bridge builder.

Policy makers are often eager to learn from what their peers in other countries have done. But with their busy schedules and domestic responsibilities, making new connections can be difficult— particularly when significant logistic and linguistic barriers stand in the way. As a result, SDG cooperation between countries in Latin America and South Asia is relatively infrequent.

At this year’s UN World Data Forum, more than 40 participants looked on as Mr. Anir Chowdhury, a top policy advisor in a2i’s ICT Division, and Dr. Anibal Sanchez Aguilar, Deputy Chief of INEI, Republic of Peru, signed a formal agreement to collaborate and exchange knowledge and expertise in monitoring SDGs.



Synapse growth chart

Director, Child Health, Sufia Askari

Sufia is a Director in the Child Health team at CIFF, and is based in the London office.

Synapse growth chart

Ariela Luna, Former Deputy Minister of Development and Social Assessment, Peru

Ariela is a consultant at CIFF and leads on South-South Collaboration in Bangladesh, India and Kenya. Ariela was assisted in the development of this blog by Celia Carabajosa.