About the Data Gaps Initiative

In 2009, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) endorsed 20 recommendations to address data gaps revealed by the global financial crisis. The initiative, aimed at supporting enhanced policy analysis, is led by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics (IAG) plays the global facilitator role to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the DGI recommendations.

The first phase of the DGI was successfully concluded in September 2015 and the second phase of the initiative (DGI-2) was endorsed by the G20 FMCBG. The key objective of the DGI-2 is to implement the regular collection and dissemination of comparable, timely, integrated, high quality, and standardized statistics for policy use. DGI-2 encompasses 20 new or revised recommendations, focused on datasets that support: (i) monitoring of risk in the financial sector; and (ii) analysis of vulnerabilities, interconnections and spillovers, not least cross-border.

Inter-Agency Group

The Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics (IAG) was created in late 2008 in response to the global crisis, and the need for international agencies to collaborate more closely in its aftermath. The IAG members are the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the European Central Bank (ECB), Eurostat, the IMF (Chair), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN), and the World Bank (WB). The FSB is invited to participate in topics in which they have a direct involvement.

Role of the Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics

The purpose of the IAG is to identify and address areas of work in the field of economic and financial statistics that would benefit from interagency cooperation, taking account of resource constraints and the work of other international statistical groups. The IAG also helps to limit duplication of effort at the international level as far as is possible. The IAG works in particular to:

(a) Facilitate coordination of activities amongst international organizations in the area of economic and financial statistics.

(b) Identify the data gaps in economic and financial statistics, and other related fields.

(c) Ascertain the current responsibilities, and identify the agency or group where responsibility to address specific data gaps best falls.

(d) Agree on a broad set of priorities and common objectives, taking into account that each agency and group has their own priorities, governance arrangements and resource constraints.

The IAG may be characterized as a global facilitator and coordinator, liaising with other groups and initiatives, coordinating work among the international agencies and promoting data provision and dissemination particularly among G20 economies.

Against this background, the IAG has played the central role in the development of the DGI recommendations and in the coordination of their implementation. The latter has included co-hosting and participating in global and regional DGI conferences, and technical meetings, and directly leading several of the recommendations.

The IAG has also been a key player in other related areas. For instance, it initiated a pilot project on data cooperation involving GDP and sectoral accounts with the objective of reducing the reporting burden on national authorities and making more efficient use of resources at the national and international agencies. The IAG is also promoting the use of harmonized templates, such as for National Accounts main aggregates and population, sectoral accounts and government finance statistics, and the work to develop Data Structure Definitions for global use.

The IAG cooperates with G20 economies through its member agencies. While the focus is on the G20 economies, the work in international data cooperation and expansion of the coverage of key datasets is promoted beyond the G20 economies.

The IAG has primarily conducted its meetings through video conferences around once a quarter, and physical meetings are also organized on the sidelines of other international meetings. The IAG has high-level group participation from its member agencies. Its operation is flexible and very cost effective.

Going forward, the IAG will continue to play a major role in identifying emerging data needs, and promoting international coordination to ensure that duplication of efforts is minimized.