When countries set out to improve their statistical systems, they embark on a task that is often formidable. Change requires multiple steps: assessment of the current system, recognition of deficiencies, plans for improvement, priorities consistent with resources, and a realistic timetable for implementation.
Oftentimes, the most crucial step is the most basic one-recognition within the statistical agencies that their way of operating-"their culture"-must change. And this happens only when there is a willingness and a commitment to do so.
The IMF designed the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) to provide a framework for statistical development, particularly for countries with less advanced systems.
It sets out standards for coverage, periodicity, timeliness, data quality, access to data, and data integrity.Member countries that have chosen to participate in the GDDS are committed to follow a framework that embodies international good practice for each of these dimensions.
In itself, such a commitment represents a major step, because it involves a public statement by the authorities that they intend to bring their national systems in step with the global statistical community and that they may thus be held accountable for their progress.Monitoring this progress involves many parties. As the sponsor of the GDDS, and as the host of the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB; www.dsbb.imf.org/gddsweb) where information on countries' current statistical...