Submissions for the PARIS21 2020 Trust Initiative are now closed. We are now going through the review process and will contact the shortlisted candidates in due time. Thank you for your patience.

What is the PARIS21 2020 Trust Initiative?


PARIS21 is seeking proposals for innovative projects that enhance trust in data and statistics in low and middle-income countries. The initiative will sponsor six to twelve-month projects up to 50 000 EUR each. Eligible candidates include national statistical offices (NSOs) or any private, public or civil society entity in joint partnership with a NSO. The initiatives will foster the implementation of innovative solutions across any of the statistical, structural and/or reputational aspects of trust in the national statistical system (see here for more information).

Example: A civil-society organisation and The Central Bureau of Statistics of a country are co-creating a ten-month training programme for journalists on how to use data accurately in reporting, aimed at increasing public confidence in official statistics. This directly affects trust in the statistical institution (NSO) as well as statistical products (official data) through the reputational factor of trust as per the OECD framework. They can apply to the Trust Initiative for a grant of 30 000 EUR to cover workshop costs, production of materials and workshop participation.

Submissions for the PARIS21 2020 Trust Initiative are now closed. We are going through the review process and will contact shortlisted candidates in due time. Thank you for your patience.

The initiative was launched at the 2019 Cross Regional Forum on “Building Trust in Data: What’s new for National Statistical Systems (NSSs)?” and aims to support the design and funding of pilot activities in countries to improve trust in official statistics.

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Why have we launched the initiative?

Trust in data and statistics is paramount to the production and use of data. But the issue of trust has gained renewed impetus in the digital age, with new data sources, technologies and actors in the ever-expanding data ecosystem.

Trust in governments has deteriorated overtime. According to a 2017 OECD report, only 43% of citizens trust their government. This undermines the effectiveness of public policies. The 2019 Global Report of the Edelman Trust Barometer also notes that there were only modest gains in trust across the four important societal institutions—government, business, media and NGOs as compared to 2018. In particular, the government and media remain most distrusted by the general population vis a vis the informed public.

Data actors today face many trust challenges:

  • Official statistics are now only one of many competing sources of information, and they may not always win against more relatable, real-time data sources.
  • Official statistics may not be appear relevant or accessible in user-friendly ways.
  • Moreover, users may be less influenced by those datasets we perceive to be the “truest” than those which support their biases.
  • Further, populist attacks on “experts” and “elites” are undermining trust in public institutions, and those attacks are increasingly backed by competing data, “fake news” and pseudo-science.

These trends have ushered in a new post-truth political climate characterised by amplified disinformation and biases.

Many NSSs are starting to adapt to this new context, realising data quality is necessary but not sufficient to build trust with its users. Yet for many others, especially among low-income countries with fledgling statistical systems, the path to increasing relevance and authority may not be obvious.



Against this background, the "PARIS21 2020 Trust Initiative” will support pilot projects in low and middle income countries that aim to foster trust in official statistics between different stakeholders. These projects will identify a particular trust issue for data and describe how they plan to advance trust in that context.

The proposals eventually selected will be presented in a side event of the 2020 Cross-Regional Forum (Fall 2020). The final results and lessons learnt, including future plans for continuity and scale-up, will be presented at the PARIS21 Annual Meetings in spring 2021.

The amount of funding available for each project can be up to 50 000 EUR, which can be 6 to 12 months long

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The proposal can be submitted by any organisation or collaboration. These could include social enterprises, for-profit companies, non-profit organisations, government agencies, international organisations, academic organisations, networks and consortiums.

We are especially interested in proposals that bring different types of organisations together to enhance trust in official statistics and the National Statistical System.

The geographic focus on the project should be low- and middle-income countries.


Launching. The initiative will be launched on 29 October 2019 as part of the PARIS21 Cross-Regional Forum 2019, with a call for proposals.

Submitting. Proposals shall be developed by any agencies/organisations. Proposals should involve the NSO of the country, and allow for a role for the NSO in implementation. Proposals should be submitted before 31 January 2020.

Selecting. A selection panel consisting of PARIS21 and individual experts will review the proposals in May/June 2020. Selected finalists may be required to supplement their submissions with additional information, including interviews.

Implementing. The implementation would begin from July/August 2020.

Sharing results. Preliminary results from the funded projects will be shared in a side event of the Cross-Regional Forum 2020 (Fall 2020) and final results and lessons learned, including future plans for continuity and scale-up, will be presented at the PARIS21 Annual Meetings in 2021.


Projects should foster the implementation of innovative solutions across any of the statistical, structural and/or reputational aspects of trust in the NSS. The PARIS21 background paper on the topic explains the key notions behind this topic, which you can access here. In summary:

  • Statistical factors including complying with international standards and having sound methodological practices, robust statistical processes and quality outputs.
  • Structural factors, including the extent to which the statistics are, or are perceived as being, objective and independent, impartial and non-partisan (i.e. not subject to political interference) and transparent (e.g., release dates are publicised in advance; clear explanations are given for changes or revisions).
  • Reputational factors which determine the public’s opinion of official statistics, including practices like publication of relevant data on important and topical policy issues, public consultation, effective stakeholder management (like with the media), correcting inaccurate data.

OECD framework for trust in official statistics

A proposed project may address one or more of the above factors. The scope of the PARIS21 Trust Initiative is in line with the measurement framework for trust in official statistics, as proposed by the OECD in the figure on the left.

Sample projects could include:

Segmenting NSO data users to develop a targeted communication strategy

Enhancing statistical literacy with parliamentarians

Integrating citizens generated data and official data to promote data relatability

Developing and implementing data quality assessment framework

Measuring trust in official statistics and NSOs

Engaging with the media to bridge to the occasional users

Selection criteria

Funding requirements (max 50 000 EUR per proposal)
Cost efficiency
Collaborative nature
Potential for replicability and scaling-up
Regional representativeness



Dr. Lisa Grace S. Bersales

Philippine Statistics Authority
Former National Statistician

Dr. Lisa Grace S. Bersales is a professor of statistics at the University of the Philippines’ School of Statistics. She served as the first national statistician of the Philippines from April 2014 to April 2019 as head of the Philippine Statistics Authority. During this period, she was also the Philippines’ Civil Registrar General and started the implementation of the Philippines’ national identification system. She implemented the Philippine Statistical Act of 2013 with the creation of the Philippine Statistics Authority. She is currently a member of the board of Open Data Watch based in Washington D.C., member of the Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network based in Los Angeles, Emphasis Editor on Official Statistics and Human Resources of the Statistical Journal of the International Association for Official Statistics and president of the Philippine Statistical Association, Inc. She holds a PhD in statistics from the University of the Philippines, where she also earned her bachelor's and master's degrees.


Matías Bianchi

Asuntos del Sur
Director and Founder

Matías Bianchi is the founder and director of Asuntos del Sur, a think tank focused on political innovation in Latin American. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona. He holds a PhD in political science from the Institute d´Études Politiques de Paris (SciencesPo). He has published articles in academic journals and books, the most recent being the edition and compilation of "Recuperar la Política: agendas de innovación Política en América Latina" (2017).


Rajiv Ranjan

Innovation Team Lead

Rajiv Ranjan possesses strong expertise in information systems, data technologies, statistics & social sciences. He supports national statistical offices around the world in data dissemination effectiveness, strengthening data management practices and NSDS planning processes. Prior to joining PARIS21, Rajiv was an advisor with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and was seconded to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda where he significantly improved distribution, uptake and use of data for evidence-based planning and decision making. Rajiv’s experience also includes planning and implementing ICT for Development and e-Government projects, as well as supporting the development of organisation-wide knowledge management systems.

Rajiv holds a master’s degree in business administration with specialisation in information technology and management, and a bachelor's degree in technology.



Rajeswari Sengupta

Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR)
Assistant Professor of Economics

Dr. Rajeswari Sengupta is an assistant professor of economics at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) in Mumbai, India. In the past, she has held research positions at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) in Chennai, the Reserve Bank of India, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington D.C. She was a member of the research secretariat for the Bankruptcy Law Reforms Committee (BLRC) that recommended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code for India. Her research focuses on policy-relevant, macro-financial issues of emerging market economies in general and India, particularly in the fields of international finance, open economy macroeconomics, monetary policy and banking, national income accounts and financial markets and regulations. Dr. Sengupta completed her master’s degree and PhD in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She holds two previous degrees in economics from India, a bachelor’s degree from Presidency College, Calcutta and a master’s degree from Delhi School of Economics.

WATCH: Dr. Rajeswari Sengupta talks trust in data at the PARIS21 Cross Regional Forum 2019



Joseph Tedou

Cameroon National Institute of Statistics

Joseph Tedou of Yaoundé, Cameroon, is a graduate of the Sub-Regional Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics (ISSEA), the CESD / ENSAE of Paris with a degree in statistical and economic engineering and of the University of Paris I - Sorbonne with a degree in Etudes Approfondies (DEA), concentrating on economic policy analysis.

He joined the Cameroonian administration in 2005 and held several positions including Director of Statistics and National Accounting and Director General of the National Institute of Statistics (INS).

At the international level, he has been involved with setting up the Economic and Statistical Observatory for Sub-Saharan Africa (AFRISTAT) and was Chairman of the Management Committee from 1996 to 1998. He has also been on the Executive Committee of PARIS21 since 2012. He served as a Rapporteur to the United Nations Statistical Commission for the 44th, 45th, and 46th sessions held in New York. Joseph Tedou is an Officer of the National Order of the Value of Cameroon, and Knight of the Order of Merit of Niger on an exceptional basis.


Frequently asked questions

To start your application, click the " Submit Proposal" button at the top of this page.

Please, review your application and make sure all the fields are filled in. If there are no errors in your application, click “Submit” to send your application. A message will be displayed to confirm the successful submission.

You can also download a word version of the application form (just for planning purposes) from here.

Proposals will be reviewed by a multi-stakeholder peer review committee. The committee will include members from PARIS21, representatives from other organisations, and individual experts.

The number of awards issued will be in line with our overall budget and dependent on budgets of the top-ranked proposals.

Costs directly related to the project activities, including personnel, travel, events, publication of reports, development of technology and M&E. This is not an exhaustive list. Other costs may be considered on a case-by-case basis.


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