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.

Deadline for proposal submission is January 31 2020

How to apply

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.

Learn more


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

Apply before January 31 2020




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/organizations2. Proposals should all 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 February 2020. Selected finalists may be required to supplement their submissions by additional information, including interviews.

Implementing. The implementation would begin from March 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 learnt, 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


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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