The initiative to develop the Global Strategy to improve agricultural and rural statistics (GSARS) came as a response to address developing countries’ lack of capacity to provide reliable statistical data on food and agriculture and to provide a blueprint for long-term sustainable agricultural statistical systems.

Outcome and Pillars

The Global Strategy is a comprehensive framework for improving the availability and use of agricultural and rural data, necessary for evidence-based decision making.

The three pillars forming the foundation of the Global Strategy are the following:

  • 1Produce a minimum set of core data;
  • 2Better integrate agriculture into the National Statistical Systems;
  • 3Improve governance and statistical capacity building;

Implementation of the programme

The Global Strategy is implemented through its Global Action Plan, which defines the technical assistance, training and research plans as well as the governance mechanism. Based on the Global Action Plan, each region develops its own regional action plan adapting it to the particularities of each region.

At global level, the programme is coordinated by the Global Office, hosted by the FAO Statistics Division. Its main role is to provide overall strategic directions and develop new cost-effective statistical methodologies, guidelines and training material to support the implementation of the programme at regional and country level.

Work at regional level is led by the regional partners, who provide technical assistance to countries and liaise with regional and national stakeholders. To date, the Global Strategy partners are the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok.

From Country Demand to Guidelines:
How the Global Office implements a research program

The Global Office (GO) currently oversees over 25 different lines of research (grouped into 17 themes) to produce cost-effective methodologies that will help countries improve their agricultural statistical systems. This activity is time and resource-intensive and must meet the tight deadlines set by the GO’s resource partners to address the urgent needs of the Global Strategy (GS) stakeholders. This brief article seeks to illustrate how the GO implements a research program, within the resource and time constraints that it must observe.