Accurate and timely data are crucial for informing policy decisions, especially during a crisis. In October 2009, the FSB and IMF published The Financial Crisis and Information Gaps, a report which responded to a request from the G20 Ministers and Governors to explore information gaps and provide appropriate proposals for strengthening data collection. The report, which set out a series of recommendations to address identified data gaps, was endorsed by G20 Ministers and Governors and led to the first Data Gaps Initiative (DGI-1). In September 2015 it was agreed that the DGI work should continue into a second phase (DGI-2).

The main objective of DGI-2 is to implement the regular collection and dissemination of reliable and timely statistics for policy use. DGI-2 also includes new recommendations to reflect evolving policymaker needs. Its twenty recommendations are clustered under three main headings: (i) monitoring risk in the financial sector; (ii) vulnerabilities, interconnections and spillovers; and (iii) data sharing and communication of official statistics. DGI-2 maintains continuity with the DGI-1 recommendations while setting more specific objectives for G20 economies to compile and disseminate minimum common datasets for these recommendations.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges to the 2020 DGI work programme, and thus participating economies agreed to extend DGI work by six months to December 2021. The most recent DGI progress report highlights that:

  • The initiative has proven its value during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping policymakers to obtain better access to key information to assess the developments and risks in the financial and nonfinancial sectors, as well as to analyse interconnectedness and cross-border spillovers.
  • The pandemic continues to affect the DGI-2 work program for 2020-21 and is posing significant challenges for some recommendations, in particular: securities financing transaction data; institutional sectoral accounts; household distributional information; data on general government debt and operations; and Commercial Property Price Indices.
  • Building on the DGI process, participating economies and international organisations recognise the need for a new international cooperation initiative on data gaps after the conclusion of the DGI at the end of 2021.
  • Four main statistical and data priorities to be covered by a possible new DGI have been identified: (i) climate change; (ii) household distributional information; (iii) fintech and financial inclusion data; and (iv) access to private sources of data and administrative data. A detailed workplan for the new initiative will be developed.