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 most recent DGI progress report highlights that:

  • 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.

  • Nevertheless, progress in implementing the DGI-2 recommendations continued, despite the challenges that COVID-19 poses. Positive developments include enhancements in compilation processes, data sharing arrangements, production and dissemination of additional tables, as well as instrument and sector breakdowns.

  • To continue addressing data needs beyond 2021, many participating economies support maintaining an organised international collaboration process.

  • The COVID-19 crisis has increased policymakers’ needs to obtain more granular, relevant, and reliable data. A possible new mandate could help address emerging policy questions. A general framework could be defined during 2021 and presented in the next DGI-2 progress report, which will be published in the second half of 2021 and delivered to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.