Regional statistics strategy preparation gets nod from CARICOM Heads
As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) continues to take steps to ensure that its decision-making is underpinned by quality data, Heads of Government last week endorsed the preparation of the Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics (RSDS), one of the key aspects of the Action Plan for Statistics in the Caribbean.
Improvements in the availability of statistics for evidence-based decision-making, sustainable development of Member States, and the empowerment of citizens to hold governments accountable, are among the highlights of the Plan.
The RSDS will play a strategic role in strengthening statistics and improving its availability for evidence-based decision-making and will constitute a shared foundation upon which statistical capacity in the Region will be developed.
The Strategy will also cater for the additional demands that will be made of statistical offices to fulfill obligations related to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019, the United Nations 2030 Development Agenda and the the SIDS Accelerated Modalities for Action (SAMOA) Pathway. In this regard the strengthening of national statistics offices across the Region is a key component of the Action Plan.
Endorsement of the preparation of the Regional Strategy for Statistics came at the Thirty-Eighth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM which concluded on 6 July, 2017, in St. George’s, Grenada under the Chairmanship of Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada. In the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet, Prime Minister Mitchell is the lead Head of Government with responsibility for science and technology. He made the announcement of the Heads’ endorsement at the press conference at the conclusion of the Meeting.
“Another big win for this Meeting was the endorsement of the approval of the Regional Plan for Statistics. We believe that the Region’s Strategy for the Development of Statistics will embody a huge basket of activities and will respond to the statistical needs of the CARICOM Region, the Development Agenda, and support our research and policy imperatives. The Region’s Strategy for Statistics will be funded by PARIS21, and to date, the assessment has been completed.
“There is a general agreement that we will need to engage aggressively and strategically with our development partners for support in a wide range of issues so as to future-proof our Region. This will be coordinated and spearheaded by the CARICOM Secretariat”, the Prime Minister said.
In his address at the Opening Ceremony of the Conference,Prime Minister Mitchell pointed out that the need to produce timely, quality statistics remained critical.
“Our decision-making and the pursuit of policy at the national and regional levels cannot be ad-hoc; it must be evidence-based,” he said.
The CARICOM Chairman said that the Community should aim for key achievements including a comprehensive quantitative assessment of trade performance under the CSME, and the strengthening of the Statistics Division of the CARICOM Secretariat, “to better equip our Region to carry out the heavy lifting required in respect of evolving demands.”
With reference to the Plan, the Conference Communique said that the Heads of Government reiterated their commitment to the Regional Plan for Statistics Development in light of the growing demand for data on social, economic and environmental indicators and endorsed a strategy to guide good practices in regional statistical co-operation.