The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in collaboration with the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Economic and Social Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) will be implementing during 2011 and 2012 the Development Account Project: "Strengthening statistical and inter-institutional capacities for monitoring the Millennium Development Goals through interregional cooperation and knowledge-sharing".
This inter-regional project builds on the previous work done by the RCs and recognizes the value of working together despite the complexity of dealing with different cultures, languages and time frames, as one UN, serving its member countries in the field of MDGs.
The project main objective is to improve statistical capacities and inter-institutional coordination to invigorate the production of MDG indicators, improve data description (metadata) and decrease statistical discrepancies between national, regional and global sources on MDG indicators.
It is expected that the networking and integration of different national, regional and international actors will multiply the direct results of the project, strengthening national and regional capacities in the long-term and providing support to the implementation of sustainable development strategies in the participating regions.
The need for monitoring the progress towards the Millennium Development Goal has been an opportunity for many developing countries in different regions to develop their statistical systems and produce better information in support of evidence-based policies for development.
Nevertheless, having past much part of the period considered to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, developing nations face pervasive statistical challenges on monitoring Millennium Development Goals, including the persistent data gaps, insufficient use of the official national data produced by both the national agency in charge of the national Millennium Development Goal reports, as well as by the international agencies; and the statistical discrepancies among indicator values that are produced or compiled by national, regional and international sources. These issues are of great concern in the international community, particularly within the statistical and reporting community in developing countries. The statistical commissions and other regional statistical bodies (i.e., the Statistical Conference of the Americas-SCA) have formally recognized the existence of these problems and have urged stakeholders to take immediate action to find solutions. Key points include strengthening statistical capacities for data and metadata production, and improving the organization of the statistical information exchange among international agencies and the countries and among international agencies as recommended in 2007 by the Statistical Commission (E/CN.3/2007/13).
The United Nations system as a whole has assigned high priority to these matters, on the understanding that there should also be more transparency in the way that international agencies use imputed data. The Inter-agency Expert Group on Millennium Development Goal Indicators recommended producing detailed explanations of the difference between global and national monitoring and related implications on methods and data presentation, and constructing metadata on population estimates used as denominators to calculate many Millennium Development Goal indicators. The Inter-agency Expert Group has further recommended involving the regional commissions more extensively in reviewing for discrepancies between national and international sources, in assisting organization of data and metadata exchanges between national statistical systems and international agencies, and in improving data-sharing at the international level.
From the regional perspective, responding to the demand of its member countries, the five regional commissions have increasingly taken an active role in strengthening statistical capacities of the Millennium Development Goals in its respective countries and promoting the collaborative work within countries and regions in order to share experiences and learn from each other. The statistical divisions of regional commissions have been coordinating efforts in resolving data gaps and discrepancies between national and international sources. A joint document was presented for discussion at the Inter-Agency Expert Group Meeting on Millennium Development Goal Indicators.
- Improved and increased national and regional Millennium Development Goals statistical production and use, according to both international standards and regional benchmarks, through regional collaborative practices.
- Decreased statistical discrepancies in Millennium Development Goals indicators among national, regional and international sources, improving Millennium Development Goals monitoring capacities and strengthening inter-institutional coordination, within the countries, and between countries and international agencies, both facilitated by the regional statistical bodies
- Strengthened network of Millennium Development Goals statistical and reporting experts and practitioners at the national and regional levels, through increased interchange of experiences, best practices and methodologies.