Representatives of national statistics offices are meeting this week at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to review the framework of indicators for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to analyse progress with data generation and comparability. This series of meetings is taking place on the occasion of the sixteenth meeting of the Executive Committee of the Statistical Conference of the Americas, which was inaugurated today.
The opening session of the meeting of this intergovernmental subsidiary body of ECLAC was addressed by Alicia Bárcena, the Regional Commission’s Executive Secretary; Mario Palma, Vice President of Mexico’s National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI), speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Statistical Conference of the Americas Executive Committee; and Pascual Gerstenfeld, Director of the ECLAC Statistics Division.
In her remarks, Alicia Bárcena called for the strengthening of national statistics systems and offices and defended their role in generating data to allow the implementation of evidence-based policies, in accordance with the principle of “what’s not counted doesn’t count”. “The Statistical Conference of the Americas is a vital platform for monitoring progress with the 2030 Agenda,” she said.
In turn, Mario Palma, the Chair of the SCA Executive Committee, defended the methodological work carried out by national statistics offices and their independence and autonomy, and he underscored the importance of including geospatial data in their work. Similarly, Pascual Gerstenfeld highlighted the role of statistics as a key navigation tool for pursuing the development proposed by the 2030 Agenda.
Latin America and the Caribbean is, Alicia Bárcena noted, the first region to have a Statistical Coordination Group for the 2030 Agenda, which has been set up within the SCA and comprises the region’s countries that are also members of the IAEG-SDGs (Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico) and the HLG-PCCB (Argentina, Bahamas, Ecuador, El Salvador and Saint Lucia).
The Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG) and the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB) both work under the aegis of the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC).
Since the 2030 Agenda requires measuring a set of indicators that were defined at the global level but that reflect regional and national realities, the work of those two groups involves working to propose and review calculation methods, defining reporting mechanisms that can cover the national level and be scaled up to the regional and global levels, and proposing a plan of action for the implementation of the indicator framework in the short and medium terms.
In turn, the Statistical Conference of the Americas operates through a number of working groups dedicated to specific topics, the goals of which include promoting the development and improvement of national statistics and their international comparability, assisting the institutional strengthening of national statistics systems and offices, and promoting cooperation among national statistics offices and international and regional organizations.
At present, the SCA Executive Committee comprises Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Spain and Uruguay. This meeting, which is to continue until Thursday, 6 April, will review the Conference’s activities in following up on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will examine the progress made by its various working groups with the 2016-2017 biennial programme of activities.
The event will also include, on 5 April, the first meeting between representatives of the SCA member countries and members of the Regional Committee for the Americas of the United Nations Initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM Americas). Prior to the meeting of the SCA, a regional seminar on the implementation of indicators for the SDGs also took place.