Authorities from the national statistical offices of Latin America and the Caribbean recognized today the role of official statistics in the development of public policies for mitigating the effects of the health emergency prompted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and in the post-pandemic economic reactivation, on the final day of the Nineteenth Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Statistical Conference of the Americas of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The gathering, which was inaugurated on Tuesday, August 25, drew the participation of 39 delegations from ECLAC’s Member States and 11 associate members.
During the meeting, the countries commended national statistical offices and other agencies producing official statistics for the various actions taken to provide continuity in statistical production during the pandemic, and encouraged them to identify innovations and good practices implemented during this period that can be adopted on a permanent basis to strengthen the efficiency of statistical operations and the quality of official statistics.
Furthermore, they underscored the importance of continuing to make progress on the work of disaggregating data by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability and geographic location, or other characteristics, in accordance with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, so as to leave no one behind.
In the closing ceremony, Juan Daniel Oviedo, Director-General of the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) of Colombia, in his capacity as Chair of SCA-ECLAC, highlighted the recent work of statistical offices to provide information at this time of uncertainty and difficulty.
“We have to exert and evaluate how we are going to develop our institutional capacity to act as data stewards, to be able to ensure data governance systems that facilitate information exchange but that above all enable the information we produce to get to subnational levels, and to citizens,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Rolando Ocampo, Director of ECLAC’s Statistics Division, thanked the participating countries and described the meeting as “very enriching.” He also praised the Chair’s role in ensuring the success of the Nineteenth Executive Committee of the SCA.
“The agreements approved today deeply reflect the meaning and importance of the activity that we have been conducting in the statistical arena in recent months,” he affirmed.
In the meeting’s final resolution, unanimously approved by the countries present, the participants warned about how the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the postponement of, among other things, implementation of the 2020 round of population censuses in several countries of Latin America and especially in the Caribbean, as well as about the growing uncertainties regarding the development of census projects.
In that sense, they underscored the importance for the SCA’s member countries, through each government’s efforts, of providing the financial and human resources needed to guarantee the proper conduct of censuses, which are a source of essential information for public policymaking, as well as an indispensable input for the proper implementation of a large number of statistical operations.
In its resolution, the Executive Committee of the Statistical Conference of the Americas also called upon ECLAC’s Member States to develop metrics that would allow for calculating the achievement of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and it recommended that these metrics be considered within national development plans.
At the same time, the countries welcomed the creation of the Regional Knowledge Platform on the 2030 Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean (SDG Gateway), which was implemented by ECLAC in conjunction with the United Nations agencies, funds and programs in the region and which has the aim of serving as a meeting and reference point for all information related to the SDGs, including activities, informational resources, statistics, regional data, specific analytical instruments and knowledge products developed and made available by the United Nations in response to member countries’ needs.
Finally, the authorities from the region expressed their commitment to addressing the discussions on the production of urban statistics and on the link between statistical production and the challenges of development in transition as part of the SCA’s upcoming activities.
The main mandates of the Statistical Conference of the Americas, a subsidiary body of ECLAC, are to promote the development and improvement of national statistics and their international comparability, as well as international, regional and bilateral cooperation among national statistical offices and international and regional agencies.
The SCA’s Executive Committee is currently presided over by Colombia and made up of Canada, Chile, Grenada, Italy, Jamaica and Mexico.