Having timely, independent and quality statistical information is an essential condition for States to be able to perform their unique role in the design and implementation of public policy in light of the 2030 Agenda, affirmed Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), today during the inauguration of the Ninth Meeting of the Statistical Conference of the Americas being held in the city of Aguascalientes, Mexico.
A total of 39 delegations are participating in the meeting, the main forum for discussing the development of statistics in the region, which will take place through November 16 at the site of Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).
The Conference was inaugurated by Alicia Bárcena; Julio A. Santaella, President of INEGI; and Mario Palma, Vice President of INEGI, in his capacity as President of the Executive Committee of the Statistical Conference of the Americas.
During her opening remarks, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary said the Conference “is a conducive, timely and pertinent mechanism for addressing the challenges arising from the 2030 Agenda process and the design and calculation of the necessary indicators for its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), since significant work is required to close the gaps in capacities across the countries of the region, with the objective of ‘leaving no one behind.’”
Bárcena also underscored that “one of the most novel aspects of the IX Conference is the convergence between the statistics community and that of geography and geomatics to advance toward a regional perspective that integrates information related to the census, demographics and statistics with territorial data.”
The senior United Nations official added that, to move forward toward a model of sustainable development with equality at its center in the medium and long term, as promoted by ECLAC, “it is essential that there be statistical instruments, methodologies and indicators capable of accounting for the progress and setbacks in implementation and the feedback loop among evidence-based policies.”
She underlined that the quality of statistics is as important as their pertinence, and affirmed that the strengthening of official statistics in the countries of the region is not only the responsibility of national statistics offices, but of society as a whole, and especially the State.
Alicia Bárcena reaffirmed ECLAC’s commitment to the Conference “as the mechanism that countries have chosen to coordinate their efforts and cooperation in pursuit of more and better statistics.”
Along these lines, she emphasized the Proposal on a Regional Framework of Indicators for Monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America and the Caribbean that ECLAC will present to the countries, which aims to contribute to stimulating and sustaining the inter-governmental dialogue over the coming months in order to achieve a consensus among the Conference member countries with regard to a regional framework of indicators for monitoring the SDGs.
“We want the proposal, linked to the global framework, to go beyond it and address the core and differential characteristics of the Latin American and Caribbean region in its sociodemographic, economic and environmental dimensions,” she said.
The President of INEGI, Julio A. Santaella, likewise referred to the challenges faced by official statistics, highlighting the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and competition in the information industry.
“These challenges force us to transform ourselves and work together as an international statistical community, so we are certain that these three days of work will be a watershed in statistical development in the region,” he said.
The President of the Executive Committee of the Statistical Conference of the Americas, Mario Palma, called for maintaining an adequate standard of quality.
“It is the task of national statistics offices and the bodies that support them to see that the fundamental principles of official statistics are complied with. Only in this way will we be able to ensure that the data generated are of the necessary quality to inform, and not misinform, the societies we serve,” he said.
He added that the use of technology is one of the challenges of national statistics systems that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean must take on and overcome.
The working agenda for the Conference includes the review of the progress made by the SCA’s Biannual Program of Regional and International Cooperation Activities 2016-2017, as part of its 2015-2025 Strategic Plan that seeks to promote the strengthening of the role played by National Statistics Offices (NSO) as coordinators of national information systems, assurance of quality and timeliness in statistical information, as well as the development of official statistics in the region.
The Statistical Conference of the Americas is a subsidiary body of ECLAC, whose principal mandates are the promotion of the development and improvement of national statistics and their international comparability, as well as international, regional and bilateral cooperation among national offices and international and regional organizations.