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ECLAC Presents the CEPALSTAT Portal’s New Interface Linking Regional Statistics and Geospatial Information on Latin America and the Caribbean

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15 October 2021|Press Release

Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN regional commission, led the launch of the revamped portal and stressed the importance of the interoperability of information through open data.


Group photo of the event.
Group photo of the event.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) presented today the new interface of the CEPALSTAT platform, the main gateway to the statistical information on the region’s countries that is collected, systematized and published by ECLAC, which will allow for improving the accessibility of regionally comparable statistics for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Today we are facing complex phenomena that cross borders and become dimensions that we must analyze in an integrated way. That is why, and given that what is not measured does not count, it is imperative to strengthen the generation and integration of information, promote the convergence of statistical and geospatial communities to have more and better measurements that account for the territorial distribution of the dimensions of development and of the combined crises of the pandemic, climate change, economic uncertainty and growing inequality,” Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, affirmed during the launch of the revamped portal.

Participating in the presentation of the platform were Rosemary Kalapurakal, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Coordination Office; Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the United Nations Statistics Division; Emanuele Baldacci, Director of Resources and Innovation of Eurostat; Paloma Merodio, Co-Chair of the Working Group on Geospatial Information and Chair of UN-GGIM: Americas; and Juan Daniel Oviedo, Director General of the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) of Colombia, in his capacity as Chair of the Statistical Conference of the Americas. The event was moderated by Rolando Ocampo, Director of the Statistics Division of ECLAC.

In her remarks, Alicia Bárcena noted that the crisis prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of generating timely and reliable official statistics for monitoring the coronavirus disease, identifying groups in situations of vulnerability and also measuring the impact of confinement and social distancing policies on people’s living conditions, with georeferencing and data disaggregation being key for guiding and targeting the most urgent actions as well as those focused on the future.

“The cataclysm of the pandemic makes it more necessary than ever to redouble efforts to provide evidence regarding our region’s economic, social and environmental situation and evolution,” she stated.

The senior United Nations official specified that, since 2006, ECLAC has been working on improving the online dissemination of the sociodemographic, economic and environmental statistics available for the region.

“This has been a continuous process of updating and implementing innovative solutions for disseminating data in response to the changes in the data environment that pose a challenge to the production and dissemination of timely statistics,” she said.

Bárcena added that “with this step ECLAC is on the forefront of interoperability and open data, through platforms with the SDG Gateway, the COVID-19 Observatory, and now CEPALSTAT, which articulates structured and unstructured data by linking them to the digital repository of documents, which is the institutional memory of our organization’s thinking.”

CEPALSTAT’s new interface represents the renovation and innovation of the existing platform based on the most comprehensive and complete integration of comparable regional sociodemographic, economic and environmental statistics on Latin America and the Caribbean, with geospatial information.

In addition to the relevance of the content that this platform offers to users, the new portal completely revamped its design to provide users with a better experience while searching for available statistics on the region, through improved design, friendlier navigation, and more and better functionalities.

Access to the data banks has been facilitated by interactive “dashboards” that allow for taking a first look at the available statistical information and its metadata, allowing users to make customized queries and downloads in open data formats.

The incorporation of a new Geoportal fully linked to the statistical databases enables building layers of information reflected in the territory and tailored to the user’s specific needs. Users will also be able to integrate various layers of geographical information, both from ECLAC and external sources, which contextualize the statistics and contribute to a broader and more comprehensive geospatial analysis.

In addition, more regional and national, thematic and analytical statistical profiles were incorporated, which allow users to obtain a synoptic statistical view of key issues for the region’s development.

“CEPALSTAT’s renovation continues the line of innovation and updates called for by the United Nations development system reform and to that end, we have developed the region’s knowledge hub starting with the SDG Gateway, which has become an inter-agency platform on the 2030 Agenda that integrates global, regional and national information and connects with the activities of all the UN system’s agencies, funds and programs,” Alicia Bárcena underscored.

“We are confident that the renovation of CEPALSTAT will facilitate access to ECLAC’s statistical information for all our readers and data consumers, allowing them to stay up to date with the main regional figures,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, Rosemary Kalapurakal, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Coordination Office, said that CEPALSTAT “is a fantastic platform for adding, presenting and visualizing data,” and she stressed the importance of timely, quality and disaggregated statistics for helping countries to achieve a sustainable recovery from the pandemic.

Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the United Nations Statistics Division, affirmed that while we are living through a time of data, we need a culture of data. “CEPALSTAT can serve not only as a model for other regions, it can even be a model for us at a global level,” he indicated.

Emanuele Baldacci, Director of Resources and Innovation of Eurostat, emphasized that CEPALSTAT is focused on identifying the key characteristics for maximizing access to data, their usability by putting users in the driver’s seat, and promoting the use of data through interoperable mechanisms.

Paloma Merodio, Co-Chair of the Working Group on Geospatial Information and Chair of UN-GGIM: Americas, stated that CEPALSTAT is not just a portal, it is a very important tool for systematizing all the information produced by countries’ official bodies as well as international agencies.

Finally, Juan Daniel Oviedo, Chair of the Statistical Conference of the Americas of ECLAC, sustained that CEPALSTAT is a success case for Latin America and the Caribbean’s statistical community and demonstrates the role that data governance plays in defining rules and procedures for the collection, interoperability and availability of information.