(August 14, 2014) The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, called on the region's countries to strengthen their statistical institutions to contribute to the global debate on the post-2015 development agenda with more and better information regarding the inequality gaps that remain to be closed.
"This global agenda will require more statistical information that is pertinent and high quality. Inequalities must be measured and the existing gaps in social, economic and environmental matters must be evaluated. To achieve that, it is necessary for States to recognize the importance of strengthening the statistical institutions in each country," the senior United Nations official said in Santiago, Chile, this Tuesday, August 12, during the inauguration of the Thirteenth Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Statistical Conference of the Americas (SCA), a subsidiary body of ECLAC.
According to the Executive Secretary, the post-2015 agenda constitutes a unique opportunity to design a monitoring framework based on robust statistics and indicators that can demonstrate the progress made, and ECLAC's subsidiary bodies can serve as the intergovernmental forums for regularly reviewing and reporting on this-in particular, the Statistical Conference of the Americas.
Bárcena also indicated that the gaps between Latin America and the Caribbean and other regions of the world appear in areas such as access to financing, trade or technology, and that reliable and up-to-date data is needed to tackle them successfully. These are some of the challenges that Latin American and Caribbean countries must address in their efforts to produce comparable statistics, both at a national and regional level.
The meeting will conclude today, August 14, and participants include representatives from national statistics institutes as well as international organizations.
The Executive Director of Ecuador's National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC), José Rosero, explained that the SCA's Executive Committee, which he currently presides, has the task of forging a second strategic plan to replace the existing one-which covers the period 2006 to 2015-and which should be voted upon at the SCA's eighth meeting, which will take place next year.
Rosero said that "its central themes will surely include the strengthening of statistics institutes and their ability to serve as coordinators of the national statistical system," as well as aspects related to monitoring the post-2015 agenda.
Meanwhile, Pascual Gerstenfeld, Director of the Statistics Division at ECLAC, encouraged participants to strengthen cooperation mechanisms like the SCA, and warned that the growing amount of information available today forces statisticians to be very creative and selective so they do not lose sight of their set objectives.
During the three days of meetings, participants will analyze the progress made by the SCA's fourteen working groups and two task forces, which are dedicated to matters such as follow-up on the MDGs, institutional strengthening, household surveys, censuses and labor market indicators, among other issues.
The meeting also includes a seminar on strategies to take advantage of administrative records for statistical purposes. In that regard, José Rosero highlighted the usefulness of population, housing, business or employment records available in public entities to replace or complement traditional sources of information coming from censuses and surveys.
The Executive Committee's previous meeting took place in April 2013 in the city of Pucón, in southern Chile, while the Statistical Conference of the Americas held its seventh meeting last November at ECLAC's headquarters in Santiago, Chile.
The Executive Committee supports the Conference in carrying out its mandates and activities, which are oriented towards spurring progress in the region's statistical policies and activities. In addition to Ecuador, the Executive Committee members currently include Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Spain and Venezuela.
The Conference itself groups all of the countries in the Americas and also includes some States from outside the region.