(5 July 2012) Member countries of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) agreed on Wednesday, in Quito, Ecuador, to establish a working group on public security and justice statistics, after the closure of the Eleventh Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Statistical Conference of the Americas (SCA) of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The meeting concluded with the approval of the agreements, including the purpose to coordinate efforts for generating and developing statistical information on public security and justice among the countries in the region, as well as standardizing international projects and terms of reference on these issues.
The closure of the meeting was led by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC and Byron Villacis, Director of the National Statistics Institute of Ecuador (INEC). Bárcena highlighted the importance of improving public security figures. "This is one of the population's major concerns in most of the region and a reason why efforts being made in some countries for generating and systematizing quantitative evidence of these phenomena are highly significant," she stated.
She also stressed the importance of measuring employment, unemployment and underemployment issues that were, together with public security, the main topic of two substantial seminars held in parallel with the Eleventh Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Statistical Conference of the Americas.
After three days of discussions, the participating delegates approved the actions taken by SCA-ECLAC and defined their agenda for the biennium 2012-2013.
Among the agreed initiatives, progress made in various sectors for standardizing statistics with the purpose of establishing equivalent and comparable methodologies can be highlighted. When it comes to gender statistics, for instance, the calculation of a satellite account of households' unpaid work, as well as the production of statistics on violence and discrimination against women and their labour situation in rural areas are encouraged.
Likewise, country representatives reaffirmed the need to move forward on measuring poverty through income and from a multidimensional perspective, as well as on fostering the region's participation for improving agricultural and rural statistics, and advancing on producing a diagnose that measures employment, unemployment, underemployment and decent work.
"Statistical systems in Latin American and Caribbean countries play a central role. Today, they face challenges regarding sectors and topics, data quality, production opportunities and dissemination," declared Alicia Bárcena.
"Nonetheless, we must acknowledge we still have a long way to go in terms of how the official statistics of the region fulfill information demands. In some countries, there have been difficulties regarding financial or human resources, and there is still an insufficient understanding of their relevance to public management and planning," added ECLAC's Executive Secretary.
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