The International Comparison Program (ICP) is a global statistical project, with more than 50 years of existence that throughout its history has involved more and more countries, reaching 176 economies in 2017.
The objective of this program is to produce purchasing power parities (PPP) in order to make international comparisons of gross domestic product and its components in real terms, expressed in the same monetary unit and adjusted for the different price levels in the economies. This makes comparable the macroeconomic indicators of the different economies published by the statistics offices derived from national accounts statistics in their local currency units.
The results of the ICP are important for policymakers at both the national and regional levels in areas as diverse as the allocation of resources for production or the targeting of plans to address the well-being of the population.
In addition, PPPs have been used in the formulation of both the Millennium Development Goals established in 2000 and the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, as well as in the development of indicators to measure poverty and other SDG indicators such as income inequality, spending on education and health, and all those indicators measured in relation to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
At the regional level, participation in the ICP facilitates closer ties between the technicians who prepare national accounts and price indexes in different countries; it contributes to the necessary harmonization of methods and procedures and helps to expand the coverage and quality of these statistics.
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has actively participated in the ICP since 2005 and has played the role of regional coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean in the 2011 and 2017 rounds. Its role has been to implement the program's guidelines at the level of participating countries, which reached 36 economies in the region in the last round. In addition, ECLAC is in charge of producing and disseminating the results of the Programme at the regional level.
In the 47th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission, held in March 2016, it was decided to institute the ICP as a permanent element of the global statistical work program.
The governance of the ICP is under the United Nations Statistical Commission which constitutes the ICP Board of Directors.
The World Bank is the implementing agency at the global level, called the Global Office (GO), and is responsible for coordinating and implementing the programme at the global level, producing the methodological guidelines, processing the information and disseminating the results obtained.
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is the regional implementation office for Latin America and the Caribbean and its function is to implement the program guidelines at the level of the participating countries, process the information compiled by the countries, prepare the regional PPAs and transmit this information to the Global Office. It is also responsible for producing and disseminating the results to the participating economies and at the regional level.
The work guidelines, as well as the information requirements, flow from the GO to the regional implementation offices from where they are transmitted to the countries through the national focal points or managers designated by their institutions.
Governance chart oh the International Comparison Program (ICP)
International Comparison Program: 2017 round for Latin America and the Caribbean. Methodology and main results (March 2021)
Programa de Comparación Internacional - Ronda 2017 y principales resultados para América Latina y el Caribe
Resultados del Programa de Comparación Internacional (PCI) 2011 para América Latina Y El Caribe
Programa de Comparación Internacional Ronda 2011: documento metodológico