Statisticians review developmental data

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Some of the delegates attending the SADC regional workshop to improve dialogue on statistics for improved results.

MAPUTO – Close to 50 participants from the SADC region are attending a regional workshop to discuss issues hampering the process of providing data needed to foster development and to insert National Strategies for Development of Statistics (NSDS) into national expansion strategies.

Some of the burning issues under discussions involve strategies on how to strengthen the dialogue between producers and users of statistics and mobilise funding for the implementation of the NSDSs. Other issues include ways on how best to advocate for greater commitment from policy makers and development partners for the development of statistics and how to mainstream and link data into the results agenda. The two-day meeting that started yesterday will also brainstorm how to take into account the prevailing context in the SADC region, in Africa and at the global level, in particular issues linked to the post-2015 agenda. The event is organised by the SADC scretariat and the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21), which is a unique initiative that aims to promote the better use and production of statistics throughout the developing world. Since its establishment in 1999, PARIS21 has successfully developed a worldwide network of statisticians, policy makers, analysts, and development practitioners committed to evidence-based decision-making. Moreover, the event offers an opportunity to SADC countries to improve dialogue on statistics for better development results. PARIS21 secretariat manager, Dr Johannes Jutting said it is the clear wish of the international community to reflect on the post-2015 Development Agenda of the United Natyions, adding that the strengthening of national capacity is a key element of any data revolution.

In May 2013, the United Nations Secretary-General’s high-level panel of eminent persons on the post-2015 development agenda outlined five ‘transformative shifts’ needed to forge a new paradigm for development. To measure progress on these shifts, the high level panel called for a “data revolution” with a new international initiative or a global partnership. The panel belives this will improve the quality, availability and comparability of statistics and information available to citizens, governments, international agencies and civil society organisations and businesses. The panel also called on development stakeholders to take full advantage of new technology, crowding and imp[roved connectivity as a means of empowering people with information on the progress towards targets.

It also called on appropriate actors to establish user-friendly ways of making relevant data accessible to citizens and institutions in line with emerging standards for open data. However, during that meeting some countries raised the concern that donor funding is channelled more to social data gathering, such education and health at the expense of economic data. Dr Jutting urged national statistics agencies to produce quality and reflective data, which can be used by policy makers and ultimately benefit local people. Moreover, a statistician of the SADC secretariat, Dr Ackim Jere, highlighted the need to continue to build robust national statistical systems in the member states to support the SADC regional development agenda.

“For this reason among others, the SADC secretariat will continue to assist member states where possible to improve their national statistics systems through the mobilisation of requisite resources, technical assistance support and other measures in collaboration with strategic partners,” Jere stressed. The meeting brought together senior statisticians, policy makers and various users of statistics from the SADC region Namibia included with the purpose to support the development of statistics by reinforcing the dialogue of the main stakeholders involved in statistical development policies in the region. Specifically the workshop is also expected to answer the question on how to adapt the statistical system to achieve better development results.

By Albertina Nakale

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