Statistics: a cross-cutting development issue for the Pacific

Tuesday 11 March 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Noumea, New Caledonia –

According to H.E. Ambassador Robert G. Aisi, permanent representative of Papua New Guinea at the United Nations and chair of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) group, the Pacific embraces the call to ‘put statistics at the heart of the debate’ by including a standalone cross-cutting goal focusing on statistics in the Sustainable Development Goals, which are to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when they wrap up in 2015.

The ambassador made this comment while addressing the 45th session of the UN Statistical Commission, which discussed the post-2015 development agenda.

The MDGs have highlighted the need for strong statistical development in the region by calling attention to the need for monitoring to determine what has been accomplished and what remains to be done.

With assistance from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Statistics for Development Division (SDD), Pacific Island countries and territories have made great strides in improving statistics services in the region. ‘In 2000, only 3 of 15 Pacific Island countries were able to provide relevant statistics on poverty; by 2010, 14 out of 15 countries were able to do so; and by the middle of this year, 2014, we expect 9 countries to have 2 or 3 data points, enabling assessments of poverty and hardship over time,’ noted Ambassador Aisi.


He explained that these and many other statistics are published in annual regional MDG tracking reports produced by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and he noted the region’s disappointment that these data were often not referenced in global MDG tracking reports.


In order to be useful, statistics must be dependably accurate. To ensure Pacific Island statistics are accurate, SPC has


Good statistics are also needed by policy-makers and analysts, who depend on having access to timely and accurate demographic, economic and social indicators. A major focus of SPC’s work in statistics is to strengthen the capacity of national statistical systems and social and economic planning agencies to supply the data to support evidence-based decision- and policy-making. SPC has also worked with national statistics offices to build strong data collection systems to ensure that national data are not only plentiful but accurate.

For Gerald Haberkorn, Director of the Statistics for Development Division , “Ambassador Aisi’s  supporting comments, delivered on behalf of all 12 Pacific Island countries members of the United Nations,  could not have come at a better time, with him being a co-chair of the Open working group that looks at key straregic development focus areas in the post 2015 post Development Agenda,  and the 3rd SIDS Forum in Apia around the corner”.

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