Asia-Pacific countries take collective action to advance official statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Senior government statisticians from Asia and the Pacific are meeting in Bangkok this week to agree on a collective vision and framework for multi-stakeholder action to advance official statistics in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The fifth session of the Committee on Statistics, convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), seeks to reach consensus on a comprehensive framework to strengthen the capacity of ESCAP member States to effectively produce and use statistics for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The results of the deliberations are expected to form an integral part of the regional roadmap for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, which member States earlier this year agreed to develop.

Quality data is critical for implementing the new global Agenda and ensuring that no one is left behind. United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Dr Shamshad Akhtar, in opening the Committee session this morning, emphasized the importance of statistics as a means of implementation and underlined the value of regional collaboration to address capacity and methodological challenges: “The requirements of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development go well beyond the production and dissemination of a list of indicators for monitoring the SDGs. Eighty-eight of the global SDG indicators lack methodological guidelines or standards. Resolving these gaps in guidelines and standards will require statistical communities within our region and beyond to pool ideas, experiences and resources to make innovative breakthroughs.”

During the week, the Committee and development partners will discuss how to realize their collective vision through regional initiatives on economic statistics, population and social statistics, civil registration and vital statistics, disaster-related statistics, agricultural and rural statistics. The Committee will also consider embarking on new areas of collaboration on integrated statistics and innovation to address the added need for multi-sector analysis emanating from the 2030 Agenda.

Other events during the week include the twelfth session of the Governing Council for the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP) as well as a series of side-events on SDGs statistics organized by ESCAP and partner organizations focusing on gender statistics, disaster statistics, and tools for institutional strengthening of national statistical systems. In addition, ESCAP will present a new SDG statistical database of 350 indicators, which provides a comprehensive resource on SDGs and other development data for the region.