Committee on Coordination
Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
Processing System (of the United States
Bureau of the Census)
for Economic Cooperation and Development
||System of National
of Statistical Experts (tenth session)
1. Since the ninth session of the Committee
on Statistics, held at Bangkok in November/
December 1994, the secretariat has been reporting
on the implementation of the recommendations
of the Committee. These reports have been
made in principle every six months to the Bureau
of the Committee. Over the past two years,
the reports have also been circulated to all
national statistical offices after incorporating
the Bureau's comments. The most recent
report was circulated on 1 July 1998.
2. The Committee at its tenth session, held
at Bangkok in November 1996, decided that the
provisional agenda for its eleventh session
should include as item 3 "Implementation of
recommendations of the Committee at its ninth
and tenth sessions". The present document
therefore builds on the previous half-yearly
reports and provides the status of implementation
up to 30 September 1998. In the regular
half-yearly reports, it has been decided that
certain recommendations should be dropped, either
because action has been completed (denoted by
*) or because the item has been overtaken by
events or for other reasons could not be pursued
(**), or because it was considered to be adequately
covered by another item at a subsequent Committee
session (***). For the present document,
however, it was felt appropriate to provide
the Committee with a comprehensive report, although
the asterisks have been retained against the
relevant recommendations. Of the 47 recommendations
made by the Committee at its ninth and tenth
sessions, action on 12 recommendations is considered
to have been completed, 2 are no longer being
pursued and 2 ninth session recommendations
are considered to be covered by similar items
at the tenth session.
3. It is expected that national statistical
offices will be familiar by now with the layout
of the report, with the left column giving the
paragraph numbers of the Committee session reports,
and the right column providing information on
the status of implementation.
4. The Committee's views are sought on
the format of the document and on the reporting
process, as well as on the status of implementation
of the recommendations, bearing in mind that
many of the topics covered will be discussed
under various other items of the Committee's
agenda. From the standpoint of the secretariat,
the reporting exercise, although fairly time-consuming,
does provide a useful periodic reminder of the
desired direction of the Committee's work; it
also gives an opportunity to inform national
statistical offices in a structured way of the
accomplishments achieved and the constraints
5. It will be noted that many of the Committee's
recommendations are of a long-term or continuing
nature. Assuming the exercise continues,
therefore, there may be some danger of new recommendations
being piled on top of old until the whole list
becomes overly long and unwieldy. At the
same time, the secretariat's pursuit of those
recommendations may become unavoidably diffuse.
The Committee may therefore wish to consider
whether outstanding recommendations of a certain
vintage, perhaps dating back two or three sessions,
i.e., four to six years, should be examined
and either revalidated, reformulated or dropped.
A. NINTH SESSION
|*1. The Committee on Statistics
recommended to the Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and the Pacific the
adoption of a resolution on the statute
of the Statistical Institute for Asia
and the Pacific (SIAP).
||1. The Commission
adopted resolution 51/1 on 29 April 1995,
with minor textual changes to the statute.
Also on 29 April, the first Governing Board
of the Institute was elected, which held
its first session in March 1996, second
session in November 1996, and third session
in October 1997. The fourth session
is scheduled for 18 to 20 November 199
|2. The period
1995-1999 should be declared the quinquennium
for improving civil registration and vital
statistics in the region.
|| 2. The Commission
at its fifty-first session duly declared
1995-1999 the quinquennium for improving
civil registration and vital statistics
in the region. No progress could be
made on secretariat activities in support
of this declaration owing to the lack of
extrabudgetary funding. However, at
the tenth session of the Working Group of
Statistical Experts, countries were reminded
of the need for their focused attention
to this important area. The secretariat
is planning to gather information from countries
to assess progress made.
| **3. UNFPA
should be requested to create a post of
sampling and household surveys adviser for
the Bangkok and Kathmandu Country Support
Teams to meet the growing need for technical
assistance in those fields.
||3. The Commission
made that request to UNFPA. However,
it was not accepted by the UNFPA-organized
Inter-agency Task Force on Technical Support
Services, which met in New York in May 1995
to discuss the composition of the Country
and associate members should be urged to
increase their cash contributions to SIAP
|| 4. This
appeal has been reiterated at every session
of the Commission since 1995, as well at
the tenth session of the Committee.
Several countries have already increased
their contributions. (See also tenth
|5. The Committee
stressed the importance of ESIS, currently
under development in the secretariat.
It expressed concern that in view of the
rapid pace with which information technology
was changing, the benefits from ESIS might
be lost if development was not fast enough.
In that regard the Committee noted that
the resource base of the secretariat urgently
required strengthening, especially in the
further development and maintenance of ESIS.
|| 5. The bringing
into operation of ESIS has continued
to be hampered by similar, if not more severe,
human resource constraints as the secretariat
faced prior to the completion of the core
system in May 1996. Nevertheless,
with the programme officer (public sector
computerization) diverting some of his time
for ESIS development, progress has been
made in data upload, which is a precondition
for thorough testing of the system.
Data upload (conversion) programmes for
large external data sets were developed
by an external consultant during the first
quarter of 1996. To achieve acceptable
upload speed, the programs were revised
substantially from June to August 1997.
Moreover, in September 1996, the hard disk
capacity of the host computer had been increased
as the initial estimate proved too small.
With respect to the Committee's concern
at the pace of technological evolution,
a consultant analysed the performance aspects
of ESIS and planned the migration from Windows
3.1/PowerBuilder 3.0 to 32-bit Windows/
PowerBuilder and from Sybase 4.9 to Sybase
11, which, however, has yet to be implemented.
Now that large volumes of data are for the
first time available in the database, the
secretariat expects to test the system thoroughly
to identify performance bottlenecks and
remaining bugs. The completion of the testing
and bringing the system into full operation
will depend on the assumption of duties
of the Statistical Database Administrator
and the Chief of the Statistical Information
Services Section (the latter has recently
been appointed). (See also tenth session,
| 6. The
Committee expressed concern
at the problems faced
by the secretariat in the timely
distribution of its statistical publications
generally, and particularly at the lack
of control over the pricing and distribution
of sales copies. The Committee, therefore,
suggested exploring the use of commercial
channels in the sale and distribution of
is little progress to report to date.
Attempts had been made to take up the timely
distribution and pricing issues with Headquarters
in New York, but no concrete results emerged.
The secretariat has recently reactivated
its Publications Committee. The issues
will be presented for consideration and
advice in due course.
| *7. The
Committee decided that it would consider
reviewing its terms of reference again at
its tenth session in 1996 on the basis of
a report by the secretariat with a view
to making appropriate recommendations to
||7. The Committee
had extensive discussions on its terms of
reference at its tenth session and produced
a recommended text. (See also tenth
|8. The Committee
recommended that the Working Group of Statistical
Experts should be actively involved in assisting
the Committee to cope with the expansion
of its work.
|| 8. The implementation
of this recommen-dation was
actively pursued at the
ninth session of the Working Group of Statistical
Experts, held in January 1996. The
matter has become more pressing with the
reduction in duration of the Committee sessions.
It was discussed further at
the Bureau meeting on
10 November 1997 when roles were delineated
for the Committee, the
Working Group and the
Bureau, as well as
at the tenth session of
the Working Group. (See
also tenth session, 7).
| *9. The
Committee agreed to constitute the Bureau
and agreed on its provisional terms of reference.
|| 9. The Bureau
approach was endorsed by the Commission,
as part of the terms of reference of the
|10. The Committee
stressed the importance of implementing
as promptly as possible the 1993 SNA.
|| 10. The
secretariat has been actively promoting
the implementation of the 1993 SNA through
advisory services and meetings. The
OECD/ESCAP meeting on The 1993 SNA, Five
Years On was held from 4 to 8 May 1998 with
73 participants from member countries of
OECD and ESCAP. Countries in the region
have expressed their appreciation of the
meeting, in particular, the sharing of the
experience of the countries on the practical
implementation of various topics in the
1993 SNA. Countries not represented
at the meeting can view the papers presented
in the meeting through the Internet (www.oecd.org/stad/
escap98). The Netherlands-funded workshop
on the 1993 SNA which was originally scheduled
to be held at Jakarta in March 1998 has
been rescheduled to be held at Bangkok from
12 to 23 October 1998. The UNSD has
provided supplementary funds
to the workshop which
has been renamed the
First Workshop on the Implementation
of the 1993 SNA. About 65 participants
are expected to attend. Collaboration
with the Asian Development Bank on the improvement
of the national accounts is ongoing in Bangladesh,
Bhutan, Maldives and the Philippines.
secretariat should provide the services
of an adviser on investment statistics and
economic growth modelling
|| 11. The
secretariat felt that advisory services
in these fields might be premature, and
had instead designed a project proposal
for an expert group meeting on foreign direct
investment statistics. The project
proposal, which was approved by the ESCAP
Project Review Committee, unfortunately
did not attract financial support.
The activity was not listed as a 1998/99
priority at the tenth session of the Committee.
| 12. The
secretariat should provide the member countries
with information on available statistical
software packages developed by fellow institutions,
and on the extent of use of information
technology in data collection and coding.
|| 12. Some
information was made available during the
Committee session; there was a presentation
of IMPS during the WGSE in November 1997.
The secretariat distributes information
from time to time. Under the project
on application of new technology to population
data, a homepage is planned for the sharing
of some additional information.
respect to computerization in the public
sector, the Committee requested the secretariat
to undertake activities to create greater
awareness of the role of information technology
among middle and high-level management,
including senior-level finance officials
in the public sector.
|| 13. The
secretariat has identified
funding for the seminar on information technology
management for senior decision makers.
The timing, however, has had to be postponed
to 1999. A subsection on public sector
computerization is maintained at the Division's
Web site, providing hyperlinks to national,
regional and international sites related
to the use of IT in the public sector.
The year 2000 problem was featured prominently
in WGSE(10), and in the December 1997 and
June 1998 issues of the Government Computerization
Newsletter, as well as at the Web site.
SIAP and ESCAP jointly organized a Y2K workshop
for NSOs in June 1998. The Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
at its fifty-fourth session was also alerted
to the Y2K problem, and articles were subsequently
carried by a number of newspapers in the
secretariat should draw up appropriate guidelines
to promote national information technology
development and facilitate the management
of technological development in the public
|| 14. At least
three guidelines on the application of information
technology will be developed under the project
on application of new technology in population
data collection, processing, dissemination
and presentation. The applicability
of such guidelines will be tested at a regional
training workshop in 1999. A seminar
on IT management for senior decision makers
will be organized in mid-1999. (See 13 above).
| 15. The
Committee called for greater use of electronic
channels in the acquisition and provision
of data and information both at the national
and international levels, but urged the
secretariat and training institutions not
to ignore the needs of the smaller developing
countries for appropriate tools and basic
training in the use of computers.
is a provision in ESIS for data entry in
electronic form. The secretariat will
undertake studies and make preparations
for data entry through electronic media.
It is expected that there will be active
dialogue with the national statistical organizations
concerned to work out details on transmission
of data, including the types, subject-matter
and data entry format. The secretariat
will continue issuing hard copy publications.
| ***16. The
Committee concurred with the format of the
experimental integrated presentation of
the work of ESCAP and SIAP. It suggested
that the objectives and priority of each
category of activities should also be presented.
It also felt that the presentation would
facilitate coordination efforts among agencies
as well as minimize duplication of activities,
and invited other organizations as appropriate
to supply relevant information.
||16. The secretariat's
experience in the matter was discussed at
the meeting of the Bureau in January 1996.
The secretariat wrote to 28 agencies requesting
their participation in the integrated work
programme presentation exercise, and received
responses from 11 agencies. Document
E/ESCAP/STAT.10/11/ Add.1 was prepared for
the tenth session of the Committee, incorporating
those responses. A similar document
E/ESCAP/STAT.11/16 is being prepared for
the eleventh session of the Committee.
(See also tenth session, 24).
| *17. The
Committee endorsed the draft programme of
work proposed for 1996-1997, on the understanding
that the secretariat would take into account
the suggestions made during the current
session, including those related to information
17. The Commission at its fifty-first
session endorsed the programme of work
for 1996-1997. A number of programme
changes were introduced by the secretariat
in response to the economy measures and
other requirements introduced in the organization.
Those changes were endorsed by the Commission
at its fifty-second session in April 1996.
Committee recommended that a meeting of
the Working Group of Statistical Experts
should be convened around November 1995.
|| 18. The
ninth session of the Working Group of Statistical
Experts was held. However, it had
to be postponed to new dates (30 January
to 2 February 1996) because of the implementation
of special measures relating to the financial
situation of the United Nations.
|25. The Committee
discussed the utilization of advisory services
under the UNFPA TSS/CST system, and urged
inter alia that UNFPA should move towards
the support of common facilities for capacity-building,
such as SIAP.
|| 25. The
position of the Committee was made known
to the Statistical Commission at its twenty-eighth
session in February/March 1995. The
proposal of support for SIAP from UNFPA
was taken up by the Executive Secretary
of ESCAP in a letter, but no concrete results
emerged. However, a project proposal
from SIAP is now under consideration by
|34. The Committee
noted that the resources available to the
statistics subprogramme of ESCAP were not
sufficient to discharge additional
responsibilities arising from the Statistical
Commission's recommendations as well as
the legislative action at the regional level.
The need to allocate existing resources
adequately and seek a greater share of resources
available within ESCAP or within the international
statistical community was emphasized, and
the Committee also recognized the desirability
of supplementing the secretariat's resources
from bilateral sources.
|| 34. In view
of the Secretary-General's zero-growth policy,
and indeed subsequent cuts in certain areas
to comply with directives from the General
Assembly, it was not possible to request
additional regular budget resources for
the Statistics subprogramme for the bienniums
1996-1997 and 1998-1999. However,
the secretariat annually draws up a number
of project proposals designed to assist
in implementing the work programme, which
are put to various bilateral donors.
In 1997 the secretariat asked for governments'
opinions on resource allocations.
During that exercise "statistics" was identified
as one of the areas which needed additional
resources. The Commission at its fifty-fourth
session also expressed the view that the
work of the secretariat in statistics deserved
additional resources. Effective July
1998, the Executive Secretary redeployed
a post from a non-substantive area to the
Statistics Division, increasing the number
of Professional posts to nine.
was noted that
improvements in national capabilities
could be hastened by sharing
information on statistical developments
among the member countries through journals
and other printed materials. The secretariat
was requested to encourage the practice
among the member countries.
|| 50. The
quarterly Statistical Newsletter had been
utilized to the extent possible to disseminate
relevant material. However, owing
to resource constraints it was not always
possible to release the newsletter on a
timely basis nor to maintain the past standards
of coverage of material. The technical
publications of the Statistics Division
also play a role in that regard. In
its meeting in November 1997, the Bureau
strongly recommended that priority should
be given to the timely production of the
Newsletter, and additional efforts have
been made in that regard.
|71. The Committee
commended the impressive quality of the
contributed country papers, and requested
the secretariat to preserve the papers in
a collection in an effort to build up a
historical account of statistical development
in the region.
|| 71. The
country papers have been preserved in the
secretariat's statistical reference collection
since 1994. The unit has made some
progress in rationalizing the secretariat's
collection of statistical documentation,
but suffered from a lack of suitable physical
arrangements and of experienced and trained
staff. One consultancy aimed at ameliorating
the situation had to be cancelled owing
to the implementation of special measures,
but another has recently been completed.
Beginning with the tenth session of the
Committee, the country papers received in
electronic form are being included in the
World Wide Web pages of the Statistics Division,
which are available to outside readers at
|*1. The Committee on Statistics
recommends to the Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific the adoption of
the following terms of reference of the
TERMS OF REFERENCE OF THE COMMITTEE
The Committee on Statistics, in
acting as the focus of regional statistical
development, shall perform the following
- Review and analyse
progress in the development of statistics
in the region.
in the strengthening of the statistical
infrastructure in the countries
of the region, promote
of the quality
of statistics, the international comparability
of data and the appropriate application
of new techniques, and arrange for the
exchange of information on and experiences
in statistical work and methods among
the countries. [The text continues
as appearing in document E/ESCAP/1061,
but to save space is not reproduced
here. The text adopted by the
Commission was transmitted to NSOs on
7 May 1997.]
|1. The terms of reference
recommended by the Committee appeared in
Commission document E/ESCAP/1061.
In recommending them, the Committee also
authorized the secretariat, in consultation
with the Bureau, to make any technical and
editorial changes as might be necessitated
by the outcomes of the ongoing reviews
of the conference structure
and work programme of the Commission.
Following the Regional Preparatory Meeting
on the Review of the Conference Structure
of the Commission, held from 24 to 28 February
1997, and again
of the Advisory Committee of Permanent Representatives
and Other Representatives Designated by
Members of the Commission, the secretariat
circulated suggested changes to the terms
of reference to Bureau members for comments.
The changes did not appear to affect the
essence of the text agreed on by the Committee.
The amended text was incorporated into Commission
resolution 53/1 adopted on 30 April 1997,
extracts from which have been sent to all
national statistical offices (NSOs).
| *2. The Committee
adopted the following terms of reference
for its Bureau:
- To assist the
Committee in overseeing the activities
of the secretariat during the inter-sessional
period in implementing the objectives
and decisions of the Committee.
- To review presentations
from the secretariat of the decisions
and resolutions of the Economic and
Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific and of the
Statistical Commission, and to highlight
issues of particular importance to the
ESCAP region for the consideration of
the Committee together with appropriate
- To review the
provisional agenda for the meetings
of the Committee as prepared by the
secretariat and provide guidance to
the secretariat regarding the scope
of the documentation for the meetings
of the Committee.
- To guide the
secretariat as necessary in the coordination
of statistical activities in the region
through such means as the integrated
presentation of programmes of work to
- To represent
the Committee, through its chairperson
or such other Bureau member as may be
designated in the event of the chairperson's
inability to attend, at meetings for
which invitations might be received
and which the Bureau considers of relevance
and importance to the Committee, in
particular the United Nations
Statistical Commission and
Group on International Statistical
Programmes and Coordination.
- To take up any
other matter as may be assigned by the
|2. The Chairperson represented
the Committee at the twenty-ninth session
of the United Nations Statistical Commission,
held in New York from 11 to 14 February
1997, the third session of the SIAP Governing
Board, in Tokyo from 15 to 17 October 1997,
and the nineteenth session of the Working
Group on International Statistical Programmes
and Coordination, in New York from 10 to
13 February 1998. The secretariat
has been in contact with Bureau members
on several occasions, most recently in connection
with the provisional agenda, documentation
and other arrangements for the eleventh
session of the Committee.
| *3. The Committee decided
that the Bureau should comprise six members,
and it set the term of office at four years,
with three members retiring every two years.
It took other decisions on necessary transitional
measures, the nature and geographical distribution
of representation on the Bureau, and financial
arrangements for Bureau meetings.
||3. Because of financial constraints,
the secretariat had to utilize the fall-back
arrangements prescribed by the Committee
for attendance of Bureau members at the
tenth session of the Working Group of Statistical
Experts. Finance could be secured
only for the participation of Bureau members
from Bangladesh, Fiji, Mongolia and the
|4. The Committee asked the
secretariat to improve its reporting on
emerging trends and topics in international
statistical standardization and methodological
|| 4. The secretariat has obtained
from the United Nations Statistics Division
and distributed to NSOs whatever information
was available on the planned meetings, agendas
and outcomes of the various "city groups"
that have been established to advance statistical
work in several areas. Efforts are
continuing to regularize this process.
The secretariat has also alerted NSOs to
the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS)
formulated by the IMF, which was discussed
along with the Special Data Dissemination
Standard (SDDS) at the tenth session of
the Working Group of Statistical Experts.
The secretariat prepared a short overview
of significant global and regional developments
in statistics for the Working Group, and
is preparing a similar review for the eleventh
session of the Committee.
|5. The Committee asked its
Bureau to examine how the Committee could
increase its involvement in the development
of statistical methods and standards.
|| 5. The Bureau has been carrying
out discussions and consultations on this
matter. Now that more information
on the "city groups" is available, the secretariat
will be better able to keep track of the
agenda of those groups and the availability
of reports and other documents. Countries
will be kept informed of major developments
and would be able to seek further details
from the groups and/or respond to technical
recommendations etc. where applicable and
as desired. The subject of "city groups"
was discussed by the WGSE at its tenth session.
While discussing the report of the Working
Group the Committee could discuss relevant
issues as deemed appropriate.
|6. The Committee felt that
it should pay greater attention to providing
inputs for and views on future agendas of
the United Nations Statistical Commission.
|| 6. Following the recommendation
of the WGSE, the secretariat will continue
to gather information and share it with
countries. A paper to be submitted
to the Committee at its eleventh session
will include information on this topic,
and the Committee's agenda includes two
items on which its deliberations will be
transmitted to the thirtieth session of
the Statistical Commission in March 1999.
| *7. The Committee decided
that a Working Group of Statistical Experts
should be convened, preferably in November
1997, to discuss specific substantive topics,
with content of an administrative nature
pruned to the minimum. The Bureau
would decide on and inform members about
the agenda three to four months prior to
|| 7. The Bureau confirmed
the dates of the tenth session of the Working
Group of Statistical Experts (11-14 November
1997) and decided on the agenda in consultation
with the secretariat.
| *8. The Committee recommended
that the Committee on Statistics should
be retained in any future revision of the
conference structure of ESCAP.
||8. See 1 above. By
resolution 53/1 the Commission decided that
the Committee on Statistics should be retained,
with biennial sessions of three days' duration.
| *9. The Committee instructed
its Bureau and the secretariat to continue
to monitor developments in the reform of
the conference structure of ESCAP.
|| 9. The secretariat reported
the deve-lopments on the conference structure
of ESCAP to the Bureau on 24 January, 10
March and 4 April 1997. Related matters
were also discussed during the third session
of the Bureau, held on 10 November 1997.
| 10. The Committee recommended
that the approach of inviting papers from
national statistical offices should be continued
for future sessions.
|| 10. Action was already undertaken
for the tenth session of the Working Group
of Statistical Experts. Three NSOs
have been requested to prepare papers for
the eleventh session of the Committee.
|11. The Committee recommended
that, based on the outputs of the project
on improving statistics on gender issues,
the secretariat should disseminate information
on gender issues and continue to give priority
to improving gender statistics in the region.
It should also compile a list of bibliographic
references on research and analysis based
on gender statistics.
|| 11. The secretariat is working
on the final stages of implementation of
two projects on gender statistics.
Since 1996, 14 country profiles on women
have been issued; 2 more are expected to
be issued soon. The feedback through
readership questionnaires for these profiles
is very positive in terms of the overall
quality and usefulness of the publications.
Since the profiles have been receiving considerable
publicity, the profile Women in Thailand
has had to be reprinted. The draft
of the regional publication Women and Men
in the ESCAP Region has been finalized;
the publication should be completed soon.
However, resources have not been sufficient
to start work on a list of bibliographic
references. Furthermore, although
the secretariat's project proposal on improving
statistics on gender issues, phase II, has
been endorsed by UNIFEM, considerable difficulties
are being encountered in obtaining funds.
| 12. The Committee noted
that the Special Data Dissemination Standard
(SDDS) initiated by IMF had significant
resource implications for NSOs. It
regretted that adequate consultations with
producers of the relevant statistics in
the ESCAP region had not been held, but
welcomed the fact that IMF had devoted resources
to assist some countries to meet the standards.
||12. No direct action required;
however, the secretariat is in touch with
the IMF Department of Statistics on the
development of the GDDS (see 4). The
Regional Adviser on National Accounts participated
in the Regional Seminar on General Data
Dissemination System (GDDS) in Singapore
in July 1998 and subsequently undertook
a joint mission to Bangladesh with an IMF
staff member to assist in the development
| 13. The Committee agreed
that it should focus on how to proceed in
developing national social statistical infrastructure
and the Minimum National Social Data Set
(MNSDS), and endorsed the idea that some
countries in the region should be selected
in which to conduct pilot studies.
||13. The secretariat is considering
how it can assist the Committee to proceed
on this matter. No funds have so far
been forthcoming for pilot studies, but
the secretariat has been drawing attention
to the endorsement of MNSDS by the Statistical
| 14. The Committee welcomed
the increase in contributions to the Statistical
Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP)
from China, Hong Kong, China, Pakistan,
Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand,
as well as the resumption of financial support
from Australia. It called for increased
contributions in cash and in kind from other
members and associate members as well as
new contributions from those countries which
had not been contributing to SIAP.
The Committee also considered assistance
from the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) to be crucial.
||14. The Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and the Pacific, at
its fifty-fourth session, appreciated the
increased and new contributions to SIAP.
Maldives and Vanuatu have contributed to
SIAP for the first time in 1998 and 1997
respectively. SIAP is implementing
a three-year, $596,000 UNDP-funded project
on establishing and strengthening national
capability in data collection/compilation
and statistical analysis required in the
preparation of national human development
| 15. The Committee noted
that any expanded programmes of SIAP should
be additional and complementary to, and
not in replacement of, any activities undertaken
||15. This is being borne in
mind by both organizations.
| 16. The Committee asked
the secretariat to examine modalities, other
than the planned seminar on information
technology management for senior-level decision
makers in the public sector, that could
be used in sensitizing government officials
to the importance of adopting information
|| 16. The secretariat
has drafted an internal
strategy paper on its public-sector computerization
subprogramme, which included a few base
scenarios. The implications are being
appraised in the light
of the Committee's recommendation.
The public-sector computerization officer
continues to have to dedicate time to statistical
information activities, especially ESIS
development, in the absence of other staff.
The public sector computerization Web site,
opened in March 1998, is a new modality.
|17. The Committee strongly
urged the secretariat to start disseminating
its documents, data and services through
the World Wide Web of the Internet.
|| 17. ESCAP launched its home
page on the World Wide Web on 28 April 1997.
Documents for the ninth and tenth sessions
of the Committee on Statistics, recent Statistical
and Government Computerization Newsletters,
and an address listing of all members and
associate members with links to their NSO
home pages, where established, are among
the contents of the Statistics Division
page. The Statistics Division's Web
site moved to http://www.unescap.org/stat.
The substantive content was improved as
follows: new subsectors were released
on data for Asia and the Pacific (a subsection
of Asia-Pacific in Figures), and public
sector computerization. In addition
technical meeting reports were converted
to HTML from 1994 onwards and will soon
be made available at the Web site. The service
through the Division's Web site is not yet
at the desired level; it can be expected
to improve only after the staff-at-large
has been trained in HTML authoring, as well
as when the full complement of Professional
staff are on board.
| 18. The Committee noted
the importance of providing a sharp focus
for the secretariat's work in the field
of public sector computerization, and asked
the secretariat to concentrate on
those recommendations of the
Expert Group Meeting to Review Computerization
Development in the Public Sector where the
available resources could have a meaningful
impact. The Committee considered that
greater attention should be paid to applications
in statistics rather than to the public
sector in general.
||18. See 16. In an orientation
towards statistical information technology,
the secretariat, in cooperation with the
NSO of the Republic of Korea, developed
a project proposal on a seminar on application
of information technology in national statistical
offices. The funding for the seminar
was approved in May 1998 and the seminar
is tentatively scheduled to be held at Taejon,
Republic of Korea from 15 to 18 December
| 19. The Committee identified
a number of high priority areas in the work
programme of the secretariat for 1998-1999,
including implementation of the 1993 System
of National Accounts, pilot studies and
other work on the statistical implications
of the global summit conferences held at
Cairo, Copenhagen and Beijing, and services
statistics. Other priority areas that
were identified included the informal sector,
price statistics and environment statistics.
||19. The high priority areas
were confirmed by the Commission at its
fifty-third and fifty-fourth sessions, and
are serving as a guide to project proposal
formulation, among other matters.
A workshop on implementation of the 1993
SNA will be held in October 1998, while
a joint OECD/ESCAP meeting on national accounts
was organized in May 1998. A workshop
on poverty statistics is planned to be held
in 1999. Work on the second phase
of an environment statistics project is
|*20. The Committee strongly
urged ESCAP to pursue means of providing
advisory services in the top priority area
of national accounts, for example, through
redeployment of resources within the secretariat.
|| 20. The new Regional Adviser
on National Accounts reported for duty in
September 1997. Advisory missions
were undertaken to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei
Darussalam, India, Islamic Republic of Iran,
Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines and Thailand.
Advisory missions scheduled for the next
few months include Fiji, Macau and Vanuatu.
Assistance through e-mail has also been
provided to countries in the region.
| 21. The Committee stressed
the fundamental importance of information
technology in the work of NSOs, not least
in the dissemination aspects. The
secretariat was encouraged to help countries
exchange information on the latest techniques
for data processing, presentation and dissemination,
including through the Internet.
|| 21. A seminar on application
of IT in NSOs is scheduled for December
1998 (see 18 above). Also the UNFPA-funded
project on the Application of New Technology
in Population Data Collection, Processing,
Dissemination and Presentation will help
respond to this recommendation. The
Working Party meeting under the project
held its second session in Singapore in
April 1998. With the secretariat Web
site now operational, the secretariat has
started to explore the possibilities of
this medium for the purpose.
|22. The Committee felt that
adminis-trative aspects of the work of the
secretariat should be kept to the minimum
|| 22. The secretariat notes
this recommen-dation, but would like to
indicate that this aspect of its work is
largely dictated from elsewhere. However,
the prospect of simpler rules and regulations
currently being pursued by the Secretary-General
should lead to a lower administrative burden
on the secretariat. The Bureau at
its 10 November 1997 meeting recommended
that the secretariat should play a stronger
coordinator/intermediary role so that countries
could obtain easy access to sources of technical
information/expertise and seek bilateral/multilateral
assistance or exchange. This would
be important at a time when funds for advisory
service or seminars are far from being abundant.
|23. The Committee reaffirmed
its support for ESIS and urged that the
resources to put the system into operation
as soon as possible should be found.
It advised the secretariat to, if necessary,
reduce substantially the planned data content,
simplify and cut the available features
of the system to the necessary minimum,
and adopt the latest Internet technologies
to make its data content available to members
and associate members.
|| 23. The major ESIS developments
are reported under the ninth session, 5.
While the Internet technologies will certainly
be used for external connectivity, priority
has been given to making the core data system
operational internally as soon as possible.
There is no technical need to cut the data
volume, but the incoming operating staff
may do so if the planned content proves
to be a limiting factor. The external
auditors shared the concern of the Committee
in their recent report and made recommendations
for the speedy bringing into operation of
ESIS. In the meantime (in March 1998),
the secretariat launched a subset of Asia-Pacific
in Figures in the Division's Web site (http://www.unescap.org/stat/statdata/apinfig.htm)
as recommended by the Bureau.
| 24. The Committee asked
the secretariat to continue to collect and
collate information from the agencies for
the integrated presentation of work programmes,
subject to some modifications in the format
and content of the presentation. To
increase the participation of relevant agencies,
the Committee recommended that the secretariat
distribute the presentation among agencies
working in the region and seek their comments
and cooperation. More vigorous follow-up,
including reminder letters, correspondence
and, where possible, consultations, was
proposed to further improve participation.
||24. Action along these lines
has been taken in preparing an integrated
presentation of work programmes for the
eleventh session of the Committee.
The response of agencies has improved somewhat
and relevant Web sites have been searched.
The possible presentation of work programme
information at the global level was discussed
by the ACC Subcommittee on Statistical Activities
in September 1997 and at the Working Group
on International Statistical Programmes
and Coordination in February 1998.
| *25. The Committee decided
that the provisional agenda for its eleventh
session should include as item 3, Implementation
of recommendations of the Committee at its
ninth and tenth sessions, and that the reports
of the Bureau and the Working Group of Statistical
Experts should become items 4 and 5, respectively.
It noted the proposals that gender statistics,
environment statistics and economic statistics
should also feature on the agenda, considered
that the provisional agenda could be finalized
in due course, and encouraged countries
to submit comments to the Bureau of the
Committee for its deliberation.
||25. The provisional agenda
for the eleventh session of the Committee
was discussed by the Bureau and the Working
Group of Statistical Experts in November
1997. A draft agenda incorporating
those discussions and taking into account
the reduced duration (three days) of the
Committee meeting, was sent in May 1998
for the Bureau's comments and suggestions.
These were incorporated in a revised provisional
agenda and eventually endorsed by the Advisory
Committee of Permanent Representatives and
Other Representatives Designated by Members
of the Commission (ACPR) on 19 August 1998.