1. The Regional Meeting of
Heads of Statistics provides direction to the
Statistics and Demography programmes of the
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC),
and evaluates its services to countries. The
latest was held in Noumea from 1 to 5 September
1997. Representatives of 21 SPC member countries/territories
and 9 observers from international organisations,
universities and other institutions attended
the meeting. The meeting was only possible due
to the generous financial assistance of the
Government of New Zealand.
2. The Meeting considered
each of the recommendations from the Tenth Regional
Conference of Statisticians and particularly
- the increased statistical
co-ordination efforts by statistical offices;
- the progress made in improving
the PC/Trade processing system;
- the importance of an SPC
Pacific Islander Statistical Research Officer
- the importance of theory
in analytical training; and
- the need for a forum to
discuss classifications, data processing and
3. The meeting endorsed the
general direction currently undertaken by the
Programme, concentrating on training and advisory
services. Electronic communication was considered
an important emerging issue for the Programme
and co-ordination of technical assistance with
other agencies should continue as a high priority.
4. Countries and territories
endorsed the following directions of the Population/Demography
Programme as meeting their needs:
- a balanced training programme;
- emphasis on user-friendly
and relevant demographic analysis and reports;
- policy-relevant demographic
- flexibility in ad hoc technical
- a clearing-house role in
demographic and population data.
5. The recommendations can
be classified in a number of ways. They can
be directed at countries, the SPC, other agencies
or a combination of these. Those recommendations
directed at the SPC can be with respect to continuing
activities currently performed within budget
allocations or with respect to new activities
which may or may not require additional funding.
6. These recommendations
Countries and territories (with the assistance
of the SPC) continue to give priority to statistical
co-ordination and in particular ensuring the
standardisation of classifications and data
The Statistical Research Officer position
for Pacific Island statistical office staff
be re-established as a high priority, with
a research and development emphasis for the
Technical issues such as classifications,
data processing and computerisation be addressed
in a technical forum immediately prior to
the next Regional Meeting of Heads of Statistics,
and requested the SPC to seek funding for
such a meeting.
The SPC and donor agencies continue to place
the highest priority on statistical training
and ensure that adequate resources are allocated
to the full range of statistical training
activities undertaken by the Statistics Programme.
The development of an in-house training capability
be pursued in those countries and territories
capable of supplying such a service and the
SPC provide technical support for such in-house
The SPC seek additional funding sources for
assistance in providing short-term consultancy
missions to assist member countries and territories
in their statistical projects, and collaborative
assistance be delivered with other national,
regional and international agencies.
The SPC continue to give the annual SIAP and
ESCAP meetings the highest priority in terms
of SPC meeting representation.
The SPC actively pursue the development of
a long-term regional statistical project,
similar in nature to the ADB RETA AStatistical
Improvement in South Pacific Developing Member
Countries@, covering all the countries and
territories of the region.
In recognition of SPC's multi-sectoral Programmes
and professionals, corporate focus on research
and training and its institutional data analytical
capability, the SPC information services be
strengthened to enable a regional socio-economic
information database to be developed by the
SPC (in consultation with other regional agencies).
The Demography Programme continue to support
the member countries and territories in the
development of their analytical capabilities
in regard to demographic and population information.
The Demography Programme continue to place
a high priority on the development of country
The Demography Programme provide technical
assistance to member countries and territories
in the 2000 Round of Censuses, in collaboration
with other national, regional and international
The SPC proceed with developing and disseminating
to countries and territories a proposal for
implementing the SPC data security facility.
The member countries and territories try to
improve their planning for the technical support
they require and the SPC develop an annual
forward work programme of SPC technical assistance
to countries and territories.
The SPC play a facilitation role in assisting
countries and territories to overcome technical
problems relating to electronic communication
and to utilise such services effectively and
The next Regional Meeting of Heads of Statistics
be held in 1999.
Pacific regional agencies make every attempt
to attend the Regional Meeting of Heads of
Statistics to ensure appropriate co-ordination.
7. Meeting delegates were
resolute in their endorsement of all recommendations
as high priority for the region and if this
was not the case, they would not have been recommendations
at the Meeting.
8. However, a process to
prioritise recommendations was undertaken to
satisfy the requirement that all recommendations
addressed to the SPC with financial implications
be prioritised. The prioritised recommendations
Priority 1: Recommendation
Priority 2: Recommendation
Priority 3: Recommendation
9. The common themes to come through both the
recommendations of the Meeting and the discussions
- A comprehensive training
programme to improve the statistical capability
of the region should continue.
- A need to extend the range
of available statistics and analysis of such
data in a co-ordinated manner and using standardised
classifications across the region.