Economic statistics uses big data and new technology to leave no one behind

With the endorsement of the 2030 Agenda, there is an increasing demand for both the production and inclusivity of statistics to leave no one behind. To support enduring national statistical capacity in the region, the Asia-Pacific Economic Statistics Week (APES) opened in Bangkok this Monday, gathering delegates from national statistics offices, central banks, academia and development organizations from 27 countries in the region.

The Week’s events featured a four-day seminar convening under the theme “Integrating economic statistics in monitoring the 2030 Agenda.” The seminar served as a platform to showcase key findings from national studies and research related to economic statistics and exchange good practices and methodologies in their production.

Opening the meeting, ESCAP Deputy Executive Secretary Hongjoo Hahm remarked, “the 2030 Agenda has generated much needed debate on how to measure progress; GDP may be growing but we still need to agree on what constitutes people’s ‘well-being’ and how to measure it.”

Robust and comprehensive data have critical implications as litmus tests for SDG achievement. Though almost half of the indicators in the global SDG monitoring framework require economic statistics, many countries in the region struggle with basic statistics on the economy.

The meeting also focused on disseminating economic statistics for use by the broader community. Through interactive panel discussions, delegates shared practical ways to communicate economic statistics to various users and stakeholders.

Mohd Yazid Kasim, Department of Statistics Malaysia noted, “Asia-Pacific Economic Statistics Week is a platform where knowledge on different areas of economic statistics is shared through analytical research, contributing greatly to the Regional Programme for Improvement of Economic Statistics in the Asia and Pacific Region through research products. This year’s theme underscores the importance of economic statistics in implementing the 2030 Agenda.”

To highlight important emerging developments, three special sessions featured current work on economic statistics, including ESCAP’s initiative on the ocean economy and Oceans Accounts Partnership. Brandishing standardized statistics about the ocean and its resources, the Partnership aims to advance economic activity from the seas while ensuring its sustainability.

On the final day, the Steering Group for the Regional Programme on Economic Statistics (RPES) met to review progress in the implementation of the second phase of the programme (2014-2019) and provide recommendations for its final phase. The Steering Group comprises chief statisticians and directors from national statistical offices and central banks, as well as international development partner experts. As part of RPES, the Steering Group aims to improve soundness of economic analysis and policies through the availability and effective use of timely, reliable and comparable economic statistics.

“The main agenda item for the Steering Group meeting is to re-cast the Programme to align with the 2030 Agenda, more specifically with the Declaration to Navigate Policy to Leave No One Behind and the Collective Vision and Framework for Action, agreed by the Chief Statisticians from Asia-Pacific countries as the shared ambition for the region’s statistical community for the 2030 Agenda,” explained Mohd Yazid Kasim, Co-Chair of the Steering Group.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Statistics Week is an annual forum in which normative and analytical products on the generation and dissemination of economic statistics are deliberated by member States and development partners.

For more information visit: http://communities.unescap.org/asia-pacific-economic-statistics/2019-asia-pacific-economic-statistics-week

For media inquiries, please contact:
Mr. Paul Bunsell, External Relations Officer, Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section, ESCAP, T: (66) 2 288 1869 / E: [email protected]