Selected Development Account project success stories
Strengthening capacity in environmental statistics
32 countries in the two regions of West Asia and Latin America - mainly national statistical offices, ministries of environment and water - benefited from the Strengthening national capacities in environment statistics and accounts in support of progress toward achieving the internationally agreed development goals in Western Asia and Latin America (06/07Y) project (http://www.escwa.un.org/esiap/).
Inter-organizational partnership between ESCWA, ECLAC, the UN Statistical Division, the MedStat programme, and UNEP resulted in sharing substantial multidisciplinary capacities, institutional and methodological know-how, networks, convening facilities and producing high quality training materials in Spanish and Arabic and comprehensive explanations on methods and procedures. The impact of the hands-on trainings, methodological documents, and the technical assistance missions expedited the compilation of water accounts. The discussions and the recommendations provided feedback to adapt the standard tables on water accounts and the International recommendations of water statistics to the regional priorities and specificities. The progress made and the countries experiences were presented at the World Water Forum in Istanbul, in March 2009.
Networking and South-South cooperation
Active involvement of stakeholders from the Statistical Offices and Ministries of Environment and Water facilitated subsequent networking between the two regions and among subregions through interactive sharing and knowledge management, and helped foster inter- and intra-regional cooperation and strengthened links between statistics producers and users through informal, formal and virtual networks.
The project managers encouraged wide sharing of experiences and ownership of the projects. MedStat member countries cooperated with ESCWA member countries: Oman and Bahrain with Tunisia, and Lebanon, Yemen and Sudan with Turkey. Latin American countries, Chile and Mexico cooperated with Egypt and the impact was very positive as revealed in the external evaluation of the project.
Increased national interest
In ESCWA, focusing on Environmental Accounts gave momentum to the project. At the national level, countries were more interested to learn about the interlinkages between the economy and the environment through the System of National Accounts (SNA) framework.
In Latin America, the project supported the establishment of an inter-governmental working group on environmental statistics under the auspices of the Statistical Conference of the Americas and succeeded in getting water statistics and accounts on the development agenda. Thanks to the project, Venezuela and Cuba both produced their first set of national environmental indicators and several other countries built their capacities to produce MDG 7 (Ensure environmental stability) indicators.
Links were built also with ECLAC’s Sub-regional Caribbean office that translated and used the training materials produced by the project in a regional Caribbean workshop on environmental indicators.
According to the external evaluation of the project, it has strengthened the statistical capacity of national statisticians and water and environment officials in environment statistics and indicators with a focus on water accounts as per international standards. National Statistics Offices have, furthermore, expressed their interest in further assistance and training on environment statistics and water accounts. Pilot water accounts are produced in Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and advanced accounts are produced in Jordan according to the System of Environmental Economic Accounting for Water (SEEAW). Requests for further support have been received from Saudi Arabia and Iraq to complete a first phase of pilot accounts, and from Palestine and Egypt to continue the pilot accounts to include hybrid and economic accounts.