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Strengthening of networking of institutions and experts to accelerate the development of social and environmental statistics in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean

Background:

In the area of social statistics, in the 1980s and 1990s, ECLAC developed important databases, which are acknowledged to be the most complete in the region. In addition, since the mid-1990s, in cooperation with regional and international organizations such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, ECLAC has been making a concerted effort to improve the quality and timeliness of information available on the social situation in Latin America and the Caribbean. Therefore, it is recommended that the experience and material accumulated be transferred to those countries that have not reached a desirable degree of progress in this field.

With regard to environmental statistics, sustainable development is a field where knowledge and information have been expanding dramatically. There is an urgent need for a modern network of communications in the area of environment statistics, using up-to-date technology to facilitate the transfer of methods and procedures in the area of the environment. The project is jointly executed by ECLAC and the Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Objective:

  • To strengthen the capacity of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, through networking of institutions and experts, to produce the high quality social and environmental statistics necessary for better formulating and monitoring of development activities; and to increase the level of coordination of statistical work throughout the region on social and environmental issues
  • To increase the level of coordination of statistical work throughout the region on social and environmental issues

Expected accomplishments:

  • Establishment of a network for regional and international cooperation among organizations, professionals and experts of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean that will facilitate access to methodological material on production and analysis of statistics and social indicators and promote horizontal technical cooperation as well as the mobilization of resources for the transfer of knowledge and experience of the countries of the region
  • Strengthened technical and institutional capacity of the countries of the region, especially those that are less developed, in the generation, administration and analysis of statistical information in the social area
  • Establishment of a regional network of agencies/institutions, professionals and experts working in the different fields related to environmental statistics

Effects and Impact:

The project has generated very important results, namely a regional human network, statistical and documentation databases, a directory of experts and institutions, as well as a web portal. Since the maintenance of support to Latin American and Caribbean countries is critical in the production of information for decision-making, particularly in the environmental area, these resources will continue to be available to the entire network.

The evaluation missions conducted under the project have fostered the improvement of communication among national staff and revitalized the importance of social and environmental statistics for the countries. In addition, regional meetings, training courses and workshops have contributed to capacity building in the countries through the enrichment of the participant’s knowledge and experience. Moreover, the success of the recent missions of technical assistance on environmental statistics has amplified the positive impact of the project.

All these elements have lead to a widespread recognition by countries of the importance of the project in the advancement of their own processes of statistical development, particularly in the environmental area, and have highly valued the inter-institutional and networking approaches to the work that the project has promoted. The technical assistance missions on the development of environmental statistics in Brazil and the Dominican Republic proved to be highly productive. In particular, the project has served as a catalyst of national initiatives, such as the Dominican Republic’s first publication of environmental data and metadata, and the Brazilian IBGE initiative, a complex process of designing an environmental statistics system. In both cases, the approach of bringing together the different institutions involved in data production, processing, storing and analysis proved a crucial factor in their success.