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Strengthening the statistical capacity of Central Asian Countries to monitor progress towards the Millennium Development Goals

Background:

Statistical indicators have been developed for the monitoring of the implementation of goals and targets set out in the Millennium Declaration. The availability and reliability of data to compile these indicators are essential to monitor progress towards the achievement of those goals and targets.

Since their independence, the five Central Asian countries have faced a particularly difficult set of socio-economic circumstances that affect their ability to routinely produce the required statistical information. Serious problems exist in terms of data availability, accuracy and consistency over time for almost all of the indicators for the Millennium Development Goals. While substantial efforts are being made by national statisticians, in cooperation with the Interstate Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), there is still a need for strengthening the statistical capacity.

Building on lessons learned from previous capacity-building projects, the Central Asian countries will be provided with concrete tools to implement new methodologies and technologies relating to Millennium Development Goal statistical requirements and survey methodology. As a result of the project, a network of national experts will be created in national statistical offices, working in partnership with one another and with the Interstate Statistical Committee of the CIS on statistical services for tracking progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

The project will focus on three statistical areas where there is a particular demand in Central Asia for the monitoring of progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: population and social conditions, health and economic development.

The project will support the overall objectives of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia. The promotion of subregional cooperation and integration in the world economy and some of the project activities could be carried out within the framework of the Special Programme (as a member of the Special Programme, Azerbaijan would be associated with the project). The project will be executed by the Statistical Division of ECE in close collaboration with the Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the statistical section of ESCAP, in cooperation with the Interstate Statistical Committee of CIS and in collaboration with other CIS countries. The project will also build on the work that ECE is carrying out with other partners in the region on tracking progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (main partner), the World Health Organization (WHO), UNDP and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Objective:

To strengthen the national statistical capacity of Central Asian countries to monitor demographic, social and economic progress towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased capacity of the Central Asian countries to strengthen statistical services for tracking progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, including the organization of their next population censuses using regional ECE standards with specifications that are relevant to their national economic and social situations
  • New ECE guidelines for the 2010 round of population censuses implemented in Central Asian countries
  • Strengthened capacity of the Central Asian countries to produce and use statistics on the health status of the population
  • Development and implementation of common methodologies for better coverage by national account aggregates of the informal sector (grey and black economy) and other forms of non-observed economic activities in the CIS countries
  • Improved subregional cooperation among countries in the area of statistics for tracking progress towards the Millennium Development Goals through regional meetings/workshops

Implementation status:

The objective of this project has been to strengthen the statistical capacity of member countries of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) to monitor demographic, social and economic progress toward the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. Progress was achieved in all three domains critical to the monitoring of the MDGs, namely: (i) population and social conditions, (ii) health status of the population, and (iii) economic development. The objective of the Project has been achieved to a large extent.

Notable progress was achieved in the activities related to Population and Housing Censuses. The 2000 round of Population Censuses was the first for the beneficiary countries as independent states. As a result of training and cooperation under this Project, the 2010 round of Population and Housing Censuses is prepared to a large extent, according to the CES Census Recommendations in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.