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Strengthening the capacity of national statistical offices in the Caribbean small island developing States to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals

Background:

The need for building/strengthening institutional capabilities for generating and compiling reliable social and economic statistics in the Caribbean subregion has long been recognized, and NSOs have been searching for solutions to address this major gap, particularly in the area of social statistics. In response to these, ECLAC has been providing active support to the countries of the region in the design of systems in the fields of economic and social statistics.

In contrast, the project will address issues , such as the lack of data or metadata, highlighted by the previous regional efforts aimed at strengthening capacities in the generation of statistical indicators. Other issues include the absence of a standardized format for data collection and comparison as well as the absence of comprehensive harmonized regional indicators for monitoring and measuring each Millennium Development Goal. These problems are the results of the weak institutional capabilities available for generating reliable high-quality data and the absence of linkages among data collectors. Consequently, much work to develop capacities among the various Caribbean States remains to be done and would require increased collaboration among the various agencies in order to maximize the benefits of dwindling resources.

The project will take full advantage of existing programmes while avoiding duplication with ongoing activities relating to MDGs undertaken by other regional bodies. This will require a strengthened regional capacity to ensure better formulation and monitoring to take into account the new development modalities. Consequently, the project will strive to produce a higher level of coordination of statistical work across the region in social, economic, and environmental issues.

Objective:

Strengthening the technical capacities of the targeted Caribbean governments' statistical offices, through networking of institutions and experts, to improve the social and environmental indicators to measure poverty, social cohesion, and environmental sustainability with a view to advancing the fulfillment of MDGs. 

Expected Accomplishments:

  • Adoption by Caribbean countries of common data collection protocols, definitions and classifications for the collection and dissemination of an extended set of MDGs indicators that are more suitable to their situation, in order to monitor the accomplishment of the MDGs.

  • Strengthened technical capacity of governmental institutions to produce and analyze MDGs indicators derived from harmonized household survey data sets and use them in the design and implementation of public polices that lead to the fulfillment of the goals.

  • Improved capacity in the NSOs of participating countries to collect, compile, analyze, and disseminate data on social and environmental indicators to measure poverty, social cohesion and environmental sustainability.

  • Establishment of a database which makes it possible to draw up indicators at the subregional level in order to measure the economic, social and environmental costs of maintaining current development patterns; evaluate and diagnose the current state of the environment in the region; gauge the environmental consequences of existing macroeconomic policies; and, supply orientation for policy decisions, especially in regard to public and private investment.

Implementation Status:

The technical capacity for production, processing, systematization and dissemination of environmental indicators of staff from 16 countries in the Caribbean has been strengthened through a regional training course. Two countries, Belize and Suriname, have already designed data collection activities to produce MDG indicators, while two countries, Guyana and Suriname, have produced their own national report on the achievement of the MDGs using data collected under the project.

An Informal Sector survey using the 1-2 methodology was conducted in Saint Lucia. This methodology involved the use of the sample of an existing labor force survey (1) from which a subsample (2) was selected. The latter was then surveyed about their informal activities. The data collected in this exercise has formed a database and the methodology can be used as a model for other Caribbean countries.  Countries have informally discussed technical cooperation assistance to implement the survey methodology.

A Training Workshop in the use of the Statistical Programme Census Survey Processing System (CSPro) was held in Guyana to build the capacity of government officials, non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders to measure progress towards the MDGs and other IADGs. The participants indicated that the training workshop provided them with new knowledge and practical tools for their day to day work, most (63%) agreed that they did attain new knowledge and skills that would add to their day to day work; while 25% strongly agreed.

Seventy five per cent (75%) or participants agreed and 13% strongly agreed that the implementation of the CSPro software after receiving training could help make their work more efficient. The Guyana Bureau of Statistics, which had two participants at this training workshop indicated that it has used this software for entering, editing, tabulating and surveying data such as the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) and the National Economic Survey (NES). The software is also being explored for editing the Population and Housing Census pilot.