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Development Account Projects

Improving poverty measurement: Building national statistical capacity in Caribbean countries to estimate Purchasing Power Parities

Background:

There are not many statistical indicators about poverty in the Caribbean, and those data that are available are not always fully comparable across countries. This lack of information hampers public policy and hinders the access to international funding for poverty eradication programs and projects. One of the major reasons for this situation is that the Caribbean did not participate in the 2005 round of the International Comparison Program (ICP). It is therefore of the highest priority for the Governments in the region that the Caribbean participate in the 2011 round of the ICP.

ECLAC has played a central role in supporting statistical capacity building efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean, which gives it specific and well established comparative advantages for the execution of this project. Among ECLAC's assets are the experience gained through its substantial involvement in the preceding ICP rounds of 1987, 1993, 1996, and specially in the 2005 round in which ECLAC acted as regional coordinator for the 10 South American countries. Also, between 2005 and 2008 ECLAC coordinated an exercise in five Central American countries plus Panama and the Dominican Republic, which was similar to the 2005 Round of the ICP in South America, and had the main goal of providing technical training to the national teams in preparation of the 2011 round of the ICP.

In this regard, the project objective and activities are fully consistent with the objectives of the Subprogrammes "Statistics" and "Subregional Activities in the Caribbean", which are:

  • to foster the use and incorporation of accurate and timely statistical information in economic and social policies in countries of the region (Subprogramme 10), and
  • to promote and further strengthen the development process within the Caribbean and enhance the subregion’s cooperation with Latin American countries (Subprogramme 12).

The project will play a significant part in bringing about progress toward the implementation of the System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA 1993) and support the collection of data and the production of indicators to follow-up on the Millennium Development Goals, both of which have been defined as indicators of achievement of the Organization for the period 2010-2011.

This project is consistent with the theme of the seventh tranche of the Development Account, namely, "support to addressing key global development challenges to further the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, through collaboration at the global, regional and national levels". (A/64/6 Sect 35 para. 35.6)

It is also aligned with the United Nations Economic and Social Council Resolution 2006/6 "Strengthening statistical capacity" on the regional development of national statistics. This resolution calls upon Member States, donor countries and organizations and the international statistical community to intensify their efforts to strengthen national statistical capacity and improve the coverage, transparency, and reporting on all indicators in order to enhance the database on all Millennium Development Goals, in accordance with the guidance provided by Member States through the Statistical Commission.

Also, the activities of the project will enhance capacity and technical expertise in the Caribbean to follow-up on the major international programmes of action in the economic, social and environmental fields, particularly related to Small Island Developing States and the Mauritius Strategy.

Objective:

To bridge the capacity gap of national statistical offices in 21 Caribbean countries to establish common data collection protocols related to purchasing power parity and to produce and analyze National Accounts in order to increase poverty information in the Caribbean

Expected accomplishments:

  • Adoption by Caribbean countries of common data collection protocols, definitions and classifications for a set of statistics on prices and National Accounts that constitute a basis for estimating purchasing power parities according to the guidelines of the International Comparison Programme (ICP).
  • Strengthened technical capacity to produce and analyze representative and internationally comparable consumer price indices (CPI's) according to international classifications, standards and recommendations.
  • Strengthened technical capacity to produce and analyze National Accounts by components of expenditure in line with the System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA 93) and related international classifications, standards and recommendations.
  • Strengthened regional network of experts and practitioners and increased interchange of experiences, best practices and methodologies on the production and use of price statistics and national accounts.

Implementation status:

Completed