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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:

The project was initiated in July 2010 and many activities have been carried out during 2011 and 2012. During the second half of 2010, emphasis was placed on the following: i) engaging beneficiaries, key stakeholders and strategic partners and ensuring coordination mechanisms among all partners (National Statistical Offices of 21 Caribbean countries and international agencies, including CARICOM, CARTAC and ECCB); ii) evaluating methodologies currently employed by Caribbean countries in compiling their national accounts and price statistics and; iii) launching technical processes to improve and harmonize compilation of Consumer Price Indices and detailed GDP components by expenditure. During 2011, the work aimed at: i) strengthening harmonization of methodologies used by Caribbean countries for the compilation of Consumer Price Indices and detailed GDP components by expenditure in the framework of the estimation of the Purchasing Power Parities for the 2011 Round; ii) improving coordination mechanisms among beneficiaries, key stakeholders and strategic partners (National Statistical Offices of 21 Caribbean countries and international agencies, including CARICOM, CARTAC and ECCB); and iii) finalizing the evaluation of methodologies currently employed by Caribbean countries in compiling their national accounts and price statistics. The design of a Web-based forum has been almost finalized and is currently in its test phase. The purpose of this page is to enable experts from national statistical offices and international organizations to exchange methodological information and coordinate activities for the development 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. During 2012, many workshops were organized to validate the results of price statistics and national accounts data, particularly, the Saint Kitts and Nevis workshop held from March 26 to 30 and whose goal was to revise, analyze and validate compiled prices for Q4 2011 as well as to analyze the situation of national accounts and MORES for participating countries in the 2 Caribbean region. One of the main topics in the workshop’s agenda was focusing on the learning and managing of ICP Kit. This specific activity in St. Kitts and Nevis was fully financed with the Development Account project and counted with the participation of a total of 42 national experts (21 for price statistics and 21 for national accounts).