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Development Account Projects

Regional project for strengthening statistical capacity for the ESCWA countries in energy statistics and energy balance

Background:

Statistics and indicators are critical tools for countries in policy-making and for socio-economic planning. They are needed for assessment of the current situation to set objectives for the future, and to measure progress and development. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in its resolutions 1999/55 and 2000/29, stressed the importance of relevant, accurate, and timely statistics and indicators for evaluating the implementation of the outcome of the recent international conferences. In addition, the integration of economic and environmental considerations is essential in formulating effective sustainable development policies.

At the end of the project, member countries will have the necessary capacity to pursue the activities of the project such as training and sharing knowledge and will be able to conduct periodic assessments of energy statistics to adopt corrective policies and programs as required. member countries will produce statistics and indicators on the energy in the region that will be disseminated and made accessible to users through the virtual network, supported and monitored by ESCWA, to promote knowledge sharing. The capacity of member countries to disseminate energy balance according to United Nations methodologies will be enhanced. Thus, the project is expected to have a strong multiplier effect.

This project falls under the framework of the 2010-2011 and 2012-2013 subprogramme 5 (Statistics for evidence-based policymaking) and subprogramme 1 (Integrated policies for the management of regional resources for sustainable development of programme 18), economic and social development in Western Asia

The project will help countries to monitor progress toward achieving MDG 7 'ensure environmental sustainability', more precisely target 7.A 'Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources'

ESCWA can benefit from lessons learned on developing energy statistics systems from MEDSTAT, since MEDSTAT has been working with Mediterranean partners for a decade and they are at the last phase of the project that will be implemented during the next two years. ESCWA can learn from MEDSTAT' experience on compilation of data, surveys, questionnaires, database, and technical assistance and will replicate the good practices and avoid the pitfalls

Objective:

To strengthen national statistical capacity in developing energy information systems and energy statistics and balance in ESCWA member countries in cooperation with international, regional and national institutions

Expected accomplishments:

  • Regional and national energy statistics and balance assessed and areas of improvements identified according to the priorities of member countries.
  • National officials' skills strengthened to produce energy balance
  • balance produced and disseminated yearly

Implementation status:

During the last quarter of 2011, ESCWA focused on engaging member countries and building partnerships and enhancing coordination with regional and international organizations. ESCWA through the project promoted energy statistics and balance in the ESCWA region and engaged countries in developing their capacity in producing energy statistics and balance.  Main stakeholders from ESCWA member countries National Statistical Offices, Ministries of Oil and Ministries of Electricity and potential partners (IEA, OPEC, OAPEC and IEFS) were informed through official letters with brochures and summary of work plan on the project and its main activities. All member countries replied positively and assigned focal points for the project (Annex 1).

Partnerships and coordination were enhanced in 2011. A meeting with Medstat and Eurostat was held in Beirut on  July 1st 2011 to coordinate activities and outputs. Agreement on avoiding duplication and joining expertise and budgets to provide trainings, produce outputs and conduct technical assistance missions. (meeting report Annex 2.  A strong partnership was forged with the IEA. ESCWA provided the contacts of focal points in several countries to facilitate data collection and inquiries on data. A meeting was held at the headquarters of IEA between ESCWA representative, the IEA team on Non-OECD countries energy data, and the representatives of Oman, Bahrain and UAE to update contacts in Ministries and processes of data flows and decide on follow-up with countries. It was decided also to share documentation and to coordinate on the trainings offered by IEA to include ESCWA member countries. Iraq and Sudan were suggested to join the trainings in March 2012 in IEA head quarters. Coordination with UNSD continued with input provided by ESCWA to the revision of the International Recommendations on Energy Statistics (IRES) and on co-organization the expert group and training workshop. Complementary funding for energy consumption surveys in the transport sector in 8 ESCWA member countries was proposed by ESCWA in August 2011 to the Islamic Development Bank with a budget of about USD 700,000. The surveys are important in providing information on energy use since those countries due to the weakness in administrative data.

The study visits offered the participating Gulf countries to learn from the experience of Medstat member countries on the compilation of energy statistics and development of energy balance. Although the gulf countries have the most resources in oil and gas, the availability of energy data was still lagging compared to Medstat countries (Annex 3, 4)
Two consultancies for needs assessment were committed (Annex 5). The first one by international consultant to conduct a needs assessment and deliver a report on the existing status of energy statistics and the requirements and work plan to develop a system for energy statistics that enables the country to compile energy balance and energy accounts in two ESCWA member countries Arab Emirates and Qatar and provide a report to the countries and to ESCWA.  The second needs assessment is in Egypt and Syria by a National consultant. The consultant will also assess the energy statistics status in Syria if the security situation allows. The reports will be discussed during an expert group planned in April 10-12 2012. ESCWA is contacting concerned member countries to enlarge national working group on energy statistics