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Development Account Projects

Strengthening statistical capacities for building macroeconomic and sustainable development indicators in Latin American, Caribbean and Asia-Pacific countries

Background:

Central banks and national statistics offices in the ECLAC and ESCAP regions are increasingly requesting the provision of support to modernize and expand their national accounts programmes and strengthen the elaboration of environmental economic accounts. To respond to this growing demand for technical assistance and support, regional action plans should be elaborated to be used as general reference frameworks in addressing the problems countries are facing in modernizing their basic statistics systems and their actual accounting rules.

The insufficient coverage of economic and environmental statistics is common to almost all Latin American and Caribbean and Asia-Pacific countries. There are common factors in the two regions that impede the consolidation of the production of basic economic and environmental statistics and hence the compilation of accounts. Consequently, there are several advantages in working on regional strategies to overcome these difficulties, such as (a) creating economies of scale and multiplier effects in relation to activities, resources and results, (b) strengthening national and regional expertise through networking and knowledge-sharing, (c) building a collective vision, strategy and action plan by capitalizing on advances made by more experienced countries as opposed to each country working in isolation and (d) improving access to documentation, standards, tools and technical experience by working collaboratively.

The main objective of the project consists in the design and implementation of a regional strategy to improve the coverage and quality of national and environmental accounts, and to strengthen the production of the basic statistics needed to compile the accounts and inform the formulation of public policies in support of sustainable development. This strategy would be divided into four stages: (a) review or diagnostics (assessment of the current situation in all participating countries), (b) regional adaptation (development of a regional plan), (c) national adaptation (design and implementation of a national action plan), and (d) regional implementation (commitment from the regional commissions to coordinate the work).

Given that the implementation of the international standards and recommendations on national and environmental accounting in the two regions is heterogeneous, the more advanced countries can support the lesser advanced ones through horizontal cooperation. Moreover, the collective action and use of economies of scale can help those countries with limited resources to obtain benefits that otherwise would not be attainable. Taken separately, the two regions show different levels of statistical development. The project takes into due consideration this fact so that actions will be scaled up in order to focus more on the definition of the national strategies, in the case of Latin American and Caribbean pilot countries, and more on technical assistance, training and advisory missions, in the case of Asia-Pacific countries.

Having an improved system of macroeconomic indicators that incorporate, among other things, environmental aspects (i.e. gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for losses of natural capital), is of paramount importance for the formulation of evidence-based public policies in support of sustainable development. In this line, the System of National Accounts 2008 and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts 2012 provide the framework the international standards need to respect when the system of macroeconomic and environmental indicators is being improved.

The countries participating in the project cover the three main geographic and language areas of the Latin America and Caribbean region (South America, Central America and the Caribbean), and include Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Jamaica and Uruguay. The four pilot countries in the Asia-Pacific region include two from Asia and two from the Pacific subregion.

Objective:

To strengthen the production and use of basic economic and environmental statistics derived from the System of National Accounts 2008 and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts 2012 in the design of public policies, with the specific goal of ensuring sustainable development in the Latin American, Caribbean and Asia-Pacific countries

Expected accomplishments:

  • Adoption by the target countries of the main international recommendations contained in the System of National Accounts 2008 and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts 2012
  • Increased awareness by policymakers of national and environmental accounts to inform the design of public policies aimed at ensuring sustainable development

Implementation status:

In progress.