Remarks at STATIN NSDS WorkshopJul 18, 2017
Deputy Resident Representative, Dr Elsie Laurence Chounoune
National Strategy for the Development Statistics (NSDS) Workshop
18 July, 2017
Terra Nova Hotel, Waterloo Road, Kingston 10, 9:30 a.m.
Greetings & Acknowledgements
- Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, Hon. Fayval Williams
- Director General, Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Ms. Carol Coy
- Representatives of Government
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) welcomes the launch of this National Strategy for the Development Statistics (NSDS) Workshop, which we view as a timely exercise to help ensure that the national statistical system in Jamaica is adequately equipped to monitor the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The absence of a coordinated framework to harmonize the collection of statistics among Ministries, Departments and Agencies stands in the way of timely, fulsome analysis and support to national development decision making. This strategy and associated legal amendments will be a welcome and much needed transformation in the management of data in Jamaica.
The NSDS presents a unique opportunity to advance the Roadmap for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Implementation in Jamaica, which was recently approved by Cabinet. The Roadmap, which came about as a result of a UNDP-supported UN Integrated Mainstreaming Acceleration and Policy Support Mission, calls for the harmonization of national data policy frameworks – including official statistics, open data, and monitoring and evaluation. It makes a case for enhancing the capacities of data users and other non-official data stakeholders, and exploring the potential data innovations and partnerships to plug gaps.
The NSDS is also consistent with a UNDP supported Project for Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Jamaica, which aims through one of its outputs, to enhance technical knowledge in order to produce high quality data for monitoring the SDGs. One of the key issues to be addressed by this project is the need to improve technical capacity among official data producers within Ministries, Departments and Agencies to share common quality standards that are critical to the effective monitoring of the SDGs in Jamaica as confirmed by the Roadmap. Accordingly the persons involved in the production of statistics in different MDAs will be introduced to different dimensions of quality through sectorial workshops aimed at addressing the peculiarities of the issues affecting different statistical domains.
At the recently concluded Jamaica led Caribbean Action 2030 Regional Conference on the SDGs, special attention was paid to the challenge of data gaps, and the need to address these gaps to efficiently monitor SDG implementation in the region was emphasized. This particular focus on the importance of data also became a key outcome pillar of the Partnership Agreement among countries, which is now under review before the final sign off. Some of the recommendations that came out of this conference include:
- Building the capacity in line ministries, departments and agencies in producing evidence based data.
- Organising “data literacy” courses.
- Harmonising national statistical systems.
- Increasing and deepening collaboration between universities and statistical offices.
- Prioritising regional data collection in relation to SDGs.
- Strengthening broadband infrastructure and universal internet access.
- Ensuring open data access for media and citizens.
- Setting up government data portals.
We are therefore heartened by the Paris21's intent to position countries to effectively take advantage of new opportunities presented by the SDGs and the Data Revolution. But we also urge closer examination of other challenges highlighted by Paris21 and the SDG Conference: These include ensuring that data meets user needs and demands, and sufficient funding to generate data, in particular with respect to monitoring and evaluating the SDGs.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the Data Revolution, the seeds of which were planted in 2014 when the former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed the High Level Panel to advise on the post Millennium Development Goals agenda.
We find our mandate to get on board the Data Revolution from that same High Level Panel report which stated, and I quote: “Better data and statistics will help governments track progress and make sure their decisions are evidence-based; they can also strengthen accountability. This is not just about governments. International agencies, CSOs and the private sector should be involved. A true data revolution would draw on existing and new sources of data to fully integrate statistics into decision making, promote open access to, and use of, data and ensure increased support for statistical systems. ” (HLP Report, P23)
The Data Revolution, according to Paris21 requires transformative actions generating usable data to inform decision-making, monitor progress, and to evaluate outcomes—especially with respect to the Sustainable Development Goals.
I therefore congratulate STATIN for their ongoing progress in data management and more notably for being a part of the global Data Revolution. This latest development will further strengthen the leadership role that Jamaica plays at the regional and global level on data and statistics for the SDGs.
UNDP’s commitment to national statistical development remains steadfast, and we continue to offer any technical and financial support we can mobilize to this end. UNDP works hand in hand with PARIS21 in many other countries to strengthen the readiness of national statistical systems to support implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and we extend this offer of continuing collaboration and support to STATIN. We invite other development partners to support the development of the new National Strategy for Development Statistics and to ensure that your efforts are coordinated to strengthen the National Statistical System in Jamaica.