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Pacific Islands well represented at Bangkok ESCAP meeting

Pacific Islands well represented at Bangkok ESCAP statistics meeting

Friday 17 December 2010, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) headquarters, Noumea, New Caledonia -

A record number of Pacific Island representatives are attending the 2nd session of the Committee on Statistics established by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The committee is dedicated to the development of official statistics in the Asia-Pacific region, including tracking key socio-economic and environmental trends.

The meeting, which is being held in Bangkok, runs from 15 to 17 December.

Heads of national statistical agencies from Fiji, Nauru Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu are at the meeting (Samoa, Vanuatu and Nauru are the current chair and two vice-chairs of the Pacific Statistics Steering Committee). Also present are delegates from the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC), United Nations Population Fund (Suva), ESCAP (Pacific office) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

At the opening session, the Government Statistician of Samoa, Mr Reupena Sefuiva Mugatututi'a, was elected as one of the five vice-chairs of the Committee's newly constituted Bureau, 2010-2012. This is a very positive achievement for the region, given the committee's key role in setting strategic priorities for the work programme of ESCAP's statistics division for the next two years.

The impact of the substantial Pacific presence was immediate, with Samoa and Nauru making interventions on behalf of all Pacific Island countries and territories in the two opening sessions on vital statistics and economic statistics. Mr. Mugatututi'a stressed that these two areas are strategic priorities of the region's Ten-Year Pacific Statistics Strategy developed by SPC in consultation with countries and key technical and financial partners, also noting that a recent technical meeting in Brisbane agreed on a common way forward to improve both vital statistics and associated registration systems.

Mr Ipia Gadabu (Nauru) highlighted the high priority accorded to economic statistics in Phase 1 of the regional statistics strategy, acknowledging the stepped-up efforts being made by PFTAC and SPC in macro-economic statistics. He also highlighted the importance of improved coverage of resources statistics, particularly for agriculture and fisheries.

Summing up proceedings of the session on vital statistics, the Chief of ESCAP's Statistics Division, Ms Haishan Fu thanked Samoa's delegate for his intervention. Referring to Pacific Island efforts underway in this area under the umbrella of a long-term regional statistics strategy, she said "the Pacific was leading the Asia-Pacific region in its efforts to improve its vital statistics and pursue a coordinated regional strategy to achieve tangible outcomes".


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