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Asia-Pacific countries adopt declaration to improve data

Asia-Pacific countries adopt declaration to improve data and statistics to drive sustainable development policies

Bangkok (ESCAP News) -- Countries in Asia and the Pacific on Friday adopted a declaration that will strengthen national statistical systems to present a more complete picture of the region's development, and support good governance, health and human rights.

The declaration, ‘Navigating Policy with Data to Leave No One Behind,’ was agreed at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Sixth Committee on Statistics held in Bangkok from 16 to 19 October.

The Committee brought together high-level policymakers with leaders of National Statistical Systems to identify transformative, collective actions to advance the regions progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which calls for high-quality data that is accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability and geographic location, along with public-private partnerships to support innovative use of new data sources to inform policymaking.

In his opening remarks, the Officer in Charge of ESCAP Mr. Hongjoo Hahm called on policymakers to push the regional agenda for strengthening data and statistics in their respective countries, with the support of National Statistical Offices and other ministries.

“This is in an important declaration and high-level policy dialogue,” said Mr. Hahm. “I hope the policymakers have witnessed the strength of the statistical community and their desires for their collective vision, but most importantly, the actions they are requesting that call for a whole of government approach to strengthen data and statistics throughout our region,” he said.

The declaration calls on governments to make nine commitments to strengthen and transform national statistical systems in support of the 2030 Agenda. It also calls on development partners to support national statistical systems and on ESCAP facilitate its implementation.

In his keynote address, H.E. Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Royal Thai Government noted some of the key challenges of the changing statistical landscape, particularly in relation to big data and the need for data protection.

“Every ministry is starting to think not only of big databases, but also how safe the data is,” he said. “The Thai Government is designing many aspects of our data centre so that we can manage the data well and provide the best data security and data protection for individuals. Thailand stands ready to work with the Committee as well as ESCAP to ensure that no one is left behind.”

In his remarks, Dr. Samaychnah Boupha Deputy Minister and Chief Statistician, Ministry of Planning and Investment Lao PDR added that Lao’s statistical legislation enables the Lao National Statistics Bureau to take full advantage of new, innovative and frontier technologies. “The Lao PDR Government is committed to a strong, relevant and trusted official statistical system,” he said.

The ESCAP Committee on Statistics is held every two years to support the collective vision and framework for action by the Asia-Pacific statistical community of advancing official statistics for the 2030 Agenda.

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