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UN forum calls for investments in stats to ensure no one, nowhere is left behind post COVID-19
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 18 - 06 - 2020

Increasing investments in official statistics as well as empowering users will be a crucial factor to support post-pandemic socio-economic recovery in the Asia-Pacific region, underscored delegates at the close of a United Nations meeting Thursday.
The Asia-Pacific Statistics Week, organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP, brought together more than 1,000 participants representing governments, national statistics offices, central banks, academia and international organizations.
Eighty-five papers from 18 countries and eight international organizations were discussed at the four-day virtual forum.
"Official statistics are essential to trust, accountability and transparency. Asia and the Pacific is poised to build back better after COVID-19 with stronger, more empowered national statistical offices supporting inclusive societies.
"They are innovating and embracing digital transformations," emphasized United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana at the closing session.
"Official statistics provide governments, businesses and civil society with the indispensable information they need to make good decisions. And they give people and their representatives the tools to have informed debates, to make choices and to hold decision makers to account.
"The Asia-Pacific Statistics Week is a wonderful example of the reach of official statistics in Asia and the Pacific," shared President of the International Association for Official Statistics John Pullinger.
The forum focused on progress made towards the Asia-Pacific Collective Vision and Framework for Action for advancing official statistics for the 2030 Agenda under five action areas.
It discussed empowering national statistical systems to meet urgent and evolving statistical needs by strengthening statistical skills, modernizing statistical business processes, legal and institutional structures, and engaging users.
While the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has placed greater demand for a wider scope of statistics, many countries in the region continue to struggle with getting the basics such as population and economic statistics right.
Participants highlighted the increasing need for regional substantive support in this area, and for more data integration to support analysis of sustainable development issues.
They also underscored the importance of engaging users to make national statistical systems more responsive and able to develop strategies for better-informed policy decisions. — WAM

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