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The CARICOM Community Council of Ministers has urged regional governments to give priority to investing in national statistical information systems in order to enable an appropriate level of resources to undertake the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of statistics to support the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
It has also endorsed the need to invest resources in statistics on a sustained basis focusing particularly on the human and financial resource needs of national statistical offices, and further urged member states to update their statistics legislation to obtain the information required for national and regional decision-making, including the mandatory submission of relevant detailed national statistics to the CARICOM Secretariat.
The recommendations and endorsements, which emerged from the eighth meeting of the Community Council held in Guyana in January, have been put into a three-year CARICOM Regional Statistical Work Programme, which was presented to public sector representatives at yesterday’s (Oct. 4) consultation on the Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s (STATIN) Green Paper entitled: ‘Quality Statistics: An Imperative for Jamaica’.
The Council, at the Guyana meeting, had mandated the CARICOM Secretariat to collaborate with the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statistics (SCCS) to prepare a programme for the improvement of quality and range of statistics available to the region.
The programme will focus on the statistical needs to establish, monitor and evaluate the CSME “and to make available statistical information for decision-making and to monitor the various international commitments and arrangements”. It will require action at the regional and national levels to submit timely and accurate data to the Secretariat in order to develop harmonized regional databases.
The Council has also endorsed the need for the statistical systems in member states to implement the regional statistical programme for establishing, monitoring and evaluating the CSME and recommended that national and regional statistical development strategies with financial proposals be prepared to enable the implementation of the Regional Statistical Work Programme.
It has encouraged regional and international organizations to collaborate and integrate their resources to enable greater efficiency in the provision of technical assistance and funding of programmes to be instituted in statistics in the region. The Council also endorsed a resolution, which urged governments to establish “an intensive sensitization programme to encourage participation and early response from all stakeholders, with respect to the production of relevant and timely statistics”.
The proposed work programme is based on six themes comprising finance, investment, economy, information and communication technology; and modernization of national statistical systems. It entails the objectives, expected outputs and actions required to achieve the objectives in each area.
When implemented at the country level, the programme will monitor good governance, improve and monitor public sector performance, and target development programmes towards poverty alleviation and a more equitable distribution of resources and opportunities.
Speaking at the consultation, which was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre downtown Kingston, Director General of STATIN, Sonia Jackson, described the three-year work programme as a very ambitious one, but noted that, “we have all started on the process in one way or another”.