The 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Statistics Week (APES) closed Thursday in Bangkok with a strong focus on strengthening the capability of Member States to produce core economic statistics and improve monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Senior economic statisticians from statistical offices and central banks of countries in the region, as well as international development experts gathered at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok for the four-day forum to exchange research priorities and best practices, and help close the data gaps for sustainable development.
Economic statistics are specifically required for almost half the current indicators in the global monitoring framework for the SDGs, yet many countries continue to struggle with getting the basics right such as population and economic statistics. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve data collection in order to present a complete picture of the region’s development.
“It is critical that governments invest in national statistical systems to address monitoring needs of the SDGs,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar. “The support that different development partners give to advance statistical capacity development is crucial to promote evidence based policy making for the benefit of the regions’ most vulnerable populations.”
The forum included a two-day seminar, which covered big data, modern technologies for production of economics statistics, administrative data, System of National Accounts, Islamic finance, natural resources and communication, and the use of statistics. The seminar was held back to back with the fifth meeting of the Steering Group for the Regional Programme on Economic Statistics, where delegates outlined research priorities for the region such as the digital and creative economy.
Participants decided on priority topics for collaboration including the use of big data technologies and national accounts statistics. The forum also provided a platform to expand the knowledge repository of national studies to improve data collection.
APES was established in 2016, within the Regional Programme on Economic Statistics, to provide substantive, consistent support to countries to ensure effective production and dissemination of basic economic statistics, and share national research studies across the region.