Pacific Small Islands Developing States - Statement at United Nations Statistical Commission


Statement of H.E. Ms. Marlene Moses

Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Nauru to the United Nations

Chair of the Pacific Small Island Developing States,

At the 47th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission

New York, Monday 8th March, 2016

Mme. Chair,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the 12 Pacific Small Island Developing States. We associate with the statement delivered by the Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) and with the statement delivered by the Kingdom of Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

At the outset, we thank the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) for work to develop a global indicator framework. We recognize that the completion of this task on the timeframe set by the 2030 Agenda was a substantial challenge, and commend the Group for its work.

As regards to the development of data and indicators for the 2030 Agenda, we would like to make the following points: 

  1. We share the view that the adoption of this report does not conclude the work of the IAEG-SDGs. Follow up and review is a dynamic process, and the indicators themselves require additional refinement, especially methodologies. As work continues, it should be open and inclusive.
  2. Despite work in progress, we are ready to get started. The Report of the IAEG-SDGs should be adopted by the Commission without further modification to the Global Indicator Framework. Though we understand that the framework is not perfect, the fact stands that 241 indicators represents a four-fold increase over the 60 in the MDG Agenda. In the Pacific, we are introducing additional indicators at the regional and national levels, and would encourage countries seeking to introduce additional indicators to do the same.
  3. National ownership is key to the success of the global indicator framework. With this aim, technical agencies in the Pacific undertook a matching exercise last year, seeking to identify 3-5 core indicators per SDG which could best measure success, and identified 62 headline priority indicators. We are pleased to report that of these 62, 50 are captured in the current set of Global Indicators. Although we would like to see all 62 represented globally, in the spirit of not re-opening this report of the IAEG-SDGs, we will endeavor to implement these headline indicators at the regional and national levels. 
  4. We must scale up investment in national statistical systems in order to measure the 2030 Agenda. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network estimates that countries eligible for international development assistance, “will need to spend US$1 billion a year to upgrade their statistical systems and carry out regular data collection for the SDGs.” Our national statistical offices are not equipped yet for the challenge of measuring the 2030 Agenda. We need to mobilize resources immediately in order to provide baselines and benchmarks for monitoring the 2030 Agenda.  Without a truly transformative agenda for official statistics, we will be left behind.
  5. The challenges associated with data collection are magnified in small islands, with small National Statistical Offices (NSOs) and dispersed populations. Also, standardized statistical approaches and methodologies can present a distorted picture of the conditions in small island states. Therefore, both in terms of assistance and in terms of assessment frameworks, we must consider the special case of SIDS.
  6. Finally, we have consistently called for standardized reporting templates, to reduce our reporting burdens. Wherever possible, data and information from existing mechanisms should be used. This small step will have considerable importance for our already strained national statistical offices.


I thank you, Mme. Chair.