The establishment of a Pacific Statistics Methods Board (PSMB) was approved at the 5th Regional Conference of Heads of Planning and Statistics (HOPS) held at the Headquarters of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea, New Caledonia, in November 2017.
The PSMB will ensure relevant best practice methods and standards are documented for the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of all Official Statistics, and other statistical indicators and issues as appropriate; it will ensure that such statistics are ‘fit for purpose’ for use in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) for a suite of core censuses and surveys. These core collections will include housing and population census, household income and expenditure surveys, demographic and health surveys, multiple indicator cluster surveys, agriculture census, labour market surveys, price indices, trade statistics and disability surveys. Other surveys and census may be included as required.
The PSMB will work closely with the PICT National Statistics Offices (NSO) to ensure that all official statistics posted through the PRISM and Pacific National Minimum Development Indicators (NMDI) websites are compliant with the agreed regional standards*. The Board will also liaise with global and regional agencies including the UN Statistics Division (UNSD), World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Programme (PFTAC), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Statistics New Zealand, to ensure that the Pacific standards comply with global best-practices.
NSOs and other agencies in national statistical systems of the PICTs will be strongly encouraged to adopt the recommended methods and standards to ensure consistency of official statistics and administrative statistics for the Pacific region.
The importance of having clearly documented methods and standards for Pacific statistics is illustrated by the fact that approximately one-half of the 132 SDG indicators selected for the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development require information derived from key national household collections including the Population Census, Demographic Health Survey, Household Income and Expenditure Survey, Labour Force Survey and Agriculture Census.
PICTs have adopted a wide range of global and regional treaties and conventions including the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway (SAMOA Pathway), the Pacific Regionalism Framework, the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Pacific Disability Forum Strategic Plan, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and many more. There is therefore an unprecedented demand for timely and reliable statistics to guide evidence-based policy formation and evaluation including reporting on these various frameworks.
The establishment of the PSMB is an important development, given the increasing demand for timely and quality statistics, and the increased interest from technical agencies in supporting data collection in the region.
*note: the NMDI database has been superseeded by the Pacific Data Hub (PDH.stat) indicator database; the PRISM project is now finished, but support to NSO website development is still ongoing.
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Chairman – Chief Methodologist, Statistics New Zealand
Vice Chairman – Government Statistician of Samoa Bureau of Statistics
International Relations, ABS
Representing the UN, UNICEF
Representing the Melanesian sub-group of Pacific countries
Representing the Micronesian sub-group of Pacific countries
Representing the Polynesian sub-region
Representing the Small Island States
Secretary to the Board – Director, Statistics for Development Division, Pacific Community