Prime Minister of Grenada, the Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell is on a mission to solicit increased support for the development of quality statistics.
His mission comes in the wake of the approval of the CARICOM Statistics Action Plan last year, and as part of efforts to advance the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The Prime Minister, who is CARICOM’s Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Science and Technology, laid out his vision and plans Wednesday during an address to the PARIS21 Annual Board Meeting held in Paris, France.
Statistics, he said, had become an indispensable tool in the democratic process of countries, in all facets of society and in the development of sectors and industry.
“Because of the increasing use of statistics in many areas of our lives, it has become very desirable to understand and practise statistical thinking. It is about improving the lives of people.
“Statistics creates transparency, as citizens are able to examine the decisions made by the government and local authorities by ensuring accountability,” he said.
Prime Minster Mitchell highlighted the challenges CARICOM Member States and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) encountered as they moved to develop reliable, high quality and timely statistics while facing increasing demands and decreasing or stagnating budgets.
He pointed to the important role being played by CARICOM and the efforts the regional grouping was making as “one Community” to strengthen regional cooperation in statistics. The Common Regional Statistical Work Programme; the CARICOM Model Bill; the CARICOM Code of Ethics; the Resolution on Strengthening Statistical Capacity; and census-taking in the Region which is characterised by a regional census strategy, were among the regional initiatives he said could help in optimising scares resources.
Implementation of the Statistics Action Plan, he said, will lead to the:
- Strengthening the National Statistical Systems in countries by addressing the issue of funding of the National Statistical Office (NSO) and other producing agencies, staffing, legislation, education, training and development.
- Revolutionising our statistical processes through ICT by enabling the upgrade of the IT infrastructure in the National Statistical Offices and Systems in relation to the production and dissemination of statistics.
- Promoting careers in statistics through greater infusion of statistics in the education system to lead to the development of data scientists;
- Promoting the professionalisation of statistics in CARICOM; and
- Supporting a regional approach to the development of statistics. Especially as it relates to government’s support of the Regional Statistical Work Programme and the Overarching CARICOM Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics and by extension the OECS Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics.
Implementing the Action Plan, he pointed out, must be a priority for the Caribbean as efforts moved apace to develop capacity to deliver on the SDGs and National Strategic Plans.
“The issue of Capacity Development in SIDS must be a collaborative effort with our Development Partners for there to be sustainability in our initiatives. Although our Governments have an important role to play in the development of statistics and in allocating more resources to this cause, CARICOM alone will not be able to implement its Action Plan for Statistics.
“This is why, on behalf of all SIDS, I want to solicit greater support from our development partners especially, as we are required to make huge investments into the development of statistics in order to advance the 2030 development agenda,” Prime Minister Mitchell said.
He advocated for increased collaboration among stakeholders, regional organisations, national statiscal offices and development partners. The issue of capacity-building, he said, had to be aggressively addressed by SIDS.
“I therefore make a clarion call to development partners to support initiatives like the Action Plan for Statistics, which recommends the best approach to capacity-building,” he added.