MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY-GENERAL,
CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM)
AMBASSADOR IRWIN LAROCQUE
ON THE OCCASION OF THE
NINTH OBSERVANCE OF CARIBBEAN STATISTICS DAY
15 OCTOBER 2017
This year’s observance takes place against the background of another significant achievement for Regional Statistics. CARICOM Heads of Government at their Thirty-Eighth Regular Meeting (July 2017) endorsed the preparation of a Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics (RSDS) in CARICOM. The endorsement of the RSDS initiative is in addition to their endorsement of the Action Plan for Statistics at their Thirty-Seventh Regular Meeting in 2016.
These decisions on Statistics at the highest level of the Community reaffirm the recognition of the vital role of statistics in the development of the Region. It is in this spirit that the National Statistical Offices of Member States agreed that the 2016 theme – “Improving the Lives of People – Advancing the Action Plan for Statistics in CARICOM” should remain as the theme for this year’s observance of Caribbean Statistics Day.
CARICOM countries continue to face increasing demands for statistics that must be timely and reliable. Evidenced-based decision-making is important in enabling the socio-economic development of countries and for the efficient management and use of resources. In particular, given the environmental concerns faced by CARICOM countries as Small Island and low lying coastal Developing States (SIDS), the timely dissemination of high quality statistics facilitates national policy development, planning and the monitoring and evaluation required for the achievement of successful outcomes. The importance of access to reliable data is a key factor in the recovery and rehabilitation efforts following natural disasters such as the recent Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Statisticians of the Region continue to make contributions at the global level in the refinement and further development of the indicators for the monitoring and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the regional level, the process has been advanced with the identification of a draft core set of SDGs indicators grounded in regional and national priorities inclusive of the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA Pathway) and the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019.
These international and regional commitments as well as the priorities at the national level, have expanded the workload of the National Statistical Offices and other statistical producing agencies of CARICOM Member States. This has implications for the institutional framework (statistics legislation), and human resources, including training and re-tooling of staff. At the CARICOM Secretariat, the production of harmonised statistics and the provision of support to our Member States will continue to be priorities.
As Secretary-General of CARICOM, it is my intention to monitor the preparation and implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics. This is to assist in ensuring that timely, relevant and high quality statistics are produced to fulfill the national, regional and international commitments that have been made in our quest to improve the lives of our people as set out in the CSD 2017 theme.
Statisticians of the Region and, in particular, the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS) must be commended for their diligence in their ongoing efforts to produce the data needed to advance our development through evidence-based information.
I encourage all Statisticians to continue this thrust to ensure that high quality and timely statistics can be realised throughout the Community.