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New ECLAC policy brief outlines areas for improving national statistics in the Caribbean

By ECLAC

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(PRESS RELEASE) – The data revolution for sustainable development has heralded a renewed focus on evidence-based policy making in policy planning and implementation, but the legal foundation for the production of official statistics to inform these processes has lagged among most Caribbean countries.

By incorporating and supporting the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (UNFPOS) in national statistical legislation, Caribbean countries will improve the quality of and timeliness in the dissemination of official statistics. This can be achieved by revising current statistical laws or creating new legislation, as required.

A new policy brief from ECLAC Caribbean highlights areas of consideration for policy makers to ensure that official statistics produced by Caribbean countries are of the highest quality and in conformity with international standards.

Entitled, `Incorporating the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics in Caribbean national statistical legislation’, the brief explains that “a legal framework which adequately responds to these challenges is a critical enabling factor for NSS (National Statistical Systems) to meet their national statistical obligations as well as to respond to the 2030 Agenda’s demand for data.”

The 2030 Agenda has brought about a renewed interest in official statistics, including a recognition of the importance of national incorporation of the UNFPOS. Therefore, it is an opportune time for Caribbean countries to review their statistical legislation with a focus on fully incorporating the UNFPOS in order to facilitate and improve the production and dissemination of quality official statistics in the subregion.

To address the gaps in statistical legislation identified in this Policy Brief, several recommendations are provided for Caribbean countries seeking to revise their laws. Implementation of these will ensure that the UNFPOS are fully incorporated in national statistics acts, laws, and ordinances.

The recommendations include guaranteeing National Statistical Offices’ (NSOs) independence and impartiality; establishing scientific standards, codes of professional ethics and quality management frameworks; removing barriers for NSOs to collect administrative data from other government bodies; and enabling electronic data provision and dissemination, information-sharing agreements, and microdata access.

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