2018 FEMM: Regional Initiatives To Improve Statistical Services For Pacific Countries

 

FORUM ECONOMIC MINISTERS MEETING

AND

FORUM ECONOMIC OFFICIALS MEETING

25-27 April 2018

Koror, Palau

 

         

STANDING AGENDA ITEM

REGIONAL INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE STATISTICAL SERVICES FOR PACIFIC COUNTRIES

 

Summary of Issue
This paper which has been prepared by the IMF’s Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC) and the Pacific Community (SPC), provides a joint update from on their respective regional initiatives for strengthening economic and social statistics in Pacific Island Countries and Territories, through the implementation of the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS) 2011-2020.

 

  1. Issues

The following are statistical issues noted by PFTAC and the SPC. Addressing these issues is critical to the success of the compilation of better economic statistics and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicators:

 

  • In an increasingly data-driven world, more effort and expenditure is urgently required in many countries to create a more level playing field for economists/statisticians in the civil service, to encourage highly skilled staff to apply and to encourage better staff retention. Staff numbers, skill levels, ICT equipment and facility standards in statistics offices almost always fall below those observed in the policy departments that form the main users of the estimates produced. For example, there tends to be at least twice as many staff analysing and forecasting Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the finance ministries/treasuries than there are compiling GDP in official statistics offices. This imbalance needs to be addressed.

 

  • Explicit ministerial support is requested to allow statistics agencies to access tax, trade, births and deaths, and other administrative records. It will enable them to estimate GDP, international merchandise trade statistics (IMTS) and demographic and social estimates rapidly and more cheaply than via surveys. It will also support future estimates of quarterly GDP, monthly IMTS estimates, and routine demographic and social statistics, which will greatly enhance surveillance and policy work. Many countries already have good statistics and revenue legislation that supports data-sharing in place, but institutional inertia and culture often cause blockages. PFTAC and SPC provide assistance where pertinent to update and/or develop Memoranda of Understanding on data-sharing, supported by advocacy work, but high level commitments and mandates are needed to allow data-sharing to take place as intended in local legislation.

 

  • PFTAC and SPC strongly recommend that statistics offices publish advance release of calendars and statistical development plans on their websites and requests ministerial support to drive this change. These both inform users of forthcoming estimates and act as a powerful catalyst for compilers and managers to develop detailed resource plans. Furthermore, responsible ministries may use them as performance indicators. Much thinking on ways to improve dissemination has focused on sophisticated, and more centralised alternatives. PFTAC and SPC do not see basic dissemination standards in conflict with these grander plans – rather they see them as essential precursors of more detailed and timely regional dissemination work.

 

 

 

 

  1. Discussion

 

  1. PFTAC and the SPC continue to be the most active and broad-based players in statistical developments in the Pacific region, serving 16 and 22 members, respectively. Figure 1 illustrates their member countries and where they overlap.

 

Figure 1: PFTAC and SPC member countries

 

 

 

  1. PFTAC provides technical assistance to its members on building local capacity and improving the quality, range and timeliness of national accounts statistics (GDP); government finance statistics (GFS); and external sector statistics (ESS), in the context of international standards and best practice. Further regional support is provided by IMF headquarters and, for a limited number of countries, its technical assistance office based in Bangkok.

 

  1. SPC’s Statistics for Development Division (SDD) largely focuses on social statistics, though also provides assistance on the development, implementation and compilation of IMTS, business registers, and price indices.

 

  1. Various other development partners also provide valuable statistical support in the region – refer to Table B2 on Areas of Lead and Secondary Technical Assistance Responsibility: Summary in Annex 2. More detail on each agency’s work is provided below and in Annexes 1 and 2, which provide details on all work done in 2017 by PFTAC and SPC, respectively.

 

  1. PFTAC support to Statistics Initiatives in the Pacific

 

  • PFTAC highlights for 2017
  1. In calendar year 2017, 219 person days of national accounts and ESS TA were provided to 15 countries over 19 in-country missions and two sub-regional workshops. The PFTAC real sector resident advisor contributed 121 days with the remaining 99 days provided by short-term experts. On GFS, PFTAC conducted 9 in-country and 3 remote assistance GFS TA missions and one regional training workshop. The total mission days’ amounts to 145, of which 88 person days by the PFTAC GFS resident advisor and 57 by short-term experts.

 

  1. The main themes for national accounts and ESS assistance in 2017 were:
  • to develop access to/the use of administrative data alongside and/or in place of survey data in Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu; in particular, where available, the use of high-frequency sales tax returns to estimate value-added by area by type of industry;

 

  • to plan and/or conduct work to make estimates more accurate by rebasing constant price estimates of GDP to a more appropriate, recent base year in Cook Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu;

 

  • to improve various outdated methods and expand coverage towards consistency with the System of National Accounts 2008 (SNA 2008) and the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, 6th Edition (BPM6) in most countries; and

 

  • to improve timely dissemination and reporting in nearly all countries. While data and methods saw good gains, staff numbers and skills levels remain critically low in many countries and dissemination of core statistics on national websites is mostly slow and incomplete.

 

  1. The main themes for GFS assistance in 2017 were:

 

  • mapping of the national chart of accounts (CoA) to the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 (GFSM 2014) with CoA reforms underway in the Cook Islands, Fiji and Tonga;

 

  • compilation and dissemination of GFS for the budgetary central government for internal use, the GFS Yearbook and IMF surveillance with an increase in reporting from eight to eleven member countries and;

 

  • expanding coverage to the general government with progress in data preparation in Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu. Overall progress and improvements were made by Papua New Guinea by introducing the GFSM 2014 standards in its national budget volumes I and II.

 

  • PFTAC’s future work and challenges
  1. PFTAC’s overarching statistical objective will remain as before: to assist with the production of more reliable and timely economic statistics. Its advisors will continue to provide TA on national accounts and GFS capacity, data sources and methods over the next three years via in-country missions, regional and sub-regional workshops and attachments, supplemented by short-term experts contracted in those domains as well as limited short-term expert support on ESS. Their work will be guided and monitored using the IMF’s updated RBM frameworks for the national accounts, GFS and ESS.

 

  1. The availability of good quality, core economic statistics seems to be subject to an increasing risk due to largely external demands for further outputs. Where such demands are associated with additional funding, small statistics offices are naturally keen to accept new challenges, but with low staff numbers, low capacity due to skills shortages and staff turnover and weak domestic commitments, these projects are very commonly cited when PFTAC and the IMF investigate publication delays.

 

  1. It is hoped a renewed effort by PFTAC and development partners on PESTAC to encourage better coordination between TA providers, part of which it is hoped will signpost upcoming external demands further in advance, but there remains a large responsibility on the part of those making the demands that they assess their potential impact on business-as-usual, especially where it is already under great pressure.

 

  1. Providing remote support to Pacific countries is an important yet largely unquantified aspect of PFTAC’s TA work that helps to complete tasks that are outstanding at the end of in-country missions as well as to resolve ad hoc issues faced by local compilers. PFTAC works hard to address these demands quickly and satisfactorily, but its resources are also in limited supply.

 

  1. In 2018, the IMF will launch a new initiative, ‘Data for Development’,[1] that will aim to complement all ten regional IMF TA centres’ capacity-building activities via four distinct work modules:

 

Module 1: Sustain and expand the Financial Access Survey

 

Module 2: Address data needs and quality concerns via submodules for:

  1. real sector statistics (development of high-frequency indicators, source data for core outputs and real property price indices);
  2. external sector statistics (enhance trade statistics, deepen financial account statistics); and
  • GFS (development of high-frequency GFS and debt data, provide risk-based support for fiscal issues, enhance institutional measurement, expand scope of flow and stock positions)

 

Module 3: Online learning via eight bespoke courses

 

Module 4: Provision of IT support for data systems and software

 

  1. Of these modules, perhaps of key interest in terms of complementarity are Modules 2 and 3. PFTAC will aim to work alongside IMF staff to provide input to module content as well as to raise local awareness of the new resources on offer.

 

  1. SPC support to Statistics Initiatives in the Pacific

 

  • SDD Highlights
  1. In 2017 the Statistics for Development Division of SPC, in line with Phase 2 of the Ten-Year Pacific Statistics Strategy and in collaboration with technical partners has:

 

  1. Provided technical assistance to its member countries in developing the National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDS)

SPC has developed the NSDSs in partnership with the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21).

 

Table 1: NSDS Progress among member countries

PICT NSDS Status
Samoa Completed
Cook Is Completed
Vanuatu Completed
Solomon Is Completed
Papua New Guinea Completed
FSM Under development
Fiji Under development
Tonga Under development
Nauru Under development
Tokelau Planned
Tuvalu Planned
Marshall Is Not yet planned
Niue Not yet planned
Palau Not yet planned

 

Strengthened the development and use of standards and classifications

 

  • The Pacific Standard Classification of Occupation: derived from the International Labour Organization (ILO’s) international standard, the regional classification better reflects the world of work in the Pacific region whilst at the same time facilitates comparison of occupation statistics regionally and internationally. A major use of it will be for classifying occupation information collected in population censuses and other surveys.

 

  • SPC collaborated with the Oceania Customs Organisation to derive the first ever Pacific Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System using the World Customs Organization (WCO) PICTs’ customs administrations, national statistical offices (NSOs) and partner organisations were widely consulted in order to identify regional goods internationally traded to not only make the classification useful for countries in the Pacific to use, but for SDD to also develop the Pacific Commodity Trade (PAC COMTRADE) database. PAC COMTRADE is supported by the Forum Economic Ministers (Para 49 and 50 of PIFS 2014 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) Action Plan).

 

  • QGIS for Censuses, Surveys, and Analysis: a new manual developed with tutorial material explains how most mapping operations currently performed by a NSO can be undertaken using QGIS. The tutorials utilise Pacific datasets to show users how to get from A to B. The draft version of this manual is available from http://sddinnovations.spc.int/.

 

  1. Provided technical assistance in the compilation of social and economic statistics through training, workshops, attachments, in-country visits, and the facilitation of South-South cooperation. On occasions, particularly with the small island states, SPC has also provided capacity supplementation to NSOs:

 

  • 2020 Round of Pacific Population and Housing Censuses (2015-2024): Tonga census preliminary results were released in January 2017 and Vanuatu post-tropical Cyclone Pam, Mini Census Report Volume 1 was published in July 2017.
  • Demographic and Health Survey (DHS): Solomon Island Demographic and Health Survey Report was released in June 2017 along with topic based factsheets and indicators.
  • Agricultural and fisheries statistics: in collaboration with SPCs Land Resources Division and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) technical support was provided on 2017 Agriculture Censuses in the Pacific to the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands and Fiji.
  • Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES): Survey completed and data available for Survey completed but data will be available in the first quarter of 2018 for Tuvalu, Niue and Cook Islands.
  • Prices: Tokelau consumer price index (CPI) rebased and published. Tonga, Palau and FSM, new CPI weights and basket of goods and services updated, first publication expected in 2018.
  • Business Statistics: Statistical Business Register was set-up in American Samoa.
  • International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS): technical assistance was provided to American Samoa, Tokelau, CNMI, RMI and Vanuatu.
  • Civil Registration System: Technical support missions focused on supporting the development of national civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) coordination frameworks and plans were made to Tuvalu, Samoa, American Samoa, and the Cook Islands.
  • Sustainable Development Goal Pacific Headline Indicators: SPC and PIFS have led the regional process. The set of regional sustainable development indicators endorsed by Leaders at the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Samoa, in 2017, as part of the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development is given in Table B3 of Annex 2.

 

  1. Disseminate statistics/information: A User Focus Survey was undertaken to enable SDD to better understand user requirements in order to guarantee that dissemination activities in the future are well aligned with users’ product and service needs. Data continues to be disseminated through:

 

  • Pacific Regional Information System (PRISM) http://prism.spc.int
  • National Minimum Development Indicator (NMDI) spc.int/nmdi database will migrate into a SDG database – will help to monitor the 132 Pacific Regional indicators.
  • Population Geographic Information (PopGIS) http://prism.spc.int/regional-data-and-tools/popgis2
  • Infographics: help countries produce simple infographic posters to get powerful messages across to the general public
  • Pocket Summary http://sdd.spc.int/en/
  • Factsheets
  • Coastal Mapping Project https://goo.gl/GhQmcV
  • Pacific Data Library: http://pdl.spc.int
  • LiveChat to provide better user engagement
  • Social Media e.g. twitter
  • SDD has set up a SDD Innovations website to allow users a sneak preview of current projects early on in the development lifecycle, and a mechanism to provide feedback. This improves transparency and buy-in. http://sddinnovations.spc.int/ – Open Data Portal is one such innovation.

 

  1. SPC aspires to be the preferred information source in the Pacific region, from which other users may draw data avoiding overlaps, though recognises the complexities of this vision within the context of major existing and planned data initiatives from other international organisations active in the region.

 

  1. Heads of Planning and Statistics Meeting (HOPS): The fifth meeting of HOPS, was held at the SPC Headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia from 14 to November 2017. Representatives from PICTs NSOs and Planning Offices, development partners and international organisations and SPCs metropolitan members, Australia, France and New Zealand attended. The meeting endorsed the TYPPS third phase 2018-2020 and SDDs current strategic focus:

TYPPS phase 3 centres on four development objectives:

  • (i) improve regional statistics system coordination and governance;
  • (ii) co-ordinate census & survey technical support and social statistics methods board;
  • (iii) improve data quality, analysis and packaging; and
  • (iv) deliver user focused data dissemination products and services.

 

Furthermore, the strategic focus identifies five strategic organisational objectives:

  • (i) improve strengthen engagement and collaboration with member countries and

partners;

  • (ii) strengthen technical and scientific knowledge and expertise;
  • (iii) address members’ development priorities through multi-disciplinary approaches;
  • (iv) improve planning, prioritisation, evaluation, learning and innovation; and
  • (v) enhance the capabilities of our people, systems and process.

 

The Outcomes Document can be viewed on http://hops.spc.int/

 

  • SDD Challenges
  1. The challenges faced by SPC-SDD in the implementation of its strategic plan echo those set out by PFTAC. NSO resource constraints, a limited capacity to attract and retain skilled staff, and increased demand for quality statistics and SDG indicators create complexities in the successful implementation of the programmes of SPC and PFTAC. These issues are reflected in the recommendations, and we believe that endorsement of the recommendations at the ministerial level through FEMM, will serve to enhance the effectiveness of the technical assistance programmes on economic statistics.

 

  1. Furthermore, due to reduced donor budgets, SPC faces resource constraints in 2018 that could have an impact on its technical assistance work and work relating to SDGs. Consequently, SPC has taken on a Systems Leader role that would see it broker and collaborate more with partners, as well as focus more on the National Statistical System rather than on National Statistics Offices only.

 

 

 

Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC) and the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva

3 April 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 


ANNEX 1: DETAILED SUBMISSION BY PFTAC

 

Regional Statistics Initiatives

PFTAC

Status report, March 2018

 

  1. Background and operational context
    • PFTAC was established in Suva, Fiji in 1993 as the first of ten IMF Regional Technical Assistance Centres (RTACs) around the world. It employs seven advisors in the fields of economic statistics, financial sector supervision, public financial management, revenue administration and macroeconomic programming.

 

  • Its operations are mainly funded via contributions from its donor partners: the Asian Development Bank, Australia, the European Union, Korea and New Zealand. Recipient countries also finance around 10 percent of operations since the start of fifth financing phase, as well as offering in-kind support through hosting regional events. The IMF contribution finances the coordinator and the running costs of the office, including local support staff. Following detailed stakeholder engagement, PFTAC entered its Phase V funding cycle in November 2016, which runs up to April 2022.

 

  • PFTAC employs two resident statistics advisors, providing technical assistance (TA) on the national accounts (largely on GDP but also on external sector statistics (ESS)) and GFS as well as contracting short-term experts in those fields to ensure good coverage of its sixteen member countries. PFTAC’s work splits into bilateral in-country missions and multilateral workshops, with the overall aims of improving local capacity and the quality, range and timeliness of official statistics. Around 150-200 person days of assistance per annum is provided on GDP and GFS respectively, split across approximately 30 in-country missions and regional workshops. PFTAC also currently administers the Pacific Economic Statistics Technical Assistance Coordination (PESTAC) group, a new, virtual association of regional experts linked by a shared, online calendar of TA activities.

 

  • PFTAC’s statistics TA is complemented by additional IMF support in the region. Since May 2017, Nauru, PNG, Samoa, Timor-Leste, and Tonga have been eligible to request TA funded through the IMF’s Technical Assistance Office for Laos and Myanmar (TAOLAM). Further regional support on economic statistics is provided directly by the IMF, which promotes internationally comparable statistical standards through its own TA missions, as well as running training courses at its Washington DC headquarters and at the Singapore Training Institute (STI).

 

  • Advisors very consciously operate in multiple contexts. The primary context is under IMF’s Results-Based Management (RBM) frameworks for the national accounts and GFS. These set out tailored multi-year programs for each country in terms of improvements to data, methods and capacity, which in turn define the incremental tasks for each in-country mission. They also operate within the context of the TYPSS, working closely with the SPC and other development partners to monitor and address gaps and overlaps in statistical TA provision.

 

  1. Technical assistance activities in 2017
    • Table below provides details of all the national accounts, ESS and GFS in-country TA missions and regional/sub-regional workshops provided by PFTAC in calendar year 2017.

 

 


Table A1: PFTAC technical assistance by country/topic, calendar year 2017

Beneficiary country GFS GDP ESS
Cook Islands Data for quarterly GFS; proposals for development of new chart of accounts. [July (5 days)] Progress towards rebasing; assistance compiling latest quarterly estimates. [March (21 days)] Development of estimates for 2015; reduction in data gaps, especially primary income flows. [March, September (41 days)]
Fiji Data needed for the compilation of GFS for the general government. [April (12 days)] Further development of new quarterly measure of GDP by production. [April, May, June (15 days)]
Federated States of Micronesia Compilation of budgetary central government and state government data for the GFS Yearbook. [Remote (5 days)]
Kiribati Refer to the note on workshops. [August (4 days)] Further development of GDP by production and forthcoming measure of GDP by expenditure [August (21 days)]
Marshall Islands Compilation of budgetary central government data for the GFS Yearbook. [Remote (5 days)] Local system training and independent GDP compilation practice. [October (10 days)]
Nauru Public sector delineation; bridge table, GFS data time series and budget summary statement compiled. [September (16 days)] Supplementation to produce latest GDP estimates plus data/methods improvements. [September (12 days)]
Niue Supplementation to produce latest GDP estimates plus data/methods improvements. [February (16 days)] Compilation of basic balance of payments estimates. [February (4 days)]
Papua New Guinea Improved GFS budget summary tables and expanded coverage. [October (12 days)] System review; improved use of administrative data; organizational training. [February, November (23 days)] Data improvements; development of international investment position. [February (21 days)]
Palau Compilation of budgetary central government data for the GFS Yearbook. [Remote (5 days)] Local system training and independent GDP compilation practice. [October (10 days)]
Samoa Improved data for budgetary central government; updates to recording of intergovernmental grants. [September (12 days)] Assistance in rebasing GDP by production. [June, October (23 days)]
Solomon Islands Assistance in rebasing GDP by production. [March (8 days)]
Timor-Leste Classification, compilation and dissemination of GFS for the general government. [February (20 days)]
Tokelau Creation of new GDP system and time series of GDP by production plus system training. [March (21 days)]
Tonga Improved coverage of institutions, transactions and stocks; construction of bridge tables. [June (11days)] Improvements to use of tax data in GDP; further development of business register. [February (12 days)]
Tuvalu Supplementation to produce latest GDP estimates plus data/methods improvements. [February (23 days)]
Vanuatu Streamlined interagency GFS compilation; compilation of core GFS dataset and expanded coverage. [November (20 days)] Updates to industry data and methods in GDP by production plus core training. [August (12 days)]
Workshops GFS consolidation and fiscal analysis of data; also, TA for Kiribati on public sector coverage, updates to general government. [August (22 days)] GDP compilation and forecasting multisector events held in FSM and Fiji. [April, October (10 days)]

 

  1. Regional coordination work

 

 

  • Following agreement at the 13th Pacific Statistics Steering Committee, PFTAC created a virtual working group, the Pacific Economic Statistics Technical Assistance Coordination group (PESTAC), the aims of which are to identify overlaps and gaps in TA and encourage greater bilateral and multi-lateral collaboration. Membership of the group has initially comprised the ABS; PFTAC; the SPC; the US Graduate School; and the World Bank. The touchstone for the group is a shared online calendar[2] listing each member’s duty days by country and topic.

 

  • PFTAC’s statistics duty days are shown in the PESTAC calendar up to the end of financial year 2017/18.  Further thought and input is needed to make active membership of the PESTAC group part of development partner’s still isolated planning and delivery processes.  It is clearly recognised that development partners’ resources are stretched, but the group’s function has been designed to have as small an impact as possible on members’ time.  Extensions to the membership are also needed – for example, to include TA provided by the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNEX 2: DETAILED SUBMISSION BY SPC

 

Regional Statistics Initiatives

Pacific Community

Status report, March 2018 by Statistics for Development Division

 

  1. Mandate

The Pacific Community (SPC), in line with the mandate from the Pacific Plan and guided by the Ten-Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS) 2011–2020, provides technical assistance, including professional development of national counterparts, to its member countries[3] in statistics.  It does this through workshops, attachments, in-country visits, and the facilitation of South-South cooperation. On many occasions, particularly with the smallest Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS), SPC provides capacity supplementation to National Statistical Organisations (NSOs).

  • Heads of Planning and Statistics Meeting (HOPS)

Fifth meeting of HOPS was held at the SPC Headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia from 14 to 16 November 2017. Representatives from Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) NSOs and Planning Offices, development partners and international organisations and SPCs metropolitan members, Australia, France and New Zealand attended.

The Outcomes Document can be viewed on http://hops.spc.int/

TYPPS third phase 2018-2020 was endorsed at HOPS. SPC’s Statistics for Development Divisions (SDDs) current strategic plan covering this period focuses on:

Four development objectives:

  1. improve regional statistics system coordination and governance;
  2. co-ordinate census & survey technical support and methods board;
  3. improve data quality, analysis and packaging;
  4. deliver user focused data dissemination products and services.

Five strategic organisational objectives:

  1. improve strengthen engagement and collaboration with member countries and partners;
  2. strengthen technical and scientific knowledge and expertise;
  3. address members’ development priorities through multi-disciplinary approaches;
  4. improve planning, prioritisation, evaluation, learning and innovation;
  5. enhance the capabilities of our people, systems and process.

The Pacific Statistics Standing Committee (PSSC) monitors the progress of TYPPS on behalf of the HOPS, the secretariat of which is SPC.

  1. National Strategy for the Development of Statistics

One of the objectives for TYPSS is for all countries and territories to have in place some form of national statistics strategy in the line with their national development strategies. The Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) continued to work in partnership with Statistics for Development (SDD) in the development of member countries’ National Strategy for Development of Statistics (NSDS).

Progress in NSDS across member countries has been quite strong during TYPSS Phase 2 (2015-2017) with 5 member countries having a NSDS in place, 4 under development and 2 planned. The plan is to try and have NSDSs for most of the member countries by the end of the current TYPSS. Progress in the development of NSDS is outlined in the table below:

Table B1: NSDS Progress among member countries

PICT NSDS Status
Samoa Completed
Cook Is Completed
Vanuatu Completed
Solomon Is Completed
Papua New Guinea Completed
FSM Under development
Fiji Under development
Tonga Under development
Nauru Under development
Tokelau Planned
Tuvalu Planned
Marshall Is Not yet planned
Niue Not yet planned
Palau Not yet planned
  1. Partnerships/collaboration for the development of Statistics in the Pacific

SPC continues to collaborate with technical agencies to strengthen technical assistance in the Pacific whilst at the same time ensuring there is no overlap of work between them through the Pacific Economic Statistics Technical Assistance Coordination Group (PESTAC).

 

    • Coordination paper

A Coordination paper has been developed and posted on the SDD Website http://sdd.spc.int/en/sdd-programmes/economic-statistics.

The Coordination Matrix extracted from the paper is given in Table B2.


 

Table B2:  Areas of Lead and Secondary Technical Assistance Responsibility: Summary Table

ABS ADB IMF/PFTAC SPC SNZ US Graduate School UNSD/ESCAP SIAP USP
Institutional setting  
Strategic planning for Economic Statistics (National strategy for the development of statistics) S S L S
Economic Data dissemination S S S L S
Statistical Infrastructure                   
Setting-up of statistical business registers S S L S S
Regional standards and classifications S S L S
Inter-agency data sharing L S S
Prices and costs  
Consumer Price Index S S S L S S
Producer Price Index S S L S
Trade Price Index S S L S S
Demand and output
National Accounts S S L S S S S
International Merchandise Trade Statistics L S S S
Income and wealth  
External Sector Statistics (Balance of payments, International investment position (IIP) and External debt) L S
Money and banking  
Monetary Statistics (Broad money and credit aggregates) L S
Government  
Government Finance Statistics (General government operations and General government debt) S L S
Natural resources and the environment  
Environmental Economic Accounting (Natural resources) S L
Number of staff * 5 5 2 1 2 5 4 4

L= Lead agency; S=supporting agency

√= discipline in which learning opportunities are provided

*= Mix of economic statisticians work in the region and other ABS staff assist in conjunction with their domestic work program.

 

  • SDD Partners

SDDs key technical partners include various United Nations (UN) agencies, such as the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO); the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the World Bank; the University of the South Pacific (USP); the Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO); the World Customs Organisation (WCO); the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat (MSG); the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS); the Pacific Island Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO); the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Statistics New Zealand (SNZ).

  • Work done

SPC Economic Statisticians:

  1. attended PFTACs 2017 Steering Committee Meeting.  A short presentation on Statistics work at SPC was made.
  2. collaborated with OCO on the Trade Workshops:
  1. 24 – 28 April 2017, workshop on the Update of the Work on the Pacific Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System 2017 (PACHS17).
  2. 14-16 August 2017, review of the excel version of the PACHS17 through a Regional Workshop.
  1. attended the OCO Conference in Guam, 2-5 May 2017.
  2. attended UNESCAPs Asia-Pacific Economic Statistics Week:
  1. 22 – 25 May 2017 – Seminar including side events. SPC is a member of two task Forces:  one on the setting-up of statistical business registers and the other on the capacity screening.
  2. 26 May 2017, Regional Program on Economic Statistics Steering Group Meeting.
  1. participated in UNs Expert Group Meeting on Classifications, 6-8 September 2017.  An update on classifications in the Pacific informed the meeting of the release of the Pacific Standard Classification of Occupation and work in progress on the PACHS17.
  2. from 7-8 December 2017, together with partners PIFS and PFTAC, attended the workshop organized by the Pacific Islands Tax Administrators Association (PITAA), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union to have Pacific Island Countries come on board and be part of OECD’s annual statistical publication on Revenue Statistics.  This publication presents a unique set of detailed and internationally comparable tax revenue data in a common format for 79 countries in four different regions, namely, Africa, Latin America and Caribbean, OECD countries and Asia and the Pacific. It also provides a conceptual framework defining which government receipts should be regarded as taxes and classifies different types of taxes. The data compiled will show revenue data by type of tax, as a percentage of GDP, and, for the different types of taxes, as a share of total taxation
  1. Standards and Classifications

SPC strives for greater harmonisation of statistical standards, classifications and systems to enable PICTs to use common tools/regional standards for statistical collections, compilations and dissemination.  Using common tools/regional standards allows data to be compared both, regionally and internationally. Highlights include:

  1. Pacific Standard Classification of Occupation (PACSCO) volumes 1: Structure and group definitions and 2: Index of occupational titles was released.  This can be accessed on https://sdd.spc.int/en/releases/130-the-pacific-standard-classification-of-occupations-2016-pacsco-2016
  2. SPC collaborated with the OCO to derive the, first ever, classification on goods internationally traded, the PACHS17 using the WCO standard.  PICTs’ customs administrations, national statistical offices (NSOs) and partner organisations were widely consulted in order to identify regional goods internationally traded to not only make the classification useful for countries in the Pacific to use, but for SDD to also develop the Pacific Commodity Trade (PAC Comtrade) database. PAC Comtrade is supported by the Forum Economic Ministers (Para 49 and 50 of PIFS 2014 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) Action Plan).  Technical assistance in the development of the PACHS17 was provided by the WCO, who also did the review of the classification.
  3. SDD recently developed a manual with tutorial material titled ‘Geographical Information System (QGIS) for Censuses, Surveys, and Analysis’. This manual explains how most mapping operations currently performed by a NSO can be undertaken using QGIS. The tutorials utilise Pacific datasets to show users how to get from A to B. The draft version of this manual is available from http://sddinnovations.spc.int/ .
  1. 2020 Round of Pacific Population and Housing Censuses (2015-2024)

Some of the highlights of the 2020 round of population censuses in the Pacific are the use of tablets for data collection, which has improved data quality and timeliness.  Other highlights are the adoption of the Pacific Core Set Questionnaire, metadata documentation through the Pacific data archive and dissemination of information through PopGIS.

    • Update of work
  1. Tonga: SPC TA to the November 2016 census included planning, census mapping/GIS, assistance and training with tablets/Survey Solutions and data cleaning/tabulation with STATA.  2020 Pacific core census questions were used. Tonga was the first country in the Pacific to use tablets in a population and housing census – 600 Samsung tablets running Survey Solutions application developed by the World Bank were used. Preliminary results were released in January 2017, with final tables released in October 2017. Data documentation will be through Pacific Data Archive and the dissemination will be through PopGIS and other mediums.  For the first time in the Pacific, Census microdata files will be released.
  2. Vanuatu: SPC TA for the 2016 Mini-census included training supervisors and enumerators on Survey Solutions. The results have been processed, and the 2016 Post-Tropical Cyclone Pam, Mini Census Report Volume 1 was published in July 2017.  Assistance was also provided with field map production and the final dataset will be disseminated via Vanuatu PopGIS.
  3. Cook Islands: the December 2016 census which used some questions from the Pacific core questions was paper based with questionnaire designed for scanning. SPC TA will be for demographic analysis and reporting.
  4. Samoa: the November 2016 Census which used some questions from the Pacific core questions was paper based with questionnaire designed for scanning. TA for scanning was provided by the Vanuatu Statistics Office under the South-South facilitation organised and funded by SPC. The 2016 Samoa Census Report was released in November 2017.
  5. Niue: the 11 March 2017 population census has used questions from the Pacific core questions and is paper based.  Data is being processed using the Census and Survey Processing System (CSPro). SPC TA includes data processing, analysis and reporting of results.
  6. Tuvalu: SPC TA to the November 2017 population census includes planning, mapping, training, technical backstopping, data cleaning/tabulation and dissemination of data via Tuvalu PopGIS.  Negotiations with Tonga led to the re-use by Tuvalu of the tablets used in the Tonga Census.
  7. Fiji:  TA to the September 2017 census was provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the SPC.  SPC TA support included census mapping/GIS, and tablets/Survey Solutions.  Learning from the Tonga experience, Fiji Bureau of Statistics purchased more than 3,000 tablets for census data collection.  Enumeration was successfully completed and a Statistical Release published within 3 months after the enumeration.  Full Report and Monographs expected by June 2018.  SPC in collaboration with the NSO will be disseminating the Fiji census dataset through the Fiji PopGIS.
  1. Demographic and Health Survey (DHS)

SPC provided TA to Solomon Islands on their DHS 2014/2015.  All work have been completed and the full 2015 Solomon Island Demographic and Health Survey Report was released in June 2017, along with topic based factsheets and indicators.

  1. Agricultural and fisheries statistics

The Pacific Strategic Plan for Agricultural and Fisheries Statistics (P-SPAFS) is a ten-year plan that aims to guide the development of agricultural and fisheries statistics in the PSIDS and to address unprecedented data demand for monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The plan will thereby increase the quality of evidence-based policymaking through collaborative efforts of national governments and the donor community.

P-SPAFS was conceived and developed by representatives from Pacific Island’s National Statistics Offices and Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries. It was subsequently developed by a Technical Working Group (TWG) that represented different geographic regions and statistical scope and capacity in the region. P-SPAFS development was supported through partnership between the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and SPC.

The Pacific Statistical Standing Committee[4] (PSSC) endorsed the Vision, Mission and Objectives of the Strategic Plan in May 2016. Heads of Fisheries endorsed P-SPAFS in March 2017 and Ministers of Agriculture endorsed P-SPAFS in October 2017.  Final endorsement for P-SPAFS was provided at the 5th meeting of HOPS in November 2017.

P-SPAFS will be officially launched at the Asia Pacific Commission of Agricultural Statistics in March 2018 and the FAO/SPC jointly published plan will be subsequently made available.

    • 2017 Agriculture Censuses in the Pacific

SPC’s SDD is working with SPC’s Land Resources Division and FAO on the following activities:

  1. Technical support to the Federated States of Micronesia’s agriculture census.  Data entry for this census is underway and data processing is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2018.

Technical assistance to Solomon Islands’ agricultural survey.  Field operations for this survey concluded in October 2017 and the data have been aggregated and cleaned.  FAO is producing the survey report in the first half of 2018.

Technical assistance to the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture in survey data editing and tabulation.

 

  1. Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES)

SPC assists NSOs from the design, collection, analysis to the dissemination of HIES.

    • HIES project timeline

The standard methodology recommends field operations of 12-months, including in-field data entry.  In consideration of this, the HIES project runs for approximately 30 to 36 months, which includes:

  1. Pre-field operations (6 – 12 months) – survey planning, budgeting, financing, questionnaire design, coding, testing, field material development (manuals, etc.), training, procurement, mapping, data entry system development, recruitment.
  2. Field operations (12 months) – implementation of survey
  3. Post-field operations (12 months) – data editing/cleaning/recoding, meta-data production, data analysis, reporting, dissemination.

The post-enumeration activities, especially the data editing is greatly facilitated if HIES field operations are well managed and in-field data entry is conducted according to defined timelines. It is aimed that the HIES report will be produced within 12-months of finalising field work, which usually includes NSO attachments to build capacity in data processing and analysis.

  • Recently completed HIES (2016/17)
  1. Tonga: finalised and publically available
  2. Tuvalu: Report and data set available in first quarter of 2018.
  3. Niue: Report and data set available in first quarter 2018.
  4. Cook Islands: Report and data set available in first quarter 2018.
  • HIES preparation (2018/19)
  1. Marshall Islands: field work scheduled for October 2018
  2. Kiribati: field work scheduled for November 2018
  3. Vanuatu: field work scheduled for mid-2018
  4. Federated States of Micronesia: field work scheduled for mid-2018
  5. PNG: planning discussions held for field work in 2018/19
  6. Samoa: field work scheduled for February 2018
  7. Fiji: field work scheduled for mid-2018
  8. Guam: field work scheduled for mid-2018, subject to securing funding
  9. Nauru: field work scheduled for 2018/2019
  10. New Caledonia: field work scheduled for 2018
  11. Tokelau: field work scheduled for 2018
  • HIES Experiment

SPC, in collaboration with the World Bank, FAO and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), will conduct a HIES experiment in the Marshall Islands, which will test the following:

  1. The implication of moving from paper-based to tablet-based collections on HIES data users, including those for poverty, national accounts and consumer price index;
  2. The implication of moving from collecting food acquisition data via a diary to using a recall-based collection method;
  3. New modules, including a food away from home, labour force, non-farm enterprise, shocks, disability, use value of assets and non-standard units of measurement.

The results of the experiment will guide the future recommended regional HIES methodology and will give consideration to identifying methods that produce high quality data at a minimum cost.

  1. Prices
    • Work completed
  1. Tokelau: Rebase of CPI completed. New series is regularly produced and disseminated since March 2017.
  2. Palau and FSM: New CPI weights and basket of goods and services updated. First publication of new series expected middle 2018.
  3. Tonga: New CPI weights and basket of goods and services updated. First publication of new series expected end of 2018.
  4. Joint workshop with ABS on CPI rebase was held 29 May – 1 June 2017.


 

 

  • Work in progress
  1. Design of Pacific CPI software initiated. Endorsement of initiative received at HOPS, 2017. Project currently at resource mobilisation stage.
  2. A Pacific CPI compilation guide is in progress, the review of which will be done by ANU. Delayed from last year. Focus of guide may switch to methodology employed by the new software.
  3. Fiji: New CPI weights derived. Review of basket of goods and services planned for start 2018. First publication of new series expected middle of 2018.

Scoping/Feasibility assessment of project for Pacific CPI database as part of SDD’s dissemination strategy.

  • Work planned

Initiation of CPI rebase tentatively planned for: Niue, Tuvalu and Cook Islands.

  1. Business Statistics
    • Work completed

TA Missions to American Samoa:

  1. 23-27 January 2017, reviewed the Quarterly Survey of Business Establishments questionnaire and suggested they set up a Statistical Business Register. Encountered difficulties in reviewing their GDP due to lack of documentation available on methodology and indicators.  However, the absence of estimates on the activities of the informal sector in the compilation was noted and recommendation was made to include it.
  2. 17-27 October accompanied by the South-South facilitator from Fiji, set-up the Statistical Business Register and developed the American Samoa Standard Industrial Classification which has been correlated to the US standard.
  • Work planned

Provision of TA to Tonga on their business survey.

  1. International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS)
    •            Work done
  1. From 23 to 27 January 2017, TA was provided to American Samoa on Trade and Business Statistics.  IMTS tables for 2013 and 2014 were reviewed, and 2015 updated.

 

  1. TA missions to Tokelau Office in Apia:
  1. 16-21 January 2017, a scoping mission to ascertain if IMTS for Tokelau could be compiled. The mission recommended using shipping manifests and stores records as the source of the data after looking at different options available.
  2. 30 October to 3 November 2017 reviewed the progress of the compilation.

 

  1. From 16 – 22 February 2017, first TA mission to Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to review their IMTS.  Review revealed that data CNMI had compiled and had assumed to be IMTS, was not trade data but shipping statistics which with a little refinement could be released as shipping statistics.  A clean start was made on the IMTS compilation: scoping was done and methodology was established.  Start was made on the compilation of data on imports from 2015.

 

  1. From 27 February to 3 March 2017, scoping mission to Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) accompanied by a South-South facilitator from Nauru.  Customs made data available from 2013 to 2016.  The mission, the South-South facilitator and the RMI Counterpart embarked on putting the data into some form of order e.g.  assigning 2-digit HS codes to commodities, but because in a lot of cases the value of imports by containers were given, the goods in them could not be assigned HS codes.  A lot of work needs to be done in RMI but had to take a pause to compile the HS classification for the Region, which is also much needed by the RMI.

 

  1. From 20 – 31 March 2017 TA was provided to Vanuatu.  Dissemination Tables have been compiled on an annual basis from 2012 to 2015 and on a monthly basis from January 2016 to January 2017

 

  •            Work in progress

A Pacific IMTS compilation guide is in progress, the review of which will be done by the UN. The finalisation of the compilation guide has been slightly delayed to accommodate developments/ improvements in the standards and classification taking place in the Region, in particular the regionalisation of the HS classification and the proposed commodity database.

  •            Work planned

The Pacific Community, in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Oceania Customs Organisation, and the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat, will be conducting a technical workshop entitled International merchandise trade statistics: Focusing on goods traded under the preferential trade agreements, from 26 February to 2 March 2018 at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva.

  1. Administrative Data “First” for the Compilation of Statistics

Use of administrative records for the compilation of statistics presents a number of advantages to a NSO, however, prior to their use, SPC assists NSOs to ensure that the data are fit for purpose.

    •           Customs Administrations

Customs is the best and the preferred source for data on IMTS.

  1. SPC continuously assists NSOs source data from Customs records.
  2. SPC in collaboration with OCO assists Customs Administrations use recommended standards and classifications so that secondary users of the data, like the NSOs, are able to use the data for the compilation of the IMTS.
  •            Civil Registration System

SPC assists countries in strengthening the collection and analysis of civil registration data as a fundamental source of population data.

  1. Education Statistics

The establishment of a regional Education Management Information Systems (EMIS) support facility in 2015 has seen during the lifetime of the project, headline achievements.  These include the facilitation of national education statistics reports in a variety of formats, capacity building and data quality improvement in annual national education data collection, Pacific compliance with international reporting requirements, strengthening of technical EMIS and national capacity to work with EMIS data, and an increased demand for high quality data by senior decision makers.

  1. Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS)

Demographic measures of fertility and mortality are routinely required by governments to understand changes in the size, structure and characteristics of populations. This data forms the core of national socio-economic planning. It is crucial for guiding the allocation of national resources and in predicting future needs of the population such as food availability, housing, road infrastructure, schools and health facilities and services among others.

While countries have multiple sources of demographic data, administrative data sources, and in particular civil registration systems are universally recognised for their fundamental function of providing governments with a continuous and permanent source of population data and statistics. Civil registration systems collect information on vital events (primarily on births, deaths[5]) as they occur, making it possible to derive annual, sub-annual and geographically disaggregated population data and statistics.

The advantages posed by well-functioning civil registration systems extend beyond the robustness and the frequency of the data that they collect, to their economic value; being possibly the most cost effective national sources of population data. While the initial costs of establishment of civil registration systems are not well established, save for their operational costs, their attributes of permanence and continuity means that they do not require heavy recurring resource investments as with census and survey operations. With the call for more rigorous reporting and inclusive of data by the 2030 sustainable development agenda, civil registration systems stand out as an ideal and recommended investment for governments.

Most Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) have incomplete systems of civil registration, and are faced with numerous challenges in establishing well-functioning systems, ranging from outdated legislation, inadequate infrastructure (including storage and archival facilities), inaccessibility of registration services by the population, inadequate human resource capacity, and weak organisational arrangements among others.

To address these weaknesses, over the past few years, PICTs have made resounding commitments and efforts towards the development of civil registration systems. In 2014, Pacific Ministers responsible for civil registration committed to the Asia Pacific decade for civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS), and the Regional Action framework for CRVS, which calls for: (i) universal registration of births, deaths and causes of death (ii) legal certification of all vital events and (iii) production of vital statistics from civil registration data. The Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS), and the Pacific Vital statistics Action plan (PVSAP) (coordinated by SPC with the support of Brisbane Accord Group[6]) further underline these commitments.

    • Work done

In the past year, the Brisbane Accord Group worked closely with PICTs in building capacity on CRVS through: (i) training, (ii) direct technical support missions based on specific country needs; (iii) development of CRVS knowledge products; (iv) supporting opportunities for peer-peer learning, through South to South country exchange visits and; (v) hosting regional experience sharing workshops. These activities are elaborated in the paragraph below:

  1. Trainings on certification of causes of death were provided to health personnel of Tuvalu, and Samoa;
  2. A regional training workshop on cause of death certification was held in Fiji ,and  was attended by 17 health professionals from 6 PICTs namely: Tuvalu, Samoa, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Kiribati;
  3. Technical support missions focussed on supporting the development of national CRVS coordination frameworks and plans were made to Tuvalu, Samoa, American Samoa, and the Cook Islands;
  4. BAG prepared a series of CRVS information fact sheets that aimed at providing a quick reference guide on various thematic areas. These can be accessed at site: http://www.pacific-crvs.org/;
  5. BAG facilitated a south- south exchange visit between Tuvalu and Niue, which was crucial in enabling the two to share their challenges and identify opportunities for improvement;
  6. BAG (through the Pacific Civil Registrars Network) supported a regional workshop that focussed on identifying strategies for development of CRVS systems that are resilient to disasters.

There have been significant improvements in CRVS systems of a number of PICTs, evidenced through the improvement of birth and death completeness rates in a number of countries. PICT governments are encouraged to continue to make financial investments into CRVS systems, while closely monitoring the performance of the systems

 

 

  1. Sustainable Development Goal Pacific Headline Indicators

SPC and PIFS have led the regional process amongst the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP)[7], United Nation agencies and Pacific Statistics Steering Committee (PSSC) members, to review and agree on a list of Pacific SDG Indicators for the 17 SDG Goals. A total of 132 out of 230+ SDG indicators were considered most relevant for the Pacific, including measures relating to climate change and oceans. Relevance to existing regional and national policy frameworks, including the SAMOA Pathway and the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, guided consultations on the indicators.

The set of regional sustainable development indicators is shown in Table 1 and was endorsed by Leaders at the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Samoa, in 2017, as part of the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development.

 

Table B3: Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators

Goal Number Sustainable Development Goal Number of Indicators
1 No Poverty 5
2 No Hunger 7
3 Good Health and Wellbeing 16
4 Quality Education 8
5 Gender Equality 11
6 Clean Water and Sanitation 3
7 Affordable and Clean Energy 4
8 Decent Work and Economic Growth 9
9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 3
10 Reduced Inequalities 7
11 Sustainable Cities and Communities 5
12 Responsible Consumption and Production 4
13 Climate Action 5
14 Life below Water 9
15 Life on Land 6
16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions 7
17 Partnerships for the Goals 18
Proxy indicators 5
132

 

This indicator set is not prescriptive for PICTs to report against. It is intended to guide efforts in further strengthening of data collection, analysis and contextualisation in the Pacific region.

The first regional sustainable development report for the Pacific is being prepared for the next Leaders Forum in 2018. This will be a joint project between PIFS, SPC, and member countries SDG Taskforces, under the governance of the Pacific SDG Taskforce.

  1. Dissemination

 

    • Improving Data Dissemination and Use in Pacific Islands Countries

The World Bank, through the Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building, is funding and overseeing a SDD implemented project that will lead to improved documentation and preservation of data sets, increased data use and dissemination through harmonisation and more significant data production through improved sample design and methods.  The project has three components:

  1. Establishment of the Pacific Community Data Archive;

Standardization of survey and census datasets (ex-post harmonization); and

Development of an optimized sampling strategy.

  • Update of work
  1. A User Focus Survey was undertaken to enable SDD to better understand user requirements in order to guarantee that dissemination activities in the future are well aligned with users’ product and service needs. Improved engagement with users and improved data dissemination will ideally then lead to better informed policy decisions. Survey was conducted in Sept/Oct 2017, with 69 respondents.
  2. PRISM: Pacific Regional Information System is a portal managed by the Statistics for Development Division which improves data accessibility and utilisation in the region. It focuses on an increase in transparency and user relevance of statistical information systems and databases across all sectors. PRISM provides an entry point to regional databases such as the NMDIs as well as country NSO websites and the PopGIS mapping application. The Prism website is www.spc.int/prism. Work completed:
  1. Fourteen Pacific Regional Information System (PRISM) NSO websites are running on the Joomla Content Management System (CMS), 12 of which have been recently upgraded. Two NSO websites are now running on WordPress. All websites are hosted either locally or at SPC, depending on individual requirements, and can be accessed through the regional PRISM portal at http://prism.spc.int.
  2. Six workshops were conducted for 36 people and 10 Noumea-based attachments.
  1. Information relating to economic statistics:  Update of the IMTS tables of Pacific countries and the Regional Economic Statistics Tables on Gross Domestic Product in Current Prices, Inflation Rates, Visitor Arrivals, IMTS and Government Finance Statistics is an on-going process to allow users access to quality up-to-date information.  The page http://sdd.spc.int/en/sdd-programmes/economic-statistics also contains information on standards and classifications for use to compile statistics in the Pacific.

 

  1. Population Estimates: Mid-year population estimates released 2016. See http://prism.spc.int/

 

  1. NMDI: National Minimum Development Indicator database continues to be regularly updated. The NMDI indicators previously provided the statistical basis for many of the annual Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in the  Pacific Regional tracking Report, compiled by the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat. Moving forward, the MDG database will migrate into an SDG database which will help to monitor the 132 Pacific Regional indicators (subset of SDGs). The current NMDI database can be accessed using the link www.spc.int/nmdi

 

  1. Mapping: SPC assists NSO’s and other line ministries to maintain census collection boundaries, produce field maps and also analyse and disseminate their data (through projects such as PopGIS). Work completed:
  1. QGIS (previously known as Quantum GIS) training was provided in CNMI (2015) to enable participants to produce field maps, collect spatial data via GPS or digitisation, perform spatial analysis and image classification.
  2. QGIS training was also provided to Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga via in-country TAs while assisting with Census Field Map production.
  1. PopGIS: Population Geographic Information System is a web-based mapping application which provides easy access to census, survey and other datasets for evidence-based decision making. Indicators can be mapped at various levels of geography from Enumeration Areas to Provinces. Satellite imagery backdrops can make interpretation of the data much easier and more “contextual”.  PopGIS websites can be accessed via this link :
    http://prism.spc.int/regional-data-and-tools/popgis2.

Work completed:  PopGIS applications recently launched were:

  1. Marshall Islands – Qtr 2 2017
  2. Nauru – Qtr 1 2017
  • New Caledonia – Qtr 1 2016
  1. Palau – Qtr 4 2016
  2. Wallis + Futuna – Qtr 2 2017

Work in progress

  1. Popgis 3 is currently being piloted (see http://sddinnovations.spc.int/popgis3/ ), with a launch anticipated in the first half of 2018. All PopGIS2 sites will be migrated over. PopGIS 3 is HTML 5 based which will work on tablets and mobile devices.
  1. Infographics: A graphic designer has been helping countries produce simple infographic posters to get powerful messages across to the general public. SDD ran 10 infographics workshops, or gave guest presentations during third-party workshops (starting in 2015), training 150 people on how to create simple infographics in Microsoft PowerPoint

 

  1. Pocket Summary: Pocket Statistical Summary allows users to access core information about PICTs in a small booklet. 2015 Pocket Summary can be accessed using the link http://sdd.spc.int/en/

 

  1. SDD produced factsheets for 10 surveys, multiple CRVS applications, and a range of infographic posters and graphics for subjects such as Palau World Health Day and Tonga 2016 Unemployment.

 

  1. Coastal Mapping Project : SDD and WorldFish have endeavoured to estimate populations 1 km, 5 km and 10 km from the coast. These distances are used to represent populations living directly on or near the coast, those that are within walking distance of the coast, and those  that are possibly too far to walk to the coast (10 km). A StoryMap has been set up to disseminate the results and a paper on the methodology used is currently being prepared. The Draft Story Map can be found at: https://goo.gl/GhQmcV. Initial figures suggest that roughly 26% of Pacific Islanders live within 1 km of the coast, 45% within 5 km and 54% within 10 km. If Papua New Guinea is excluded, these figures increase to 57%, 90% and 97% respectively.

 

  1. Pacific Data Library: http://pdl.spc.int was established with assistance from the Accelerated Data Program (World Bank and PARIS21) to provide a standardised platform to document collections and a mechanism for microdata access, should it be available. To date, 48 surveys have been published in the Pacific Data Library. This will be substantially expanded in 2018 with support from World Bank.

 

  1. Open Data Portal : SDD is planning to set up an open data portal that will be a single point of access for all aggregate statistical datasets. Everything currently contained in the NMDI database and PopGIS sites will be merged into a central user-friendly portal. All datasets will have well-structured, standardised metadata, and this metadata will also be searchable. The portal will be SDMX (Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange)-compliant and contain an Application Programming Interface (API) that allows custom applications to be developed using these data. This machine-to-machine exchange of data will also allow for automatic reporting into international frameworks such as the SDGs. The portal will contain a primary table-browser interface that allows users to navigate through themes of data, opening desired indicators. The resulting data tables will be exportable via a range of standard formats (e.g. csv, xml, JSON etc. This portal could potentially serve as the central location to warehouse all Pacific SDG indicators. More information is available at: http://sddinnovations.spc.int/

 

  1. SDD Innovations: SDD has set up an SDD Innovations website to allow users a sneak preview of current projects early on in the development lifecycle, and a mechanism to provide feedback. This improves transparency and buy-in. http://sddinnovations.spc.int/

 

  1. LiveChat:  has been set up on all SDD websites to provide better user engagement. This has been very successful, with 84 users assisted via the chat interface in five months (June–October) and 70 helpdesk tickets generated for more complex requests. In the past, SDD received possibly three or four email requests or comments a month. So, LiveChat has significantly increased engagement with users of SDD websites. LiveChat caters to those who are comfortable with ‘chatting’ and willing to engage with this type of medium. For those who prefer to use email, there is still a contact form that can be used, although this still integrates with the LiveChat ticketing system.

 

  1. Social Media: SDD has steadily increased its use of social media in the last few years, with a significant increase in the last 6–12 months posting meeting and conference activities, interesting statistics and infographics. Roughly 25% of respondents in the SDD user focus survey indicated they would like notifications via social media, with 9% currently following SDD on Twitter. SPC is merging all divisional social media accounts into the main SPC Twitter and Facebook accounts, which provides a more united SPC social media influence and access to a wider range of followers. The SDD Twitter account has roughly 1600 followers whereas the SPC Twitter account has almost 12,000. The estimated reach of each SPC Tweet is up to 120,000 people.

 

SPC aspires to be the preferred info source in the Pacific region, from which other users may draw data avoiding overlaps, though recognizes the complexities of this vision within the context of major existing and planned data initiatives from other international organizations active in the region.

[1] See https://www.pftac.org/content/dam/PFTAC/Documents/About%20PFTAC/PFTAC%20Steering%20Committee/2017/PFTAC_SC2017_IMF_Statistics.pdf

[2]Available at: https://teamup.com/ks656ccca05dfae4b3

[3] Melanesia: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Micronesia: Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Kiribati, Northern Marianas, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau. Polynesia: American Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Pitcairn and Wallis and Futuna.

[4] Previously known as the Pacific Statistics Steering Committee

[5] Including cause of death information

[6] The Brisbane Accord Group

[7] The Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) brings together several regional inter-governmental agencies:

the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) (formerly the South Pacific Commission),

the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA),

the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP),

the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP),

the South Pacific Travel Organisation (SPTO),

the University of the South Pacific (USP),

the Pacific Aviation Safety Organisation, and

the Pacific Power Association.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat acts as CROP’s permanent chair and provides secretariat support.