2018 FEMM: Update On The Pacific Roadmap For Sustainable Development & State Of Statistics in the Region




25-27 April 2018

Koror, Palau

Summary of Issue
This paper has been prepared by the Forum Secretariat and the Pacific Community and comprises two parts. Part 1 provides an update on regional efforts to prepare the 2018 Pacific Sustainable Development Report; and, Part 2 provides an update on the State of Statistics and related issues in the region. The paper summarises the readiness of the region to provide up-to-date and accurate statistics to meet national, regional and international planning and reporting requirements including for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway (SAMOA Pathway) and the Framework for Pacific Regionalism (FPR).
Strategic Alignment ·   In 2015, Pacific Forum Leaders decided that future Pacific Regional MDGs Tracking Report and the report on Tracking the Effectiveness of Development Efforts in the Pacific be referred to the Forum Economic Ministers for endorsement. Furthermore, Leaders called for the adoption of regional indicators and a regional process for the follow up and review of the SDGs and SAMOA Pathway that would reduce the burden of reporting at national and regional levels.
·   In 2016, Leaders noted that since the adoption of the 2012 Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration (PLGED), common challenges include insufficient funding, fragmentation and lack of coordination amongst agencies. Leaders agreed that future reporting on the PLGED would comprise: a full report on progress against the PLGED incorporated into the quadrennial regional reporting of progress against the SDGs, with the first regional report proposed for 2018; and a biennial thematic report of the PLGED to maintain a focus on progressing gender-related commitments.
·   In 2017, in endorsing the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development (PRSD), Forum Leaders reinforced the centrality of the FPR in contextualising global commitments under the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway.  Leaders committed to focusing their national as well as regional collective efforts to ensure that “no one is left behind” and requisite resources are secured.
Financial Implications Economic Ministers to consider increasing resources, as appropriate, to ensuring ‘no one is left behind’, including gender equality and strengthening of national statistical systems (a total commitment of approximately US$55 million per annum to be shared between national government budgets and development partner support is needed for a region-wide, five year collection programme)) to improve information for sustainable development planning, implementation and monitoring, including disaggregated data by sex, location and disability.


  1. 2030 Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development

Whilst committing fully to the implementation of the global agendas on the 2030 Agenda/SDGs, the SAMOA Pathway, the Paris Agreement on Climate Action, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Development Financing, Forum Leaders called for contextualising those commitments to suit Pacific circumstances anchored in the Framework for Pacific Regionalism (FPR) and Forum members National Development Plans to collectively focus regional efforts on integrated implementation and monitoring of regional priorities important to the Pacific.

  1. After two years of consultation, an inclusive Pacific SDG Task Force consisting of member countries, CROP, UN system, development partner, private sector and civil society representatives submitted the draft Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development for Pacific Leaders endorsement. In September 2017, Pacific leaders endorsed the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development (PRSD) which seeks to achieve a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity so that all Pacific people lead free, healthy, and productive lives. It guides the Pacific’s response to the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway in the context of the FPR and relevant regional national policies and plans.


  1. The PRSD calls for leaving no one behind, inclusiveness and coordinated support for implementing and tracking regional priorities through strong national ownership backed by regional and international cooperation. Efforts will focus on: i) unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals – alleviating poverty, ensuring gender equality, quality education, addressing Non-communicable diseases and inequality; ii) regional trans-boundary issues of climate change, oceans and disaster risk management; and iii) regional priorities through the FPR process such as; fisheries, connectivity and ICT, cervical cancer and addressing issues of people living with disabilities. A regional set of 132 Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators (Annex 2) will track progress through a quadrennial Pacific Sustainable Development Report.


  1. Implementation of the PRSD is organised across five interlinked elements as outlined in the chart below. The PRSD prioritises the use of Pacific expertise, scaling up and expanding regional cooperation through peer-to-peer learning and south-south cooperation pioneered by the Forum Compact.


  1. High-level strategic oversight of the coordination of the implementation and monitoring of the PRSD will be provided by the Pacific Steering Committee for Sustainable Development (PSCSD). The PSCSD consists of high-level representatives of four member countries representing the sub-regions of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia plus a representative of Australia and New Zealand, one representative each of the CROP, UN agencies, development partners, private sector and civil society.  The PSCSD will be supported by the Pacific Sustainable Development Working Group working in conjunction with CROP technical coordination mechanisms and other regional partnerships such as the Pacific Resilience Partnership and the Pacific Ocean Alliance, to facilitate the implementation and monitoring of the PRSD.


  1. Quadrennial Pacific Sustainable Development Reports
  2. Commencing in 2018, the Pacific’s progress on the 2030 Agenda/SDGs, SAMOA Pathway, the FPR and the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration (PLGED) will be submitted for Pacific Leaders consideration every four years in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2029.The quadrennial regional report will be informed by and complement national reporting, and the quadrennial reporting frequency will coincide with the global reporting to the UN High-level Political Forum, when it convenes under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. The Pacific Sustainable Development Reports will highlight progress, identify remaining challenges and guide forward regional planning and resource allocation improving responses to existing and emerging priorities. It replaces and combines previous parallel annual reporting to Pacific Leaders on the MDGs (Regional MDGs Tracking Reports), development effectiveness (Tracking the Effectiveness of Development Efforts in the Pacific Reports) and gender equality (Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration Reports).


  1. The inaugural report in 2018 will take on the theme of the UN General Assembly’s High Level Political Forum in 2019 which is “Empowering people and ensuring inclusive societies”. The report will highlight the process of contextualising the global agenda at national and regional levels, establish baselines and report on progress where available against regional priorities and identify key policy and resourcing in areas needing attention.  It will also report the Pacific’s progress on the SAMOA Pathway priorities and partnerships based on the 2018 Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway and progress against the PLGED.  The 2018 Report will feed into the 2019 Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development and the Asia Pacific’s 2019 SDGs Report to inform the UN SG’s Quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 when leaders meet at the UN General Assembly in September 2019.


  1. Work on the 2018 Pacific Sustainable Development Report is underway.  The theme, focus and structure was approved by the Pacific SDG Taskforce in November 2017 and a preliminary set of country data sheets for the 132 Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators prepared by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the SDGTF Data Technical Working Group has been shared with all member countries via PIFS/SPC Circular on 20 February 2018 for validation and completion by mid-April.  Based on experience so far, statistical capacities and availability of data in member countries is a significant challenge noting that we will only be able to measure progress against approximately 60 of the 132 Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators. A first draft will be available in May 2018 for consideration by the PSCSD and a second draft will be considered at a Pacific regional meeting in June 2018 to discuss the SAMOA Pathway Mid-Term Review, and undertake preliminary training on the Voluntary National Reporting (VNR).  A final draft will be considered by the PSCD in July for submission to the Forum Officials Committee Meeting in August and for Leaders’ consideration in September 2018 in Nauru.


  1. Voluntary National Reporting on the SDGs
  2. Voluntary National Reporting on the SDGs to the annual ECOSOC High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July is part of the global accountability process for the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. They are voluntary with countries encouraged to volunteer to report at least twice to the HLPF during the 2030 Agenda cycle.  So far, one Pacific country has reported (Samoa in 2016) and two others (Australia and Kiribati) are reporting in 2018.  Eight other Pacific countries have indicated interest to report for the 2019 HLPF with Fiji, Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu having already registered formally with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and Palau, Samoa and Solomon Islands yet to register officially.


  1. Development partners (PIFS, SPC, ESCAP, UNDP) through the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) are providing coordinated assistance to Kiribati for their 2018 Voluntary National Report on SDGs. Through four joint missions to Kiribati since December 2017, financial and technical support has been provided for national SDGs sensitisation, stakeholder engagement, data collection, report drafting and production of the Kiribati VNR video for the 2018 HLPF.


  1. The PRSD encourages Pacific Islands Forum Members to align the scheduling of VNR on SDGs to the HLPF with their national development plan reviews to reduce reporting burden, and consider a peer review of their VNR on SDGs to share country experiences on national planning, budgeting and monitoring. So far, Samoa and Kiribati have aligned their VNR processes with the Mid Term Reviews of the Samoa Development Strategy and the Kiribati Development Plan respectively.  Through the PRSD, the Government of Kiribati requested peer-to-peer/south-south learning support from the Government of Samoa, the only Pacific country that has completed their VNR on the SDGs. PIFS is facilitating this learning support.


  1. Priorities for 2018-2019
  2. Regional cooperation will assist countries to tailor and report on the SDGs through their national planning and VNR processes. It will also assist in assessing and mapping countries’ existing strengths and gaps in capacities and institutions.  Regional support will build on existing regional initiatives such as the Forum Compact and the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS) to strengthen country systems, institutions and capacities, ensure overall coherence of financing for development such as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), climate change and disaster risk financing channelled through government’s central planning, budgeting and financial management systems.  Capacity building will prioritise Pacific SIDS south-south cooperation and peer-to-peer learning using and building Pacific expertise. Efforts will also focus on ensuring inclusive engagement and policy dialogue between governments and private sector and civil society, which are more structured, institutionalised, systematic and sustainable. Countries are encouraged to invest more on strengthening national statistics systems and improve the availability and analysis of disaggregated, timely, quality data.


E.        Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS)

  1. Since 2010, statistics development in the Pacific has been guided by the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS) 2010-2020. The Strategy has allowed for a significant improvement in the timely collection of core official statistics among Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) covering social and economic statistics. Core official data collections include Population Census, Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (HIES), Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), Agriculture Census (AC), Labour Force Surveys (LFS), Merchandise Trade Statistics, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Price Indices, and Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS). Compilation of Balance of Payments, Government Finance, and Monetary statistics continue to be a part of core official statistics collected in the region. In many of the Pacific member countries these statistics are compiled by Ministries of Finance and Reserve Banks. The whole cycle of national core data collections takes place every 5-10 years for each country, depending on funding availability.


  1. This cycle of core statistical collections places a heavy burden on small and under-resourced national statistics offices (NSO) in the region. The Pacific Community’s Statistics for Development Division (SPC-SDD) recognises the value of partnerships and acknowledges all agencies and development partners providing technical support to member countries including the World Bank, PFTAC, Statistics NZ, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the European Union (EU), University of the South Pacific (USP), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP), and other UN agencies including International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Australia (DFAT) and New Zealand (MFAT) continue to be the two main partners providing financial support to statistics development in the region, with the World Bank, IMF, and some of the UN agencies working in the Pacific, as well as SPC itself, also making valuable contributions.


  1. Despite significant progress during the first two phases of TYPSS across a wide range of statistical issues, notably relating to national statistical collections, many PICTs still struggle to mobilise the resources needed to run their next rounds of data collection in accordance with their national schedules. Whilst most countries have been able to maintain their core statistical collection schedules, Annex 3 shows that a few PICTs have not been able to complete some of their core national statistics collections since 2005. This means that national policymakers and development partners are working from long out-of-date statistics adversely affecting policy and decision-making. Annex 3 indicates that over the next five years, countries in the region are scheduled to run approximately 35 core surveys and censuses to meet national schedules. These census and surveys are essential to enable PICTs to produce up-to-date core national statistics to meet both national and international reporting commitments including for the SDGs.


F.         Recent Developments in Statistics in the Region

  1. At the 2017 Heads of Planning and Statistics Meeting (HOPS) a number of important decisions were taken in relation to the development of statistics in the region which included:
    • A revised regional statistical governance structure recognises SPC-SDD’s role as the region’s statistical-system leader and coordinator, playing a more active role in promoting the analysis, dissemination and use of statistics for evidence-based policy in the region
    • The Pacific Statistics Steering Committee that had previously overseen the TYPSS was renamed the Pacific Statistics Standing Committee (PSSC) to reflect its stronger and more permanent role under the new statistical governance arrangements
    • A Statistical Methods Board to be established to provide direction and oversight to the region on best-practice statistical methods and developments; the first meeting of the Methods Board will take place in May 2018
    • A Regional Dissemination Strategy Framework was endorsed in principle to be considered in more detail for implementation by the PSSC; this aims to promote wider dissemination and to facilitate access to Pacific statistics
    • Development partners were requested to: a) coordinate more effectively amongst each other, and with NSOs in order to minimise unscheduled surveys; b) to increase resources to NSOs to enable funding for core data collections; and c) to provide additional technical assistance and training opportunities for statistical and policy staff.


  1. Based on the HOPS 2017 decisions, this paper is presented to FEMM to note the need for increased analysis, dissemination and use of statistics in policy-making, improved coordination among development and donor partners and for the enhanced mobilisation of resources and delivery of technical assistance to support the development of a comprehensive 5-Year Regional Plan for Statistical Collections. The Plan will be submitted to the 2019 FEMM for final endorsement.


  1. Despite improvements in cooperation between development partners and NSOs, the region still experiences proposals from development partners for unplanned statistical collections. These often disrupt the NSO’s planned programmes, and are often driven by funding availability or specific partner agendas, rather than following a planned collection cycle. To address this, the Regional 5-Year Data Collection Plan aligns collection activities conducted by PICTs with work plans and funding cycles of technical assistance providers and donors. The SDD will use the Data Collection Plan to facilitate a more collaborative approach toward supporting data collection in the region.


  1. Pacific policy makers and development partners often decry the lack of data in the Pacific. There is a wealth of data from the statistical collections that have been conducted, however, the challenge is making this data available to those who would use it. The Regional Data Dissemination Strategy Framework and the Pacific Statistics Methods Board are intended to improve the quality, consistency and availability of data in the region.


  1. This is a start, and builds on the progress made in the quality and regularity of statistical collections over the last decade, but more needs to be done. For example, reporting on the 132 Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators agreed by Pacific Forum Leaders, means that PICTs will need to produce additional data both through surveys and administrative data sources to meet the regional and national policy making and reporting commitments.


G.        Baseline data availability for the Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators

  1. It is estimated that 95 of the indicators under the SDGs, distributed among 14 of the 17 goals, require high-quality disaggregated population data generated from censuses, and a further 71 are derived from household-based data, mainly informed through surveys. However, preliminary assessment of available data points for the 132 Pacific indicators suggests that among Forum member countries the region has baseline data for about 40% of the 132 Pacific indicators (defined as at least half the Pacific Forum Island Countries having a data point available).


  1. The majority of these 132 indicators are categorised as Tier I indicators, whereby a methodology exists and there is sufficient data coverage across the region. Approximately one-half of the Pacific indicators require information derived from the key national household collections; the Population Census, Demographic Health Survey, Household Income and Expenditure Survey, Labour Force Survey and Agriculture Census. These are costly exercises for countries. Data is being sourced from multiple areas, including SPC-SDD’s National Minimum Development Indicators (NMDI) website, UNESCAP’s Asia-Pacific Report, the UN global database, WHO, UNICEF, national census and survey collections, and administrative datasets held in each country.


  1. The Pacific set of indicators includes 30 Tier III indicators, with no accepted methodology, and 10 of these are in the priority regional areas of Climate Action (Goal 13) and Life Below Water (Goal 14). These are viewed as important to tell the Pacific story, and it is expected that the necessary indicator definitions will be developed to enable countries to measure and report on these indicators in time for the second regional report in 2022. The number of Pacific PRSD indicators, together with the number of indicators having baseline data, is shown in the graph below.
  2. PICTs National Statistics and Planning Offices and sectors are working with SPC-SDD, PIFS and other agencies to populate the indicators. This involves mapping SDG indicators against National Development and sector plans to identify synergies with existing national priorities. The regional set of 132 indicators is not prescriptive for PICTs, and country SDG Taskforce/Working Groups are reconciling data needs across national development frameworks. This process is particularly important for countries participating in the VNR process. PIFS, SPC, UNESCAP and UNDP are working collaboratively through joint missions to each country. An example is the Technical Assistance and Data Providers Workshops delivered in Kiribati in late 2017 and early 2018, as part of Kiribati’s preparation for their VNR. Kiribati is progressing well, with co-ordinated missions by the partners supporting the Kiribati National Economic and Planning Office (NEPO) and the NSO.


  1. The regional dissemination strategy and database tool being developed by SPC-SDD in parallel with the first Pacific Sustainable Development Report will provide a central repository for country-level statistics and will provide an interactive display of SDGs data. This interactive website will provide mapping functionality allowing countries to display sub-national data where available. Disaggregated sub-national data at state or province-level is important to the concept of ‘leaving no one behind’, and will assist policy-makers to identify and target the most disadvantaged groups.


H.        Issues and Challenges

  1. Accountability for the myriad of global development commitments of the 2030 Agenda, SAMOA Pathway including the Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators means there is an unprecedented demand for timely and reliable statistics in the Pacific. PICT are highly dependent on household-based statistical collections, such as censuses and surveys, to generate development statistics to guide policy formation and evaluation including reporting on these various frameworks.


  1. Key challenges currently faced by NSOs in the development of statistics in the region include:
    • lack of financial resources and statistical capacity and the low status of NSO staff in government public sectors;
    • poor coordination among development partners in support for data collections; and between development partners, NSOs and the core statistical collections in national schedules;
    • unscheduled surveys promoted by external agencies to suit their agendas and/or funding;
    • a shortage of qualified statisticians in the region;
    • the ever-increasing range and scope of the additional data requirements needed to meet SDGs and other reporting requirements.


  1. Across the region, an analysis by SPC-SDD indicates that NSOs are allocated on average, only around 0.2% of national budgets each year. This is a very small amount of resources considering the importance of statistics for policy-making across the whole-of-government, and for international reporting. From globally derived estimates[1] the cost for producing SDG Indicators in IDA and IBRD[2] countries gives an estimated funding gap in statistics work of $US2 to 3 million per country per year (based on current funding levels). Using these global figures, it is possible to make a rough estimate for the Pacific region needing an extra US$55 million per year simply to finance SDGs and other reporting commitments over the next 10 years.


  1. This is considerably above the normal annual budget allocations for NSOs. It requires strong commitment from national governments and development partners to jointly provide the necessary resources for these core collections. New technologies are being introduced to help to make collections more efficient and cost-effective but they can still be expensive in highly fragmented archipelagic countries such as PNG, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, as well as in the scattered-islands of the atoll nations. Ever-more statistics are needed for ever-more reporting and analytical commitments.


  1. The importance of maintaining regular core collections of census and surveys cannot be overstated. In addition, it is essential that quality and consistent administrative data is collected by sector ministries and agencies to complete reporting against the SDGs indicators. The critical nature of administrative data can sometimes be overlooked, but it is essential for reporting on civil registration and vital statistics, health, education, environment, public safety and governance. It is, therefore, essential that statistical systems, not just in the NSOs but also in the collection of administrative data are well planned, resourced and sufficiently robust to respond to the challenges of meeting these diverse data demands in a sustainable way.


  1. Further capacity building is required although the availability of statistical training has been enhanced by the USP’s Official Statistics programme. The region needs more graduates from this programme and from other regional statistical training opportunities provided through SPC, Australia, New Zealand, IMF/WB, ADB and UNSIAP amongst others.


I           Assessment and Options for implementation

  1. The breadth of development themes covered in the Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators (PSDI), combined with the requirement for greater disaggregation (by sex, age, location, disability status for example), means the region needs:
  • more regular and detailed household census and surveys
  • consideration of larger sample sizes
  • development and enhancement of administrative data collections (such as held by education, health, environment, customs , ICT and fisheries departments)
  • creation of new methodologies and data sourcing
  • continued capacity building for NSOs and for other sectors to compile indicator data, especially from administrative sources


  1. Establishing a comprehensive Regional Plan for Statistical Collections would:
    • Facilitate fund raising and resource mobilisation and improve planning and coordination among parties
    • Serve to meet the TYPSS objectives of coordinated data collection technical support and standardised tools, methods, systems and processes.
    • Ultimately serve to improve the quality, efficiency and timeliness of producing statistical outputs; and
    • be underpinned by an agreed framework of methods, systems, tools and processes that are ‘fit for purpose’ for both the member countries and the survey or census being undertaken, and should meet the multiple demands for timely and high quality data.


  1. Administrative data – Data collected through administrative sources such as birth and death registration and tax data through tax records, provides a significant amount of statistics that can supplement those collected through surveys and census. This is an important source of information but it will require additional investment and skill to ensure that the legal, system and logistic around the collection, analysis and dissemination of these statistics are properly put in place. It is also important that the Pacific region consider which statistical services can have a regional dimension so that instead of equipping small NSOs with unsustainable sophisticated systems, there could be statistical solutions provided by a regional/sub-regional arrangement/entity.


  1. As indicated in Appendix 3 there are approximately 35 core data collections scheduled for PICTs over the next five years. To fully fund this Regional 5-Year Collection Plan would require a total commitment of approximately US$55 million per annum to be shared between national government budgets and development partner support. The split between national government and development partner contributions would need to be determined on a country-by-country basis. Whilst this may seem a large number of collections the data collected would be needed to support of the SDGs, other international reporting commitments and the needs of national policy-makers and planners.


  1. The 22 PICTs National Statistics Offices (NSOs) have been requested for an update on their national statistics collection schedule for the next 5 years, which forms the basis for the information provided in Annex 3. SDD is still working with member countries to establish a preliminary estimate of the budget that will be needed to run these surveys. During the HOPS Meeting in 2017, member countries, development and donors partners all agreed to support the implementation of this Plan.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Pacific Community (SPC)
12 April 2018
Annex 1: Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development (Attached separately)
Annex 2: Regional set of Pacific Sustainable Development Indicators (Attached separately)

Annex 3: Regional 5-Year Data Collection Schedule
[1] Source: ‘The State of Development Data Funding 2016’, Resource Mobilization and Alignment Working Group of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.
[2] IDA countries in the Pacific Region: Kiribati, FSM, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. IBRD countries in the Pacific: Fiji, Nauru and Palau.

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