The 5th Heads of Planning and Statistics (HOPS) Conference concluded last week with an endorsement of the third phase of the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS) and approval for the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Statistics for Development Division (SDD) 2018-2020 Business Plan. The conference, which took place from 14-16 November at the SPC Headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia, was held under the theme “Unleashing the power of Pacific data” and provided an opportunity to discuss strategies and co-ordination opportunities for strengthening the collection, analysis, dissemination and use of statistics for decision making in the region.

The HOPS meeting brought together close to 100 senior statisticians and planners from SPC member states, development partners and other stakeholders. The Honorable Gaetan Pikioune, Minister of Finance and Economy Management Vanuatu, gave the keynote address in which he reinforced the need for good statistical services in the Pacific Region to support national development strategies.

The Statistician-General of South Africa, Dr. Pali Lehohla, spoke about the important role of government statisticians. He made particular reference to the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), noting “The Pacific SIDS of Fiji, Republic of Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and our host here in New Caledonia represent a new and focused meaning for the notion of leaving no one behind. The way nations are defined is often in terms of population, and in that respect you may appear small, but if we were to consider the extent of your jurisdiction over oceans and marine life, you remain very big”.

The endorsement of Phase 3 maintains TYPSS as the foundation and principle guideline for statistical work in the Pacific. The approval of the SDD 2018-2020 Business Plan will support the strategy through the establishment of a Regional Statistics Method Board, the development of a Regional Data Dissemination Strategy, a 5-year Technical Partnership to support collections and the implementation of a Regional Governance Framework.

Speaking on the role of the new Regional Governance Framework, Cameron Diver, Deputy Director-General, SPC stated, “the proposed governance model would allow all parties to have far greater and more regular strategic engagement around statistics issues. The revised framework would also create a platform where the statistics agenda in the Pacific is driven by the countries themselves, with input and support from the development partner group and regional agencies.

The third Phase of TYPSS will see SPCs Statistics for Development Division (SDD) assuming a “Systems Leader” and coordination role, rather than simply providing technical assistance to members.  SDD will enhance the analysis and dissemination of data with reduced focus on data collection.  The team will continue to provide support to member states as well secretariat services to HOPS, the Methods Board and the Pacific Statistics Steering Committee (PSSC).  PSSC is the Standing Committee of HOPS, which provide governance and steering oversight in the years when HOPS does not meet.

SPC’s Director-General, Colin Tukuitonga. expressed his optimism about the future of TYPSS and the impact of SDD’s work saying, “We are confident that these changes will enhance the provision of statistics services in the region and ensure that accurate, timely and valid data and information is available for decision making across the Pacific.”

The next HOPS meeting will take place in 2019.

Media Contact:
Phil Bright, Statistics for Development Division, [email protected]