The Heads of Planning and Statistics (HOPS) conference starting in Noumea today will be the fifth gathering of government statisticians and planning ministry officials from around the Pacific region under the HOPS banner. Along with government officials, development partners engaged in statistics research from across the region are also attending.

The last HOPS, hosted by the Pacific Community in 2013, focussed on the implementation of the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS) Phase 1. This year’s conference is themed ‘Unleashing the power of Pacific Statistics’, and will showcase the progress made under TYPSS as well as provide an opportunity for development partners to talk about upcoming statistical projects in the region.

The Statistics for Development Division (SDD), one of SPC’s technical divisions, has been assisting Pacific countries monitor socio-economic development and report on progress since the 1990s. SDD also supports the project work of other SPC divisions by establishing links between in-country policies, processes and population outcomes (such as maternal and child health, access to basic services, and housing and employment impacts of natural disasters).

Dissemination of Pacific statistics has become more visible due to international reporting frameworks such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the more recent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These indicators allow the Pacific region to judge its development progress against other regions, as well as advocate for change on the world stage. Fiji for example, is currently hosting the 23rd edition of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), in part due to Fiji’s ability to quantify the impact of natural disasters and rising sea levels through local statistics.

The HOPS conference will conclude on 16 November.

Contact: Phil Bright (philb@spc.int)