From right-to left: WB with Haishan Fu (Director, World Bank, Development Data Group); Ofa Ketuu (Director, SDD) and Olivier Dupriez (Lead Statistician, World Bank, Development Data Group)
SPC’s Statistics for Development Division (SDD) has entered into a contract with the World Bank, which aims to promote and increase access to, and use of, existing data for research and policy formation. The World Bank Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) has committed USD 500,000 to the project.
The funds will be used to establish a regional data hub – the Pacific Data Archive – which will preserve, catalogue and disseminate Pacific microdata sets. SDD will also produce and disseminate a collection of harmonized datasets by standardizing data structures and processing procedures in order to rapidly produce regionally comparable statistics across a range of sectors for use in policy formation.
The demand for high quality and timely Pacific data is increasing in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals reporting requirements, however accessing data and metadata on the Pacific remains a significant challenge. As a result, many studies on global issues have very little accurate or up-to-date input from the region. This ‘data gap’ means that Pacific voices are often not heard, even on issues for which the region may have valuable and unique data to contribute. The establishment of a regional data hub will go a long way towards closing this gap.
Tonga’s Government Statistician, Dr Viliami Fifita, says “The project will preserve and document data sets to prevent their loss and benefit the Pacific region by providing a centralised data repository and microdata dissemination platform. This data can be used to guide planning, decision making and policy formation. The project will also help to build statistical capacity in the region and improve the quality of data production through the development of guidelines for sampling in small island states like Tonga.”
This project will help deliver on SDD’s vision of promoting ‘trusted Pacific data to support well informed policy decisions that help improve Pacific people’s lives’ and is closely connected to the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Strategic Development Goals of strengthen access to and use of development statistics in policy development and monitoring progress.
SDD’s priorities are also guided by the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS 2010-2020). The current phase of this strategy places a high priority on ensuring Pacific statistics are disseminated to all users in a timely and easy to access manner. In a 2017 meeting, the Heads of Planning and Statistics (HOPS) endorsed the Pacific Regional Data Dissemination Framework which provides National Statistics Offices (NSOs) with guidelines on making their data more accessible to users. This joint World Bank-SPC project will provide a secure facility to house, document and disseminate data.
SPC’s Director of Statistics for Development Division, Ofa Ketuu, highlighted that, “Having access to reliable, accurate and current data is essential for Pacific leaders to make informed decisions on matters of national and regional development. Establishing a data hub for the Pacific will create an invaluable information resource for our region, and will make a significant contribution to international research and knowledge exchange.”
Ms. Ketuu travelled to Washington DC on 1 March 2018 to finalise the agreement, where she met with Haishan Fu (Director) and Olivier Dupriez (Lead Statistician) from the World Bank Development Data Group.