Government statisticians brush up on data management skills


Government statisticians from seven Pacific Island countries and territories are in New Caledonia this week for a regional Microdata Documentation and Dissemination workshop to refresh their knowledge of tools that manage vital statistical information.

Microdata documentation is a critical phase in the process of managing censuses and data from other statistical surveys.

Documenting surveys and data, such as administrative records and records collected from censuses, has become more critical with the demand for more individual input-data required for monitoring the indicators for the global Sustainable Development Goals.

The week-long workshop (11-15 July), jointly organised by Paris21 and the Pacific Community (SPC), will also allow participants to review regional statistical dissemination issues and ways of improving these practices.

“The microdata documentation tool is aimed at empowering decision makers by providing them with the right information about the data collected, in the right way at the right time,” the Director of SPC’s Statistics for Development Division, Dr Ofa Ketuu, said in opening the workshop.

The International Household Survey Network (IHSN) has developed tools for documenting and disseminating census and survey microdata which have been implemented in several countries in the Pacific, for example, with National Data archives already established in Fiji and Samoa.

However, maintaining these sites requires resources which are not often available to small statistical offices and therefore a regional National Data Archive (NADA) has been set up and is being managed by SPC.

A demonstration of this data archive will also be conducted during the workshop.

“Many statistical tools in the Pacific and around the world have been quietly pushed to the storeroom, either because they’re expensive to maintain or are hard to use. We must ensure these tools are easy to apply, that outputs are accessible and that their use is sustainable,” Dr Ketuu said.

“SPC relies on you as champions of this tool to advise whether it’s working well, and where we can improve for the benefit of statistical collection and use in our region,” Dr Ketuu added.

The Pacific Island countries and territories attending the workshop are: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The workshop is being hosted at SPC headquarters in Noumea where the organisation’s Statistics for Development Division is based.

Media contact:
Jean-Noel Royer, SPC Communications Officer, [email protected], +687 87 70 63
Arthur Jorari, SPC Statistical Collection Team Leader, [email protected] + 687 26 01 62

Useful links:
The Regional National Data Archive
SPC Statistics for Development Division
Paris 21