Today, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and The Pacific Community (SPC) announced a new partnership to support the strengthening of data collection and data analysis to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children, women and people with disabilities across the Pacific islands and territories.
The collection and dissemination of reliable data of children and women worldwide is vital to identify and plan for their needs and to inform policies.
UNICEF Representative, Sheldon Yett, said, “Statistically sound and internationally comparable data is essential for the targeting of resources to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and meet the needs of the most vulnerable. We welcome this partnership with SPC, which will work towards ensuring that global best practices are in place for data collection and analysis for women and children in the Pacific.”
Through the collection of quality data, decision-makers are able to make positive change by identifying needs and monitoring progress in their countries. Quality data is essential for measuring a country’s progress against the Sustainable Development Goals and currently in the Pacific islands, there is a lack of data to accurately measure this progress.
Highlighting the potential impact of this agreement for the Pacific, SPC’s Deputy Director General, Audrey Aumua, said, “Good policy is formed on a foundation of good data. Through this agreement, SPC and UNICEF will be able to better support the work of Pacific leaders to improve the lives of women and children across our region.”
The new UNICEF-SPC partnership aims to support Pacific island governments to:
- Improve the quality and standards of data collection for children, women and people with disabilities
- Analyse and utilize new and existing data to report and monitor the situation of children, women and people with disabilities; and
- Disseminate statistics, engage stakeholders and advocate for the collection and use of statistics in policy formulation.
This new initiative is aligned to the joint UN Data, Monitoring and Evaluation Group, established in Fiji and Samoa, which coordinates efforts to improve data collection, analysis and utilization for evidence based decision making and policy development in the Pacific islands and territories.
The 2017 World Bank Statistical Capacity Indicator reports that the Pacific Island countries rank significantly below the Asia-Pacific regional average and that the Pacific needs to improve specifically on health and poverty surveys as well as vital registration systems. Insufficient or no data risks leaving children behind on critical issues such as improving health, sanitation, education, and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation.
Regional initiatives, such as the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy (TYPSS), seek to address some data collection challenges, however, despite these efforts, greater attention is needed to produce regular statistics on marginalised populations, including children, women and people with disabilities.