Over 100 participants attended the National High Level Forum on Advocacy for Statistics in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 24 October. The National Institute of Statistics (NIS), Ministry of Planning Cambodia and PARIS21 co-organized the forum which brought together various users and producers of statistics from the government, private sector, academia, civil society and media to discuss pressing issues on statistical development in the country. In particular, the results of the Mid-Term review of the Statistical Master Plan and proposed amendments in the Statistics Law were presented to solicit comments from stakeholders.

The rapid changes in social, economic and political landscape in the country calls for a stronger national statistical system that would be capable of delivering quality, accurate and timely statistics for evidence-based policies and development programs. Senior Minister Chhay Than of the Cambodia Ministry of Planning emphasized the government's support to strengthen its statistical system, recognizing the importance and necessity of statistics in monitoring and evaluation of policies and development programs.

Users of statistics highlighted the need for improved availability and accessibility of statistics in Cambodia as well as ensuring the reliability of information generated by the NSS especially at the district level. Statistics such as on education and health as well as income should also be improved. Stakeholders likewise emphasized that available data in the country are not optimally used in policy formulation, research and development planning and the need to promote the culture of evidence-based policy making in Cambodia.

Major recommendations from the Forum include strengthening of users' capacity to utilize statistics through some training and advocacy activities; increased government investment in statistics to ensure sustainability of critical data generation activities and to improve the quality of data; mainstreaming statistics in the national development plan of the government; and commitment and ownership in developing the Cambodia national statistical system by all stakeholders.

This is the first advocacy forum on statistics held in Cambodia.

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