Cross Regional Forum:

Agenda 2030 and the SIDS: Strengthening statistical capacity and readiness

18-19 May 2016

Paris, France


Heads of statistical offices from small island developing states (SIDS) countries, including a number of regional organisations in the Pacific, Caribbean and AIMS regions, bilateral and multilateral donors, and UN agencies met in Paris, France on 19-20 May 2016 to participate in the cross-regional forum on strengthening statistical capacity and readiness of SIDS statistical systems.


The event, organised by the PARIS21 Secretariat, was setup to evaluate the current statistical capacities, readiness levels, experiences and good practices, and common tools and systems in SIDS to address existing and anticipated data demands arising from the Sustainable Development Agenda and SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway; identify bottlenecks and challenges facing their statistical systems; and recommend SIDS-specific solutions to improve capacity to respond to data requirements arising from the global development agendas.

Current Challenges

Statistical systems in SIDS face significant challenges in responding to data requirements arising from global development agendas as clearly put forward by the participants during the 2-day forum. These challenges, amongst others, include:

  • small statistical systems and statistical offices restrict them from undertaking the broad range of statistical activities required to generate statistics on national, regional and global development agendas
  • divergence between a global view of what statistics to collect and how it should be used for policy versus a national view of what relevant statistics to collect to inform existing national concerns
  • weak links between statistics use and policy
  • under-resourced statistical systems (financial, human and infrastructure) due to limited government resources and competing priorities
  • lack of predictability and sustainability of funding for statistical activities
  • statistical legislations in most SIDS countries are outdated, hindering statistical institutions to take appropriate action and interventions
  • shifting boundary towards generating subnational statistics
  • SIDS development are often driven by external agendas and efficiency concerns

Significant developments

While SIDS face similar statistical challenges, they have differentiated approaches in building their capacities to address data concerns, which was evident in a number of developments in their statistical systems. These developments include:

  • strengthening of national and regional statistical leadership
  • advancements in data production and dissemination
  • availability of core data/indicators for the Millennium Development Goals
  • formulation and implementation of national strategic statistical plans (NSDS)
  • updating of statistical legislation
  • adoption of common frameworks on census and surveys
  • use of common tools and methodologies
  • comparability and harmonised data on key areas
  • use of administrative data sources (i.e., civil registration and vital statistics, health and education management information system)
  • application of new innovations in statistics


Recommendations were put forward by the workshop participants in preparation for a SIDS statistics action plan that would lay out the approach their statistical systems would take on to improve their capacity and readiness to respond to the data demands resulting from the SDGs and SAMOA Pathway. The proposed elements in the statistics action plan include statistics in overall governance (national and regional); priority-setting on key areas, indicators, capacity to focus and build on; resourcing of statistical systems; systems, methodologies, tools and technology to sustain and further improve on; partnerships, engagement, south-south collaboration; advocacy; and co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation.


Opening | Setting the stage

  • Keynote Address

    o   Hon. Joseph Oliver, Grenada Minister for Economic Development, Planning, Trade and Cooperatives

  • What are the distinct characteristics of SIDS statistical systems?

    o   PARIS21 Secretariat

Session 1 | SIDS Statistical Systems: achievements and challenges

  • Regional perspective: Assessment of statistical capacity in SIDS countries

o   Pacific Community (SPC)

o   Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

o   Cabo Verde in the AIMS Region

  • Country perspective: Advancements and challenges in statistics in SIDS - good practices and areas to build upon

o    Saint Lucia

o    Cook Islands

Session 2 | Global Development Agenda impacting SIDS

  • Agenda 2030: Sustainable Development Goals

    o    UNSD

  • SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway

    o    UNDP

Session 3 | Support for Statistical Capacity Development in SIDS

  • Roundtable discussion: Development partners’ role in SIDS statistical development

o   International Monetary Fund, Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center

o   UNDP Barbados and OECS

o   World Bank

Session 4 | Delivering on SDGs and SAMOA Pathway: Closing the Gap for SIDS

  • Break-out group discussion: Preparing SIDS Statistical Systems to respond to SDGs and SAMOA Pathway

Session 5 | SIDS Action Plan for Statistics

  • Roundtable Discussion: Building responsive SIDS statistical systems for SDGs and SAMOA Pathway

o   Maldives

o   Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)


  • Break-out sessions: Recommendations for a SIDS-specific statistical action plan
  • Statistics in development policy and planning at national and regional levels

o   Grenada

o   Papua New Guinea

o   Jamaica

o   Indian Ocean Commission (IOC)


Additional Resources

Paper | Advancing Statistical Development in Small Island Developing States in the Post-2015 Era


Additional photos from the meetings can be found here.

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