International Forum on GCC Statistical System Concludes
Organized by GCC-STAT and attended by local, regional and international statisticians and experts KDiscussions highlighted ways to improve GCC statistical system, innovation in official statistics, and meeting the new demands in statisticsRecommendations to take forward the statistical system in the GCC region
The International Forum on Transforming the Statistical System in GCC Countries, proposed new ways to boost the statistical system in the GCC region through increased focus on productivity and data challenges. The two-day forum, which took place at Al Bustan Palace in Muscat, was conducted alongside the official inauguration of the Statistical Centre for the Cooperation Council for the Arab Countries of the Gulf (GCC-STAT) on 9 – 10 April 2014.
The forum concluded with a number of key recommendations, including:
• GCC-Stat is to function as the central statistical body in the GCC region, and will play a vital role in supporting the national statistical departments in respective GCC member countries, in addition to providing expertise to help those departments achieve their objectives.
• The importance of learning from other countries experience in handling large-scale statistics and open data, and ways to process such statistical data and information.
• More workshops and seminars to be organised to discuss the statistical needs for the period after 2015, with focus on the environmental and socioeconomic uniqueness of the GCC countries, stressing on the readiness of the GCC member states for post 2015 statistics on development.
• To achieve the objectives of the planned pan-GCC 2020 census, statistical departments should to set a timeframe to shift the dependence of data collectiontowards registered administrative databasesfor collecting statistical data and information as the platform provides more accurate and efficient data management.
• State-of-the-art technology should be implemented across all aspects of the statistical work.
• The respective GCC statistics departments should place a high emphasis on strengthening ties and boosting collaboration with other official authorities in their respective countries for better access to essential data and information.
• The quality of statistical data and information should follow the best international standards and practices.
• It is important to understand the needs and the requirements of the producers and the users of the statistical data so to provide for such needs and requirements, which will improve the statistical work in the GCC region.
• More emphasis on promoting awareness and knowledge of statistical data and information.
• Encouraging and supporting statistical researches and studies to take forward the statistical work in the GCC countries, as well as conducting events like exhibitions, competitions and awards, and encouraging innovation in the statistical field.
In his comments following the conclusion of the forum, H.E. Sabir bin Said al Harbi, Director General of GCC-STAT, told reporters: “The forum gave us all the opportunity to shareunderstanding of the development of the GCC statistical system and ways to take it forward. We aimed by organising this gathering to build on the current state of the statistical system in the GCCcountries to establish an effective future statistical system. The sessions emphasised on the importance of selecting the pathways for the future statistical system ofthe GCC countries, and stressed on taking advantage of innovations in the production and disseminationof statistics for the benefit of the statistical offices in the GCCcountries.”
The forum discussed several key issues through three themes. The first theme ‘GCC Statistical System: The Way Forward’ focused on the current status ofnational pan-GCC official statistics, the statistical challenges in the GCC region, the ways to enhance the statistical work, as well as its future in light of the establishment of the GCC-STAT centre. The second theme of the forum ‘Innovations in Official Statistics’ reviewed the initiatives and innovations in the field of officialstatistics and identified the areas of development and improvement inother countries with a view to taking advantage of these experiences .Presentations highlighted the initiatives and the most important innovations in thefield of statistical work, the potential changes and improvements in the future, ways to utilise the developments and technological innovations instatistical work, and the role of international organizations in the development of the statistical field. The third theme ‘Meeting New Demands in Statistics: Wellbeing,Financial Stability, and Sustainable Development’ aimed to identify the new requirements and ways to meetthese needs, and highlighted the requirements and needs of the users of officialstatistics, including international organizations and bodies.
Participants in the forum included officials of the statistical system of the GCC region, local and international statistical agencies and organizations, policy and decision makers and other users of official statistics, official GCC delegations and government representatives, as well as academics, researchers, and statisticians.
The statistical system in the GCC countries is witnessing a change in institutional organization. This comes with the establishment of the GCC-STAT to serve as a common official pool of statistics and data for the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. GCC-STAT will have a particular role to foster a culture of statistics and to develop a high quality statistical system conforming with and promoting international standards and methodologies.