The millennium development goals: strategic implications for the Latin American and Caribbean statistical systems
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This document was prepared by José Luis Cervera-Ferri, Consultant, ECLAC, and Hubert Escaith, ECLAC Statistics and Economic Projections Division, based on José L. Cervera Ferri, El seguimiento de los objetivos de desarrollo del Milenio: oportunidades y retos para los Sistemas Nacionales de Estadística, Serie No.39, Estudios estadsiticos y propectivos (LC/L.2458-P) Santiago, Chile, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), December 2005. The views expressed in this document, which has been reproduced without formal editing, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Organization. Summary This document synthesizes and updates the results of a research programme conducted at the request of the Statistical Conference of the Americas (SCA). It builds upon a first report, available in Spanish, which was prepared by José L. Cervera-Ferri, consultant at the Statistics and Economic Projections Division of the ECLAC. It was based, inter alia, on the answers to an ECLAC questionnaire circulated to the National Statistical Offices (NSOs) of the region in 2005 regarding the "institutional aspects of monitoring the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the response of the National Statistical Systems (NSS) in producing the necessary indicators. The objective was to analyze the way information gathered by the diverse entities that form the NSS in the region is systematized at national level, and identify the role NSOs should take as rector and coordinator of the NSS. This questionnaire was the first step in a 2005-2007 programme of research and technical assistance conducted by the Statistics and Economic Projections Division of the ECLAC, with a view of strengthening technical and institutional capacities in the region. Intermediary results were presented and discussed at the Third Statistical Conference of the Americas, in June 2005. In November 2006, a regional seminar was organized by ECLAC to update the evaluation of the NSOs' situation with regard to the MDGs. This meeting was the opportunity to review the changes that occur since 2005, and analyse the best regional practices. The present document identifies six main challenges facing the national statistical systems in following-up the MDGs, ranging from expanding the availability of data to securing the proper institutional and financial context. These challenges are interrelated, and therefore the coordination of the national statistical systems should be viewed as a strategic priority. In addition to strengthening the systemic coherence of the various national statistical actors, the report identifies a series of technical issues that require specific attention in view of coordinating the monitoring of the MDGs. Monitoring the MDGs provides also opportunities for strengthening national statistical systems. Indeed, the follow-up to the MDGs has helped generating national, regional and international discussions a policy level on the importance of statistical information in the development process. The document revises these opportunities and proposes a strategy that engages all the statistics-generating agencies in each Latin American and Caribbean country. The Statistical Conference of the Americas has taken the lead in this respect, by formally including the monitoring of the MDGs as one of the main dimension of its 2005-2015 strategic plan. The document underlines the specific role of the SCA for the development of the statistical capabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean and for bridging the existing gaps between national and international MDG indicators. It is also offers some preliminary and partial answers from Latin America and the Caribbean to the call of the United Nations Statistical Commission' s Friends of the Chair on MDGs indicators asking Regional Commissions to "conduct studies of the ability of countries to provide reliable data on MDG indicators".""