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Remarks By Ambassador Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General,  Foreign And Community Relations   at The Opening Of The Thirty-Ninth Meeting Of The Standing Committee Of Caribbean Statisticians   (27 -29 October 2014)

It is an honour for me to welcome you on behalf of the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), to this week of meetings devoted to Statistics.  Today’s Thirty-Ninth Meeting of the Standing Committee of Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS) and Thursday’s Twenty-Fourth Meeting of the Regional Census Coordinating Committee (RCCC) will no doubt be the high points of your annual gathering.
The Standing Committee of the Caribbean Statisticians (SCCS) was established one year after the Caribbean Community and therefore this year marks its Fortieth Anniversary upon which I offer my sincere congratulations.
The theme for this week’s series of meetings is A Data Revolution for Sustainable Development in CARICOM – Designing and Operationalising a Framework for Statistics.
This theme is a product of the Second High Level Advocacy Forum on Statistics that was held last May in Grenada.  Among the main issues and recommendations of the Forum were the following –
  The role of statistics in Sustainable Development;
  The necessity for evidence-based policy-making;
  The need to invest in regional approaches;
  Alignment of the common Regional Statistical Work Programme (RSWP) with the strategic objectives that are currently being pursued at the country level; and
  Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has to be the tool that powers the data revolution.
There is no doubt that Statistics are an indispensable input in the planning, guiding and monitoring of our development objectives.  Moreover, at a time of unprecedented economic challenges to the Caribbean Community where development is constrained by the very limited resources, statistics are crucial to determining how these resources are best deployed.
The importance of statistics is duly recognised as a key cross-cutting aspect of The Caribbean Community Five-Year Strategic Plan 2015-2019: Reposition CARICOM, which was approved last July by our Heads of Government.  Statistics have a vital role to play in its roll-out as evidenced-based policy-making and the measurement of results are instrumental in making a success of the Plan.
In such an environment, the strengthening of our statistical capacity to provide the data needs of the Community is essential.  Statisticians of the Region must continue to strive to improve data collection in their respective countries in order to produce and disseminate products, and to inform research to aid decision-making.  The data revolution cannot be achieved, however, without the requisite tools at the national and regional level.
In that regard, ICT has great potential to transform the national and regional statistical systems to inform solutions to the majority of the data challenges faced by our countries.  Specifically, technology can cut costs significantly and reduce the time taken to collect and produce solid data, thus enhancing efficiency.  ICT can provide the National Statistical Systems (NSS) with the required capacity and durability to produce timely, high-quality statistic to propel and sustain growth.
We look forward to the continued support of our International Development Partners such as Partnership in Statistics for Development in the Twenty-First Century (PARIS21); the European Union (EU); and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) as we seek to enhance our capabilities.  Already their support has enabled some improvement in key areas but much work is still required to be done.
I warmly thank the Government and people of Guyana and the Chief Statistician and Staff of the Guyana Bureau of Statistics for hosting this week’s event and for all the courtesies shown to the delegates.
Finally, here is hoping for productive meetings in the spirit of warmth, goodwill, professionalism and collaboration that continues to inspire the SCCS, as we week to advance the statistical agenda and to integrate and develop our Community based on reliable date.

I thank you.

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