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Spotlight on importance of statistics to Regional development

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)      Regional policy-makers and other high level officials will gather in St. George’s, Grenada, on Monday, 26 May, for a discourse that is aimed at placing the spotlight on the value of statistics to regional development.
Top government officials and other regional and international stakeholders will participate in a High Level Advocacy Forum on Statistics that ultimately aims to position statistics as a critical component of decision-making and citizen empowerment. It also aims to call attention to the necessity for investment in the field.
The Forum is organized by the CARICOM Secretariat. It is supported by international and Regional Development partners such as the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the Twenty-First Century (PARIS21), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Barbados, and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
The second of its kind, the Forum is anticipated to be an intense one-day activity at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort.  It will begin with a keynote address by Dr. the Rt. Hon Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and a feature address by Mr. McDonald Thomas, Operations Officer, Social Sector Division of the CDB. Other speakers at the opening session will be Dr. Philomen Harrison, Project Director, Statistics, CARICOM Secretariat; Ms. El Iza Mohamedou, Senior Programme Coordinator, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), PARIS21; Mr. Crispin Gregoire, Chief for the Caribbean, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP and Mr. Ewout Sandker, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union (EU).
Following the opening session, panel discussions will be held to explore issues such as government investment in statistics; the status of statistics including challenges in the field, strategy and initiatives; and how the Community could move forward to anchor statistics in its development programmes.
The data revolution and what it means for the sustainability of CARICOM Member States will also be discussed. That discourse would be set against the background of a report from a High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. That report called for a data revolution for sustainable development with a new international initiative to improve the quality of statistics and information available to citizens. It also focused on the need to take advantage of new technology, crowd sourcing and improved connectivity to empower people with information to achieve goals.
Among the persons who identified to lead the discussions are Professor Jacob Opadeyi, Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of Guyana; Mr. Eric Rancourt, Director, International Cooperation Division, Statistics Canada; Mr. Dave Clement, Former Director of Statistics, Central Statistical Office, Trinidad and Tobago; and Ms. Sonia Jackson, Former Director-General, Statistical Institute of Jamaica.
The High Level Forum headlines a week of statistics-related events occurring in Grenada. The others are a Caribbean Population and Housing Census Symposium on 27 May, a Regional Statistics Seminar on 28 May, the first meeting of the Caribbean Association of Professional Statisticians (CAPS) the following day, and a meeting of the Advisory Group on Statistics which will be convened on 30 May. Between 26 and 28 May, an Information Technology Fair focusing on Statistics will be held.

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