Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, addressing the Paris 21 annual board meeting that ended here on Thursday, said once implemented, the plan will result in strengthening of national statistical systems, promoting careers in statistics, and revolutionizing statistical processes through ICT.
Mitchell, who has lead responsibility for Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) within the 15-member CARICOM grouping, said the plan is important as the Caribbean seeks to deliver on sustainable development goals and national strategic plans.
“This is also a model that can be replicated by all SIDS. The issue of capacity development of SIDS must be a collaborative effort with our developmental partners for there to be sustainability in our initiatives.
Although our governments have an important role to play in the development of statistics and in allocating more resources to this cause, CARICOM alone will not be able to implement the action plan,” Mitchell said.
“This is why, on behalf of all SIDS, I want to solicit greater support from developmental partners, especially as we are required to make huge investments into the development of statistics in order to advance the 2030 development agenda,” he added.
Mitchell, who was recently appointed as Chairman of the United Nations Small Island Developing States (SIDS), said statistics has become an indispensable tool in the democratic process of countries, in all facets of society and in the development of sectors and industry in the economy.
“Because of the increasing use of statistics in many areas of our lives, it has become very desirable to understand and practise statistical thinking. It is about improving the lives of people. Statistics creates transparency, as citizens are able to examine the decisions made by the government and local authorities by ensuring accountability.”
He said Small Island Developing States, like Grenada, are all characterised similarly by their small size, remoteness from large markets, narrow resource and export base, and exposure to global environmental challenges and external economic shocks as a result of the impact of climate change.
“As they journey towards the path of economic recovery and sustainable development, these SIDS are faced with challenges of slow and volatile economic growth coupled with high unemployment, low exports and weak public finances. This is accentuated with vulnerability to natural disasters, the effects of climate change and rising sea level.”
He said the main challenge for developing countries is being able to optimally utilise scarce resources to provide a better life for all.
He said Grenada is now in the process of designing a National Strategic Development Plan which will be aligned with the SDGS and will incorporate some of the recommendations of the SAMOA Pathway and is being augmented by the Strategic Plan for CARICOM which provides a major overarching context for CARICOM SIDS.
He said some of the main issues to be addressed by Grenada’s National Development Plan include fiscal, external sustainability, investment facilitation and economic diversification as well as reducing poverty and unemployment, education and human resource development.
Mitchell acknowledged that the Samoa Pathway and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda provide and challenge to SIDS.
“Although this challenge is seemingly ambitious and may appear unattainable, it still presents a wonderful opportunity for change, especially for SIDS. We need to put forward our best efforts in trying to achieve the targets set out by the SDG’s.
“The SDGs are ambitious, not just to achieve, but to measure. For small countries, there is a dire need to expand the range and types of data being measured to accommodate the monitoring demands of this framework. Measuring change in the SDGs requires even more and better data systems,” he added.
The Paris 21 Board meets once a year to discuss issues relating to the development and use of statistics generally and to review work programs
- Countries: Grenada