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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

26 August 2020

Her Excellency Ms. Takaichi Sanae, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communication, Japan

Dr. Mohd Uzir Mahidin, Chair of the 6th Session of the Committee on Statistics, Chief Statistician, Department of Statistics, Malaysia

Ms. Wanpen Poonwong​, General, National Statistical Office, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), Thailand

Mr. Yoshikai Shojiro, Director-General, Policy Planning on Statistical Standards, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and to the seventh session of the Committee on Statistics.

This session of the Committee is being organized in very challenging circumstances that necessitates us to conduct it in a hybrid fashion with limited in-person participation for Bangkok based representatives and on-line connection for representatives from the Capital. Despite the circumstances, I am pleased to note the high-level participation to the Committee by member States.

The Committee has very important topics for discussion to support effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda and for managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all committed to the 2030 Agenda which calls for leave no one behind. For this to be materialised, data and statistics are certainly key.

This is even more important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic with its huge health and socio-economic impact. Targeting which segment of the population and sectors of the economy that are most impacted requires good data and statistics.

Not least important is the continuous effort to build the institutions of National Statistical Offices across the region and hence its official statistics. The importance of building the human resources capacity and harnessing innovation are just to name two of the priority areas.

A whole-of-government approach to data and statistics is essential and your role as Chief Statisticians and data stewards is important for producing and leveraging official statistics.

I am therefore pleased to see three priority areas have been selected by member States to be discussed at this year’s Committee Session namely: integrated statistics and analysis, big data and human resource management. We stand ready to be guided by your recommendation on what regional action can be taken forward to support member States in these priority areas.

May I also take this opportunity to present a draft monitoring and evaluation framework and a baseline report for the Declaration: Navigating Policy with Data to Leave No One Behind, which was endorsed by the Commission in 2018. I am committed to prepare an overview of progress with the Declaration every two years and it is a pleasure to fulfil this commitment to you during this Committee session.1

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

This year, the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (UN SIAP) celebrates its fiftieth-year anniversary. I would like to congratulate and express our sincerest appreciation to the Government of Japan for playing a key role in establishing the Institute and supporting it throughout this remarkable journey.

The Institute was established to provide training to official statisticians in governments in Asia and Pacific region to collect, analyse and disseminate timely and high-quality statistics. These data and statistics are essential for economic and social development planning and decision making. I am pleased to note that the Institute has provided excellent statistical training and capacity building services. This has contributed to better functioning of statistical systems in the region.

As we are working together to accelerate decade of action and to build back better, I am confident that the Institute will continue to address demands of member States, especially in the context of monitoring the 2030 Agenda and emerging technological changes in the years to come.

To celebrate this occasion, we have produced a coffee table book to capture the Institute’s long-standing history and to highlight priorities and vision for the future. It is my pleasure to virtually launch this volume today.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish you a very successful and productive discussion during the Committee session. I am looking forward to your recommendations and action points to further guide our work.

Thank you for your attention.

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