In October 2007, the Philippine government hosted the International Conference on the Millennium Development Goals Statistics (ICMDGS) and Interagency Experts Group (IAEG) on MDG Indicators. The Conference was organized by the Philippine Statistical System, spearheaded by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), and jointly conducted with the UN Statistics Division (UNSD), UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) Statistics Division, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the UN Country Team (UNCT) in the Philippines.
- The conduct of the ICMDGS was successful as it was able to accomplish the outputs it envisaged to undertake, to wit:
- As forum for good practices, the participants learned new developments and techniques such as those on new MDG target and indicator on decent and productive work and its link to poverty reduction; and tracking the implementation of the MDGs with time distance which the Philippines has started to adopt;
- As venue for a mid-term evaluation since the Millennium Declaration in 2000 of the status of countries with respect to the MDG goals and targets, the participants learned that despite dramatic improvements in meeting some of the targets, a lot has still to be done in terms of poverty reduction, and that issues on lack of data/indicators to monitor the MDGs persist among many countries;
- As the launching vehicle to the periodic conduct of future MDG data forums, the Conference paved the way for bringing the issues and recommendations raised by the participants, to the UNSD Inter Agency Expert Group (IAEG) during the group’s meeting in November 2007 in Paris, France;
- The Workshop outputs, which were one of the highlights of the Conference, can be used to guide or influence donors as to what types of support are needed by countries. Countries on the other hand, can be guided in the design of statistical development programs for donor support.
The issues and recommendations raised by the ICMDGS participants were presented to the UNSD Inter Agency Expert Group (IAEG) during the group’s meeting in November 2007 in Paris, France. Agreements/outputs of the meeting were:
- The UN regional commissions, with the coordination of UNSD, which will help establish the contacts with the international agencies, and the assistance of UNDP, will initiate a study to investigate the reasons for discrepancies between national and international data, and for data gaps, for a group of two or three selected countries in their region. The selected countries should include preferably countries that have already participated in the Expert Group on MDG Indicators. International agencies should collaborate with the regional commissions in analyzing the causes of data discrepancies. The results of these studies should be reported to the IAEG Meeting, planned for November 2008, and to the Statistical Commission.
- Expert group meetings should be organized to establish strategies for dealing with data discrepancies and data gaps at the national and international level. These meetings should count on the participation of international agencies, UN regional commissions, regional offices of international agencies, national statistical offices and other relevant institutions of the national statistical systems. UNSD and UNDP will work together to organize these meetings.
- Technical assistance should be provided to countries in the use of international definitions. Compliance with international definitions will help to harmonize national and international data.
- Metadata of nationally produced data should be provided and improved so that users at the international level can understand the methodology behind the data.
- Guidelines on the information flow of MDG data should be developed.
- International agencies should consult with countries before publishing their data.
- “Communities of practice”, including online networks among producers and users, should be created. These networks would discuss existing discrepancies of statistical data, and experiences and lessons learned in overcoming them. They would also share information on country and regional data collection initiatives to avoid duplication, etc.
A follow up activity for monitoring the implementation, and evaluation of the impact of the above-sited recommendations is proposed to be held in 2011 with the conduct of the 2011 International Conference on the Millennium Development Goals Statistics (ICMDGS) on 3-5 October 2011 in Manila, Philippines. As in the past, the 2011 ICMDGS will coincide with the biggest statistical events in the country, and perhaps, in the region -- the Philippines 22nd National Statistics Month.
The participation in the 2011 International Conference on Millennium Development Goals Statistics is by invitation only.