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National Statistical Office (NSO) representatives from Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States gathered in Barbados on March 20 and March 21 for the final Project Steering Committee meeting of the Canada-funded Project for the Regional Advancement of Statistics in the Caribbean (PRASC).
Launched in 2015, the CAD$19.5 million initiative, implemented by Statistics Canada, worked to build capacity of NSOs in 14 CARICOM countries and regional institutions to address statistical gaps to improve socio-economic measures and support evidence-based policy making in the Caribbean.
Specifically, the PRASC helped to enhance the Systems of National Accounts by ensuring adherence to international standards; to enhance economic statistics by working on a robust business survey infrastructure; to improve social statistics by incorporating sex-disaggregated socio-economic indicators into household surveys; and, to encourage statistical information and expertise sharing at national and regional levels.
Co-chaired by Global Affairs Canada, Statistics Canada and the CARICOM Secretariat, the two-day Project Steering Committee meeting allowed partners and stakeholders to present key activities and achievements from the eight-year project and to outline future priorities.
In her remarks, Executive Director of Canada’s Caribbean Regional Development Program Sharon Peake referenced the benefits of collaboration between Statistical Offices in the Caribbean to learn from each other post-PRASC. She shared, “This is exactly the sort of vision and proactive cooperation that is needed to ensure the sustainability of any project – especially like PRASC which has invested CAD$19 million into the region over the past eight years.”
Meeting participants included NSO representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago as well as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Population Fund.
Regional Director of Statistics at the CARICOM Secretariat Halim Brizan noted, “PRASC has provided capacity building and technical assistance that have contributed to strategic drivers in the Regional Statistics Development Strategy.”
Participating NSOs recognised the tangible benefits of PRASC to the region, referencing the extensive support Statistics Canada provided for development of their websites in an effort to bring data closer to citizens. They also noted that, through PRASC, they are now able to provide accurate, reliable and much needed data in a timelier manner. In some cases, results from surveys are made available within one month after data validation.
The PRASC, which formally concludes in September 2023, reflects a shared commitment by the Government Canada and CARICOM to advance gender equality and environmental sustainability in the Caribbean by enhancing social infrastructure and social services at the national level and regional levels.