Asia-Pacific experts and statisticians are convening at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in Bangkok this week to improve disaggregated statistics for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires governments to develop reliable, timely, accurate and disaggregated data and statistics, which are essential to track and monitor the progress of all population groups in their progress towards achievement of the SDGs, to ensure that no one is left behind. However, serious gaps remain in the quality and availability of statistics and data in the region.

In response to this challenge, ESCAP and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) are holding a three-day series of expert consultations from 28 to 31 August, to strengthen the capacity of governments to collect, disseminate and analyse data to meet the needs of Asia and the Pacific.

United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar said, “To leave-no-one-behind is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, which means in order to achieve the SDGs, countries must ensure their policies and programmes are designed to advance the most vulnerable groups of our populations.”

“Relevant, reliable, timely data and statistics that are disaggregated by population groups are essential for designing and implementing such policies and programmes,” added Dr. Akhtar, underlining that this is the first time that a United Nations regional commission has attempted to develop a regional programmatic approach for countries and development partners to strengthen data disaggregation for SDG monitoring in Asia and the Pacific.

Participants, including data producers and users as well as international experts, will review innovative statistical methods such as micro-simulation, use of geospatial information and small area estimation, and map out a strategy of promoting their application in national statistical production and dissemination. The experts will also explore solutions for integrating national policy priorities, with statistical production and dissemination in a holistic manner.

The expert consultations are taking place in the context of a collective vision and framework for action by the Asia- Pacific community to advance official statistics for the 2030 Agenda, as well as ongoing regional statistical development initiatives under the auspices of the ESCAP Committee on Statistics.

The three-day event integrates two meetings, namely the first meeting of Regional Steering Group on Population and Social Statistics in Asia and the Pacific under the auspices of the Committee on Statistics, and the Expert Meeting on Data that Leaves No One Behind.