High Demand for Statistical Information

New Poverty Maps to Improve Governments’ Development Goals

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……………(L-R) Government Statistician, Douglas Kimi, MoFT Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, World Bank Consultant, Professor John Gibson, Country Representative of the World Bank, Dr. Guido Rurangwa and the Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, His Excellency, Mr. Roderick Brazier with the Poverty Maps-Ward Level report at the launching on Monday 25 June. Photo: SINSO Media.

MINISTRY of Finance and Treasury, National Statistics Office, Government Statistician, Douglas Kimi says information is power’, every time a statistical indicator is produced.

Speaking at the recent launch program of the Solomon Islands first ever poverty mapping based on the 2012/13 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) and the 2009 Population and Housing Census, Government Statistician, Douglas Kimi said the event marks another significant statistical milestone for our nation.

“For the first time, a new methodology is used to combine the HIES and the 2009 Census data to produce ward level poverty estimates.

“To illustrate this further, the user friendly maps portray the poverty estimates much clearer and one can easily see the geographical distribution of high and lower level poverty within and across wards in the provinces,” he told participants at the event,” he said.

This is the first assessment of poverty maps in the country that focusses at ward level poverty estimates which is an important statistical lower geographical indicator for assessing poverty incidence not only at the national and provincial levels but this time at the ward level.

The report provides findings of poverty across the country with latest poverty maps provide disaggregated poverty estimates to better understand the geographical variations in poverty incidence/rate.

Government Statistician, Douglas Kimi delivering his speech. Photo… SINSO Media

The poverty map is an essential planning tool that provides powerful visuals to identify poor areas with greater accuracy. It is also a powerful way to identify and monitor small areas of particular affluence and poverty across the country.

The Minister responsible for the Ministry of Finance & Treasury (MoFT) Hon. Manasseh Sogavare launched the report in the presence of government officials, the Government of Australia, World bank, other development partners, NGO’s, civil society and media representatives.

The maps and assessment report were developed in a joint exercise by the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office (SINSO), the World Bank and the Australian Government through its DFAT’s Aid Program in Honiara.

The launch program was held at the Honiara Hotel.

 Challenges and collaboration

Kimi said with the ever increasing demand for statistical information in this fast growing modern and technological era, and faced with our own challenges to revitalize and strengthen our national statistical system, the efforts put into this report and maps is clear evidence that it is possible to overcome huge challenges, one–step-at-a-time, working together, and in using innovative ways.

“Since ‘information is power’, every time a statistical indicator is produced, especially at a lower geographical level, it should shape our development goals right down to village level, through evidence based decision-making, policy, and monitoring and evaluation.

“As you may be aware, in mid-2014, the Solomon Islands Cabinet endorsed the development of the first ever National Statistics Development Strategy 2015-16 to 2035 to revitalize and reform the country’s national statistical system and to ensure a cohesive process is established to facilitate the on-going supply of statistical information to inform the governments’ National Development Strategy (NDS), fiscal and monetary policies, and other sectoral policies of the government.

“This project outcome is a part of this on-going process. In 2016 when the NSO partnered with the World Bank and the Government of Australia, to deliver the national and provincial poverty estimates, we were challenged at that time by Users of Statistics that more work needed to be done and that demands for lower level poverty indicators meant that we had to go beyond the provincial level.

“This work is also the result of this increasing demand, and NSO’s positive collaboration with the World Bank and DFAT,” he added.

 Immerging global challenges

Meanwhile, the Government Statistician said with immerging global statistical challenges such as the rise of the ‘big data revolution’ and pressures for the NSO to address the indicators for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), mush effort and pressure is also placed on the NSO, which also demands much resource and technical capacity, now and into the future.

 Going Forward, and Coming Census

“Going forward, the NSO is currently rolling out key statistical activities within the framework of the National Statistics Development Strategy (NSDS) such the National Agriculture Survey and in our initial efforts towards the preparations for the coming 2019 Census, which is a huge statistical and logistical undertaking.

“While many people would think that the National General Elections is the biggest nationwide project in the country, I would say it is about half the size of a National Census in scope and coverage. In the Elections, we enumerate those who are 18 years and older. In the Census, we enumerate those starting at age zero.

World Bank Consultant, Professor John Gibson doing a presentation on the Poverty Maps report. Photo… SINSO Media

“I therefore want to use this occasion to also call upon our development partners and stakeholders to support the NSO in funding and implementing the 2019 Census,” Kimi said.

He acknowledged the important stakeholders and development partners for their commitment and support towards this statement.

“There’s more to say but let me stop here. In ending, let me take this time to thank the World Bank for the high level technical support provided to this project. Let me also thank the Government of Australia for funding and program support for this project, including support for the statistics advisory facility.

“I want to also acknowledge the PS for MOFT, Mr. Harry Kuma and our USFs, and also convey my sincere thanks to our Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare for his leadership and ongoing support to the NSO.

“Lastly, let me thank the staff of the NSO for their support and commitment towards this project,” he said.