THE National Statistics Office (NSO) was represented at the recent Training Programme on Climate Change Related Statistics and the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), held in Fiji.
Focussed on climate change and SEEA, the training intended to provide the opportunity for participants to learn basic concepts and frameworks, with hands-on sessions, on statistics related to climate change, with the overall aim to strengthen capacity to produce a set of statistics, including indicators, to inform climate change policy decisions at the national and international levels.
Participants from statistics offices and line ministries/ departments representing Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu attended the training programme.
Representing the NSO was Senior Statistician, Anna Luvu.
The objectives of the workshop include:
- Improved understanding of basic concepts and frameworks on statistics related to climate change and SEEA;
- To produce selected climate change-related indicators using national data, and acquire basic knowledge and skills on the SEEA accounting principles and identify basic data needs for compiling accounts;
- Facilitate experience sharing among participating countries, and to understand country plans, and identify opportunities for collaboration; and
- Promote the use of SEEA and climate change related statistics in policy formulation and monitoring.
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), through its Pacific Office, Statistics Division and the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP) organised the training for Pacific Island Countries.
The SEEA is a guide to integrating economic, environmental and social data into a single, coherent framework for holistic decision-making.
“It is an international statistical standard for measuring the environment and its relationship with the economy.
“It shows levels and trends in the stock and flows of natural resources, capital greenhouse gas emissions from economic activities (Gross Domestic Product) and the economic activities being undertaken to protect the environment.
“The SEEA provides a comprehensive conceptual accounting framework which brings together the blocks representing basic economic, environment and socio-demographic statistics and describes the relationship between them,” Ms. Luvu explained.
Ms. Luvu thanked ESCAP for making the training available.
According to UN ESCAP, Pacific island countries are amongst the highest at risk of experiencing disasters related to natural hazards, with the average annual cost of direct losses estimated at US$284 million.
“For some of the smaller economies this means the cost of a single event could exceed annual gross domestic product (GDP). Increased number and intensity of extreme weather events is widely considered as one of the consequences of climate change, these events include increasing incidents of saltwater intrusion, prolonged heavy rainfall and flooding, increased temperatures, droughts, and more violent tropical cyclones. Pacific Islands Forum leaders recognised climate change as a significant threat to the lives and livelihoods, security, social development and wellbeing of the region.
“Development of evidence-based sustainable development strategies and policies relies on available and reliable statistics. Mainstreaming the measurement of environment concerns as part of the regular data collection programs of national statistical offices would give policy makers the means with which to make balanced policy choices for sustainable development.
“The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) Central Framework allows for the measurement and a better understanding of environmental-economic interactions.
“The SEEA has also been identified as a useful framework for monitoring and reporting for the UN 2030 sustainable development agenda in support of inclusive sustainable development. Production of SEEA in the Pacific is generally at early stages, with four countries completing experimental accounts while others have undertaken data and priority needs assessments which should lead to compilation of SEEA accounts. Many have yet to begin but remain interested, contingent upon resources and capacity,” UN ESCAP stated.
Solomon Islands is yet to begin its SEEA accounts but remain dogged.