The World Bank’s Board has approved US$2 million to be spent on improving statistical and data collection in Tonga.

The bank has selected Kiribati to be the other pilot programme in the multi-million dollar Statistical Innovation and Capacity Building in Pacific Islands project.

“With the Pacific Islands covering an estimated 640 inhabited islands spread over an area equal to 15% of the globe’s surface, the challenge of gathering accurate, timely and relevant data is immense,” Michel Kerf, Country Director for the World Bank in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands said.

The lack of quality data meant it was hard to properly understand the region’s levels of poverty, welfare and social developments.

Better data would help develop better policies to ensure lasting change.

“This is why we are investing in helping the Pacific to build a common approach to statistics and data-gathering so that cross-country comparisons can be conducted and regional trends monitored thereby improving the information available for policy making,” Kerf said.

The Statistics for Development Division of the Pacific Community would work with the National Statistics Offices in Tonga and Kiribati to modernise their data collection processes.

The data collected through the project would help inform the monitoring of national outcomes in the Tonga Strategic Development Framework and the Kiribati 20-year Vision (2016-2036).

Both countries were already experiencing the extreme affects of climate change and capturing climate data related to socio-economic indicators was an important focus for the National Statistics Offices.

The project is being paid for by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most in-need countries and was prepared with the support of the Australian Government.

The main points

  • The World Bank’s Board has approved US$2 million to be spent on improving statistical and data collection in Tonga.
  • The bank has selected Kiribati to be the other pilot programme in the multi-million dollar Statistical Innovation and Capacity Building in Pacific Islands project.

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