The success of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is measured using 231 globally agreed indicators, 46 of them require the calculation of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a complex indicator calling for a long list of statistics. Measuring success in achieving the 2030 Agenda therefore depends on a considerable amount of work by all national statistical offices of the world. This requires financial and human resources, something often in short supply in small, developing nations such as many Pacific island States.
So how are Pacific island States doing when it comes to generating the multiple statistics needed to calculate GDP to monitor 46 of the indicators for the 2030 Agenda? Let’s first have a look at the situation in the broader Asia-Pacific region:
Asia and the Pacific does well on economic statistics for the 2030 Agenda
A 2019 ESCAP analysis concluded the Asia-Pacific region as a whole does well on economic statistics for the 2030 Agenda. Most countries produce most priority economic statistics and indicators.
The analysis also found that in general, small countries produce fewer indicators than large countries. It concluded this is due to “economies of scale”: The larger a country’s population, the smaller the share of population needs to be surveyed for a representative sample. Therefore, the costs of surveys decrease with higher populations. Also, a small population means a small statistical office and smaller offices may need to limit the scope of their economic statistics production to a few high-priority items to ensure quality.
The Pacific Community (SPC) has delved into the 2019 results for the Pacific island States. So, how are the Pacific island States doing? Do the conclusions about Asia and the Pacific as a whole hold for them?