Statement by the Republic of Maldives

on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States

at the 47th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission

8 March 2016

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the Kingdom of Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

2. Mr. Chair, at the outset we wish to extend through you our thanks and appreciation to the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals (IAEG-SDGs) for its hard work and for your work on developing the global indicator framework with which we can address the hugely ambitious mandate, which we have set for ourselves in the 2030 Agenda.

3. We take note of its report and of the work programme that still lies ahead in solidifying the critical benefits of having clearly established indicators that will facilitate our work as we get a better understanding of, and find solutions to, the world's economic, social and environmental problems in an effort to "leave no one behind".

4. We take note that this report on the global indicator framework, even though is a critical part of the whole follow-up and review process, is not by far the final solution to addressing the mandate before us. In the 2030 Agenda, as a principle, we agreed that the follow-up and review processes would evolve over time, taking into account emerging issues and the development of new methodologies. We therefore expect these indicators to be a "living document", due mainly to the fluidity and changing nature of the very things we wish to record and assess. And also the fact that for a lot of issues, this is the first time many countries are attempting to measure and record progress.

5. However, we feel that it is important to start with our work and adopt this framework. It is only through beginning our work, that we can begin to address the issues associated with capacity for data collection and analysis, lack of global baselines, and also potentially identify more mismatches and challenges. Thus, what is important is for us to identify a way to refer back to you these new and emerging issues, as and when they occur. And that process has to be inclusive so that representation of countries in special situations, from various stages of development in terms of their national statistical capability is ensured. The framework, and any review, must be reflective of the global consensus and also recognise that the 2030 Agenda states that each government will decide how these aspirational and global targets should be incorporated in national planning processes, policies and strategies.

6. As we look to implementation, for SIDS it is a matter of urgency to address our shortcomings in the areas of capacity building, data collection modalities, and the actual collection and disaggregation of data. We would therefore urge the immediate mobilization of resources and support for SIDS. In this regard, we also welcome the ongoing initiatives to address the transformative agenda for official statistics with objectives to modernize and strengthen the global, regional, sub-regional and national statistical systems, irrespective of the level of statistical development. We are hopeful that this will help us by increasing the capacity of our statistical systems to respond more effectively and efficiently to the new policy requirements and ultimately make us more flexible in addressing our specific challenges in producing statistics.

7. SIDS find that data and statistics provide information, not only on the current state of our countries, but also useful guidance for forecasting and prevention. This is why we, through the SAMOA Pathway and further in the 2030 Agenda have highlighted and elaborated on our uniqueness and special challenges as it pertains to our sustainable development. Our smallness and remoteness, along with our environmental challenges warrant some special attention as it significantly puts us at a disadvantage when it comes to standardized approaches. Even where data exists, it is often the case that information from our countries is not used or relevant. We therefore urge that some consideration be given to address these factors.

8. Finally Mr Chair, we note that the 2030 Agenda was specific in that data and information from existing reporting mechanisms should be used wherever possible, in order to avoid duplication and respond to national circumstances, needs, capacities and priorities, as well as minimize reporting burden. This is an important issue for SIDS. In this regard, we are hopeful that the IAEG took these considerations into account, as we continue to assess the proposed framework.

9. We look forward to continuing the engagement on the finalizing of the Tier II and Tier III items, and we remain committed to this process. Mr. Chair, you and the Commission can continue to count on SIDS as a constructive partner.