Launching a Strategic Plan for the Pacific region

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Pacific Community (SPC) collaborated to prepare the Pacific Strategic Plan for Agricultural and Fisheries Statistics (P-SPAFS) for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific region. P-SPAFS is a 10-year plan that aims to guide the development of agricultural, fisheries and rural statistics in Pacific SIDS, which face specific challenges in their statistical systems, and need support to build their capacity to meet the unprecedented data demand for monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to Mr Mukesh Srivastava, FAO Senior Statistician for Asia and the Pacific, ‘the strategy will help to draw the attention of the global community towards the unique challenges of Pacific SIDS, such as geographical remoteness, cropping patterns, limited statistical infrastructure and availability of human and financial resources, for the production of agricultural and rural statistics. This strategic plan will establish the path for developing sustainable statistical systems for the management of the agriculture and fisheries’ sectors in Pacific countries as per their local conditions.”

The strategy will not only build the statistical capacity of countries but also lead to a greater standardization and harmonization of data across the region. “P-SPAFS is an exemplar of a successful partnership between FAO and SPC, which brings together their comparative advantages. With this strategy, we hope to improve the quality of agricultural statistics in the Pacific sub-region. said Ms Audrey Aumua, Deputy Director General, SPC.

P-SPAFS is the result of long-term efforts put forth by both FAO and SPC. The partnership will support the adoption and implementation of the methodological developments achieved by the Global Strategy to improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics, which provided the basis for this work. P-SPAFS was initiated in 2015 through a regional meeting including over 50 agricultural statisticians and planners from 14 Pacific Island countries.

Ms Eriko Hibi, Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, stated that ‘the development of statistical capacity in the Pacific region will support evidence-based policy, which is one of the priority areas of FAO’s work in the Pacific.”

After going through a series of deliberations and consultations, P-SPAFS was unanimously endorsed by the 5th Pacific Conference of Heads of Planning and Statistics in October 2017. It was formally launched during the twenty-seventh session of the Asia and Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics (APCAS 27), in Fiji, on 19 March 2018.

FAO is preparing a project to start implementing the activities envisaged in the P-SPAFS, while further resources are being mobilized. A working group on Agricultural Statistics for Pacific countries, constituted by APCAS 27 to promote adaptation and harmonization of methodologies and standards, will also work towards developing a work plan for P-SPAFS and for advocacy and resource mobilization.