Strengthening Training Standards for Agricultural Statistics

Training is the third technical component in the Global Strategy’s Action Plan, whose ultimate objective is to build country capacity.

Regional implementation takes place through regional partners, the African Centre for Statistics (ACS) at UNECA in Africa and the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP) in Asia/Pacific, while the Global Office is responsible for setting common standards, ensuring coordination across regions and developing training material.

Two regional meetings recently took place in Asia and Africa. They provided an important opportunity for establishing links between the Global Strategy and existing training institutes and for making progress in the implementation phase.

The Network for the Coordination of Statistical Training in Asia and the Pacific convened on 22 – 24 April 2014 in Chiba, Japan. The aim of the network is to facilitate information sharing and promote coordination in the Asia-Pacific region. During the meeting, the 2014-2015 Work Programme was discussed and adopted. The three main areas of work will be: (i) Developing, testing and finalizing tools and a systematic process for a coordinated regional statistical training needs assessment, (ii) Establishing a sub-group in support of the training component of the Global Strategy’s Regional Action Plan for Asia-Pacific to ensure that training needs in agricultural statistics are appropriately catered for, and (iii) Creating a web-based platform to facilitate the sharing of existing training materials, a database of statistics experts/trainers and the development of e-learning courses. The meeting was attended by 10 ESCAP member states and 7 regional and international agencies.

In Africa, ACS-UNECA organized an expert group meeting for the final discussion and validation of common curricula in agricultural statistics. The meeting was held from 26 to 30 May 2014 in Rabat (Morocco), hosted by the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA).

Skills and qualifications were discussed, and it was decided that statistical schools will progressively integrate the curricula in their programs with some autonomy and the specialization in agriculture statistics will take place during the last year of studies.

The specialization year has been organized in seven modules that include topics recommended by the Global Strategy such as the development of a master sampling frame and the use of new technologies, the use of administrative data, the environmental dimension of agriculture (SEEA and agri-environmental indicators), the social dimension of agriculture (gender statistics, food security statistics and rural development indicators) and improved management of agriculture statistics (survey planning and budgeting, communication with decision-makers). The meeting was attended by 7 regional schools or universities, 3 Statistics Offices and international organizations.