Workshop on Strategic Planning for the Improvement of Agricultural and Rural Statistics in Asia and the Pacific

Over sixty participants, including the leaders of the statistical systems of fourteen countries in the Asia and the Pacific region, which are implementing the Global Strategy, attended a Workshop on Strategic Planning for Agricultural and Rural Statistics organized by FAO in Bangkok, Thailand, on 17-19 March 2015.

 The purpose of the workshop was to share the guidelines for the development of a Strategic Plans for Agricultural and Rural Statistics (SPARS) and discuss challenges in integrating agriculture into the national statistical system. Discussions were complemented by technical contributions of implementing partners in the regions, ADB and UNESCAPSIAP, as well as PARIS21, USDA-NASS, and independent experts from the Africa region. The experience of Tanzania in preparing SPARS was also presented as an example.

The outputs of this workshop are expected to help shape the development of SPARS in the Asia and the Pacific region by building on the lessons learnt from the SPARS process in Africa, and good practices from the developed statistical systems of Australia, Canada and Japan, while keeping in view the needs of the country.

In 2015, nine of the fifteen implementing countries in the region are expected to produce a SPARS, namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, Georgia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Samoa, and Sri Lanka. The development of SPARS in each country is expected to provide a long-term vision and a plan for improvement of agricultural and rural statistics on the basis of In-depth Country Assessments that identified the key issues and challenges in country.

Newly selected countries, such as Cambodia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Maldives and Viet Nam, which attended the one-day orientation programme for implementing the Global Strategy, also participated in the workshop. Over the coming year, those countries, including Afghanistan, will begin a comprehensive process that encompasses both an In-depth Country Assessment and the development of SPARS.