The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests of Bhutan is pleased to announce the issue of the In-depth Country Assessment Report (IdCA 2014). The IdCA report has an essential role as it provides a benchmark for developing Strategic Plans for Renewable Natural Resources Statistics (SP-RNRS) in Bhutan.
The RNR statistical system has come a long way in terms of institutional settings, coverage and availability of data. However, the reliability, timeliness and adequacy of most data is still rather poor. To formulate good policies, effective data support systems are essential. Timely and reliable data and information help understand critical issues, design appropriate interventions and efficiently monitor programs and policies.
This IdCA report provides an insight into the problems encountered by RNR statistics in the country and pinpoints the inputs, processes and outputs necessary for bringing improvement. It is the result of intensive studies conducted using FAO’s standard methods of country assessment concerning agricultural and rural statistics. Slight modifications were however, integrated into the study to fit the specific context and address its needs.
This assessment report is intended to be used as a reference document by the RNR sector, other relevant government agencies and international community interested in the development of RNR statistics whilst preparing proposals and action plans.
On 6-7 November over 30 experts from a dozen national and international agencies and research institutions gathered at the FAO Headquarters in Rome to discuss how to improve the relevance and reliability of food data collected in national Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys (HCES).
The meeting, convened by the FAO in collaboration with the World Bank and funded by the Global Strategy, brought together statisticians, economists and nutritionists to share recent research on how different survey design features affect the quality of data on food acquisition or consumption. The goal is to build on the strengths of each discipline to draw lessons on how food data can be collected in HCES so as to best serve multiple purposes (from food security to nutrition and poverty analysis, to name a few).
The starting point of the meeting was the joint FAO, IHSN, World Bank Assessment of the Reliability and Relevance of the Food Data Collected in National Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys, which was presented at a side-event of the 45th session of the UN Statistical Commission in March 2014. The meeting featured new and exciting research on critical issues identified in the assessment, such as the choice of an optimal recall period for food items, the length and specificity of food lists, measuring individual as well as household consumption, and capturing food eaten away from home (which constitutes an increasing share of food budgets and calories consumed as countries develop).
The plan is for this group to continue collaborative work over the next 2-3 years to develop and disseminate science-based standards for data collection that can be endorsed by the international statistical community and be useful to survey data practitioners worldwide.
Small-scale operators are key contributors to local food security, poverty alleviation and to providing livelihoods, however, monitoring their production and accurately measuring their contribution to local foods, livelihoods and economy is extremely challenging in the field of fishery and aquaculture.
The research topic “Identifying the appropriate indicators and collection methods for small-scale fisheries” led by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistics and Information Branch of FAO (FIPS) attempts to find a pragmatic solution to improve overall understanding on the actual contribution of small-scale fisheries to the rural community. The principle concept of this topic is the same as the Global Strategy – to improve the quality of knowledge by establishing a connection and comparing existing information and data collection systems.
There are two main components under this research topic: i) to develop proper guidelines to establish master sampling framework (i.e. development of standard census survey modules for fisheries and aquaculture), and ii) to establish a strategy and general guidelines to connect master data and the sampling framework with the existing data collection and monitoring systems.
For the first component, a draft of the aquaculture and capture fishery census survey modules has been developed. Those survey modules follow the principle concepts adopted by the World Census of Agriculture. Countries would design their own census surveys by selecting appropriate modules and types of questions in specific categories according to their policy needs and interests as well as availability of funds. In this respect, the guidelines clarify that not only categories can be combined as best fits, but also specific items from within categories can be extracted and combined. Currently, the draft guidelines of those survey modules are being reviewed by internal experts.
The second component aims to provide a basic strategy and procedure to effectively utilize outcomes of census surveys to further design and adjust regular data collection systems as well as to connect information obtained from the various existing data collection frameworks, including administrative data, information collected for monitoring and management at communal, sub-national and national level and ad-hoc focused surveys such as project case studies. The proposed approach translates all data items collected by the various systems into a set of common conceptual items in general accordance with those adopted by the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 of the United Nations.
FIPS is currently developing the Global Data Framework in support of the Blue Growth initiative which aims to achieve sustainable use of aquatic fish resources and environment. Achievements of the research activity will be incorporated into this broader framework, as well as the Global Strategy.