Muscat: The Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA) has signed a partnership agreement with the Statistical Centre of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC-Stat), as it prepares to host the second UN World Data Forum in the UAE on October 22, 2018.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) took place at the authority’s headquarters in Dubai, with Abdullah Nasser Lootah, FCSA Director General and Chairman of the Organising Committee of the UN World Data Forum 2018, and Saber bin Saeed Al Harbi, Director General of GCC-Stat, as signatories. Attending the ceremony were a number of dignitaries and officials from both sides.
"The Sultanate has placed great emphasis on statistics since the very beginning of the renaissance sweeping across the country, under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, by virtue of its great role in decision and policy making,” said Dr. Khalifa bin Abdullah bin Hamad Al Barwani, CEO of Oman’s National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). “The UN World Forum 2018 is a great event, one we can count on to discover innovative ways to utilise data and statistics to quantify international progress.”
“This MoU is a tangible result of wise leadership directives to build bridges of cooperation between the UAE and the GCC,” said Lootah. “The agreement outlines the framework of collaboration that will enhance the UAE’s readiness to host the UN World Data Forum 2018, which seeks to achieve the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), not only in the UAE but also across the region and the world.”
"The effort to bring together local and regional organisations to work together reflects our commitment to producing a premium platform for the forum – one that befits such a prestigious global event,” he added.
Al Harbi explained that the agreement is a confirmation of GCC-Stat’s commitment to support initiatives and events related to statistics, in general, and the UN World Data Forum 2018, in particular. He described the MoU as one of the most important agreements for the creation of a global platform for seamless Gulf-wide statistical work, and one that stands to benefit all related stakeholders in the region.
Dr. Fahad Bin Sulaiman Al Tekhaifi, President of the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat), remarked that the forum brings together leaders, decision makers, and experts in the field of data science and statistics, as well as data producers and users from around the world.
He also said it represents an ideal opportunity to highlight the most important topics and introduce the latest technologies related to statistics in an interactive environment that endorses the exchange of information and ideas and promotes innovative initiatives aimed at strengthening the capacity of participating states to harness data and statistical systems, and implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally.
“We are delighted to join hands with the UAE and to support it with the hosting of the UN World Data Forum 2018,” said Othman Abdullah Al Othman, Acting General Director of the Central Statistics Bureau and Assistant Undersecretary for the Statistics Sector in Kuwait. “This joint venture will help ensure the success of the 2018 Forum, an event that will enhance the position and stature of GCC statistics agencies globally.”
“The collation of accurate statistical data is a fundamental pillar for the development process, as it provides indicators that play a pivotal role in decision-making, planning, and the preparation of economic, social, and environmental policies,” he added. “Strong and effective statistical systems are vital to generate the large amount of data that is required to plan effective policies that cover all aspects of community activity.”
Al Othman highlighted the importance of hosting major statistical platforms such as the UN World Data Forum, as it reflects the GCC countries’ support for SDGs, facilitating partnerships between the GCC and regional and international organisations.
This leads to enhanced cooperation between users and producers of statistical data and improves the effectiveness of economic and development policies at the national, regional, and international levels, he explained.
“Through the UN World Data Forum, we look forward to addressing important issues, such as national capacity-building and financing, improving data collection, integrating non-traditional sources of data, and reviewing the progress of the Cape Town Global Plan of Action for Sustainable Development Data, which was agreed upon at the first World Data Forum,” shared Al Othman. “By addressing challenges in global data collection and collation, we can examine the solutions that will enable us to meet the 2030 Agenda.”
Dr. Nabeel Mohammed Shams, Deputy CEO for Bahrain’s Statistics & Population Registry, stressed the importance of the World Data Forum, which according to him brings together the leading producers and users of data from around the region and the world, resulting in the endorsement of global efforts to launch innovative initiatives that improve the quality of data generated on health, migration, refugees, education, income, environment, human rights, and other core areas of sustainable development.
“The UN World Data Forum is an important gateway in exploring innovative approaches for the application of data and statistics in measuring progress globally,” said Shams, who also praised the FCSA for its efforts to host the event. “It provides an ideal platform to launch initiatives and solutions that will provide better data for all by sharing experiences that will enrich discussions and improve the use of data in sustainable development.”
The second edition of the UN World Data Forum 2018 will provide networking opportunities with organisations, companies, institutions, universities, and experts from all over the world, while promoting the 2030 Agenda. With global leaders in data and statistics attending the forum, along with a large number of officials from government and business sectors, it is expected to receive wide media coverage from various local, regional, and international media agencies.