12 Arab national statistical offices join an e-learning course on environmental statistics within the framework of SDGs

14 Jun 2019

As part of its mandate to enhance the national capacities of National Statistical Offices (NSOs) in the Arab region and to improve access to knowledge and promote data dissemination on development and SDGs in the region, the Arab Development Portal (ADP) in partnership with the Arab Institute for Training and Research in Statistics (AITRS) organized an e-learning course on environmental statistics within the framework of the 2030 Agenda on May 22nd and 23rd, 2019. The course attended by 27 representatives from 12 Arab NSOs[1] aimed to raise awareness and train mid-level civil servants at Arab NSOs to enhance their knowledge of environmental statistics and form a better understanding of the SDGs environmental indicators.


The 2030 Agenda emphasizes the importance that NSOs acquire the needed capacities to gather, analyze and disseminate SDGs related data at the national level. Following the launching of the ADP’s SDGs tracking tool, the first regional platform that monitors the progress of countries across the region with respect to the global list of 232 indicators and to the national development plans adopted by governments, it was necessary that statistical offices in the Arab region have the full support in establishing a monitoring system for reporting progress towards the SDGs.


This two-day course offers a training and technical assistance for the NSOs to better understand and produce SDGs related indicators. Therese Gemayel, the environment, energy and statistics expert, offered a detailed presentation on the methodological calculation for the Tier 1 and Tier 2 environment indicators and on how to report on the environmental SDGs indicators. She also briefed participants on the main challenges that the Arab region face in the environmental sector, from collecting indicators, to the absence of a clear framework for the environmental statistics sector and the lack of cooperation between government institutions. Participants’ interventions focused on the challenges of implementing and reporting on the SDGs indicators that are related to environment in the Arab Region. Also, participants asked technical questions about the definition and calculation of specific indicators, like indicators 5.a.1, 6.2.1 and 11.5.1. 


Moreover, representatives from 5 NSOs, namely Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Palestine and Egypt, shared their experiences in monitoring SDGs environment-related indicators through detailed presentations. This was an opportunity for them to discuss the availability of these indicators at the national level, in addition to presenting the data for the available indicators. In Egypt, for example, 13 indicators are available and 8 additional indicators are being monitored, while 42% of the 60 environment-related indicators from Tier 1 and Tier 2 are available in Palestine. The participants also discussed some of the main challenges that they face when reporting on these indicators, such as the coordination between all the public institutions and ministries, the absence of a clear methodological calculation for some of the indicators and their metadata, and the financial challenges they face in the implementation of statistical surveys. 


[1] Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen.

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