MEDSTAT IV: Working for a better visibility for statistics, Lisbon, February 21-22

MEDSTAT IV: Working for a better visibility for statistics

 The project will hold its second regional meeting on “visibility and the relations with the users of statistics” on February 21-22, 2018 in Lisbon. After the general discussions and conclusions from the 1st regional meeting on this topic on March 22-23, 2017, the participants will now address more specific questions such as:

How to use visualisation tools for communicating on statistics through web-based tools or the social media? The communication from the statistical offices must adapt to the new tools that are used by their different audiences. This calls for revamping the old strategies and for presenting the data under a more attractive and visual way. The workshop will thus discuss infographics and what is required to generate them; participants will also hear and discuss experiences from EU and MED countries.

How to talk with the journalists about statistics? Journalists and the media in general are important vectors for the communication on statistics. However, they are not statisticians and they don’t speak the same language. It is thus important to build bridges with them in order to generate a mutual understanding. The workshop will discuss the results from the Communication for Statistics (C4S) training course implemented by the project. Participating countries will give their perspective on the benefit they drew from the training. Other views will also be brought from the EU countries and Paris21.

How the assessments of the capacities of the statistical systems may contribute to the credibility and trust in official statistics? These assessments are carried out regularly through different systems and using different tools. They all build on concepts and objective criteria that derive from codes of practices for statistics and general principles for the statistical work.  What may be different is the process followed to feed these assessments. Different tools will be presented by the project and by guests (Open Data Watch, the World Bank) and experiences from EU and MED countries related to these tools will be discussed.

At the end of the workshop, lessons will be drawn and good practices will be identified that will add up to the set already generated at the end of the 2017 meeting.


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A specificity in external trade statistics is that you always have two measures of the same flow: an import of country A from country B is also an export from country B to country A. In a perfect world, the two measures should be the same but this is rarely the case. This may be due to differences in valuation of the flows between the two countries, to the cost of certain services attached to the flow such as insurance or simply to a different interpretation and translation of the international rules and classifications. But whatever is the cause of the gap (of these asymmetries), understanding its magnitude and its origin is key to the improvement of external trade statistics.

Mirror exercises have been a topic covered by the previous MEDSTAT project and the ENP-S countries have today a better grip on what create the asymmetries in the regional trade and in the trade with the EU. However, it is important to regularly check the gaps particularly as the international standards have recently evolved. In addition, MEDSTAT IV will open the ground for mirror exercises on trade in services, something that has not been done before.

A sub-regional workshop will be held on 9, 10 and 11 January 2018 in Tunis (Tunisia) on the theme of « Asymmetries in the External Trade Statistics Sector ». Representatives of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria will attend this event that will be facilitated by two experts who have an extensive knowledge of trade statistics in the ENP-S countries, one for the trade in merchandises (Mr Nicola Veronese, Director at Venice Consulting S.A) and one for trade in services (Mr Thierry Coulet, Key Expert of the MEDSTAT project).

The ENP-S Countries were required to prepare in advance data files regarding their imports by country of origin and their exports by country of destination, especially with the EU and for trade among the ENP-S countries themselves. The workshop will thus build on real data, this allowing an immediate internalisation of the results of the mirror exercises.


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