Trusted Official Statistics for Good Governance and Evidence Based Decision-Making in Vanuatu
A new initiative is helping Vanuatu’s MPs to use data and statistics to make the right policy choices for citizens
Over recent weeks, the people and government of Vanuatu have faced trying circumstances and been forced to make difficult decisions to protect the country from COVID-19. But, without data and statistics, understanding who is affected, how and what support they need is impossible.
The Parliament of Vanuatu represents the highest-level of decision-making in the country and needs trusted statistics to understand the impact of their policy making on development. To improve decision making by Members of Parliament (MPs) and their parliamentary civil servants need to build their statistical capacity to be able to effectively utilize data. Better decisions by high-level political influencers can lead to improved services for the public.
But MPs state that they struggle to find the right data to understand the needs of those they represent.
“Sometimes we do not have available data to make informed decisions, and this results in certain groups being excluded”, Hon Marc Muelsul.
However, thanks to a partnership between the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO) the Department of Strategic Policy Planning & Aid Coordination (DSPPAC), and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), MPs and parliamentary civil servants are being trained to use data in their work, as well as strengthening Parliament’s organizational systems shaping data use.
Vanuatu was chosen out of fifty-six country proposals for funding by an expert panel as part of the PARIS21 Trust Initiative. It is also the first project in the region to focus on building the capacity of Parliament to use official statistics for good governance and evidence-based decision-making.
Stakeholders such as statisticians, policy analysts, expenditure analysts in different line ministries and the Parliamentary Secretariat have participated in discussions through the Trust Initiative and have shared their ideas on how to use data to improve public service delivery.
In Vanuatu decision making is devolved down to the level of local communities, this requires capacity to use data both for policy making and in holding government to account at all levels of the governance system. Investing in data systems and making that data usable for the public and those that represent them is an investment in governance, which in turn contributes to a more inclusive society, better public services and more sustainable development.
First Briefing Session held at VNSO with Members of Parliament