i. The Vanuatu National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (VNSDS) was developed with funding and technical assistance from Paris21 and the SPC. It is based on the outcomes of a strategic planning workshop with stakeholders in the VSS and the results of sector reviews for economic, social, environment and agriculture statistics. In each area there has been a thorough assessment of the statistical collections, human resources, data processing, analysis and output systems against international standards, resulting in numerous recommendations for improvements. These form the founding principles of the VNSDS.

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ii. The Government of Vanuatu is committed improving official statistics for policy, planning and decision making as the foundation for social and economic development of the nation. The Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO), along with the broader Vanuatu Statistical System (VSS), is facing unprecedented and ever increasing demand for a wider range of social, economic, demographic and environmental statistics to monitor progress towards achieving national and international aspirations. The VNSO and VSS are struggling to meet this demand. In many areas of official statistics Vanuatu exceeds regional and international standards while in others there are major deficiencies. The challenge is to coordinate the VSS efficiently and effectively to maintain this excellence while working to address the gaps.

iii. The VNSDS is grounded in the strategic objectives to improve human resources for statistics; the design and implementation of a continuous programme of capacity building in the VSS; an adequate budget; a sound policy and legislative framework; effective and inclusive consultation, coordination and coordination; improving access to statistical information; and improving statistical literacy and advocacy. This enabling environment will result in a core national dataset of the highest quality; available in a timely manner and easily accessible to users.

iv. The vision the VSS aspires to achieve in the implementation of the VNSDS is: A national statistical system recognised for providing timely and reliable statistics with strong partnership among stakeholders.

v. The mission is the core business of the VSS. The data must be of high quality, reliable and timely to assist the government and the community to make better informed decisions. Statistical systems must be strengthened and developed to meet emerging needs in the social and environment area. This will rely on building and maintaining relationships with key providers and users of statistics. To continually improve the VSS must monitor past and current performance to plan well and build a stronger future. The mission of the VSS is: To coordinate, produce and disseminate quality and timely statistical information for evidence-based decision making for all.

vi. The VNSDS values reflect the guiding principles and behaviours the VSS believe in as a national statistical service:

a. Professionalism – Upholding the highest standard of professional ethics in coordinate, produce and disseminate quality statistical data. Adhering to principles of justice and fairness. Maintaining national data and knowledge management systems at the highest standard.

b. Social and cultural values – Cherishing and upholding cultural diversity and values in all our activities.

c. Partnerships – Maintaining effective working relationships with all stakeholders. Advocating and educating about the use of statistical information for sound decision making. Effective use of the media to build statistical literacy.

d. Integrity – Committed to maintaining confidentiality with data collection and statistical information. Taking all efforts to make sure respondent burden reasonable. - 6 VNSDS 2016-2020

e. Reliability, accuracy and consistency – Ensuring consistent, reliable and accurate statistics for all. Collect, process and disseminate data and information in a timely manner.

f. Sound management – Providing effective, timely, accurate and user friendly knowledge management systems for users.

g. Sustainability – Developing a sustainable national statistical system meeting the needs of all stakeholders.

h. Client focused – Maintain responsive and open communication to partners and stakeholders. Ensure that clients are satisfied with statistical outputs through regular consultation and review.

vii. Institutional arrangements for coordination in the VSS have improved in recent years, but still fall short of ensuring overall level required for the production of official statistics. While the Government Statistician has the mandate for the coordination required to achieve the VNSDS production strategies, as per the Statistics Amendment Act of 2013; the VNSO does not have the resources to achieve the level of coordination required. There is an urgent need for the Vanuatu Law Commission to review the legislation mandating the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistical information of all agencies in the Vanuatu Statistical System. The 2013 revision to the Act created the Statistics Advisory Committee (SAC), the ultimate body with oversight for the VSS. It will be the mechanism to improve coordination in the VSS by bringing users and producers of statistics together to discuss supply and demand issues. One of the key functions of the SAC will be to finalise the prioritisation of activities and monitor the implementation of the VNSDS across all sectors. The SAC will meet twice a year to discuss the ongoing work program of VSS agencies based on the VNSDS, emerging issues and statistical releases. The Implementation Plan (Annex 3) will guide SAC governance activities.

viii. It is estimated that the implementation of the VNSDS in this first three year period will require Vt 302 million, most of this in the thematic subject matter areas to develop the core national dataset of statistical information through data collections to address data gaps (Section 5 and Annex 2). New initiatives represent about 90% of the VNSDS budget, however once detailed costing breakdowns are done with the annual work plans a proportion of this will be available through the recurrent budget as funds are reprogramed into priority areas. The significant budget items are for a Household Income and Expenditure Survey in 2016, a disability survey in 2015; a Household Labour Force Survey in 2017; the creation of a business register and quarterly business enterprise surveys from with development work beginning in 2015; and a rural smallholder agriculture survey in 2017.

ix. The VNSDS contains two thematic areas to achieve the strategic objectives: strategic factors and interventions required across the national statistical system; and production strategies for specific subject matter areas in statistics (details in Section 4). These areas will need to be reviewed every three years to ensure that they continue to be relevant and align with the statistical information needs of government and users and to maximise the benefits available from new methods, technologies and developments in statistical standards. The statistical production strategies, the lead agency responsible and indicative timing are summarised in the following table (based on the Implementation Plan in Annex 3). -