Beirut, 16 September 2019 (ESCWA)--Today, ESCWA held the first Regional Workshop on the Development of Transport Statistics and Transport-related Sustainable Development Indicators in the Arab Countries, in cooperation with the Arab Institute for Training in Statistics (AITRS).
The workshop was opened by the Lebanese Minister of Interior and Municipalities, Raya El Hassan, the Executive Secretary of ESCWA, Rola Dashti, and the Director of AITRS, Hedi Saidi.
In her opening statement, El Hassan said that statistics were essential to present an accurate image of the situation on the ground to policymakers, who could then formulate informed action plans. “It goes without saying that evidence-based policies can trigger a quantum leap and put sustainable development efforts on the right track,” she added.
Road traffic injuries are the tenth leading cause of death globally, with about 1.3 million deaths and as many as 50 million injuries every year. Young people are the most affected: in Lebanon, 47% of victims are 15 to 44 years old and in Jordan, 45% are 21 to 38 years old.
“These frightening numbers are a wake-up call for us all to protect our children,” said Dashti. “They should prompt us to work together on devising a regional strategy to reduce fatalities across the Arab region.”
Dashti added that ESCWA was working on creating a regional database to provide reliable, timely and detailed statistics, hoping that the workshop would pave the way for it. She stressed that the development of transport and road safety statistics was no longer an option but rather a necessity to protect the lives of young people in the Arab region.
For his part, Saidi highlighted the challenges faced by the statistics sector in the region. “People who work in this field face numerous impediments when collecting and providing data,” he said, adding that the Statistics Division at ESCWA was working hard to fill the gaps, an endeavor which also required huge efforts by national statistical offices.
Government representatives from the national statistical offices of all Arab States and experts from regional and international organizations attended the workshop, along with representatives from academia and the private sector, mainly from the transport-related information technology sector.
The workshop was aimed at building capacity in identifying statistical gaps; compiling, classifying and analysing transport data; and periodically reporting on selected data and indicators, with a focus on those related to the Sustainable Development Goals. It also sought to strengthen cooperation between regional and national partners, who shared knowledge on best practices and lessons learned in the collection and dissemination of transport data.
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