UN: Food Systems Reorganization Requires Major Data Collection Effort

Government statisticians from Chile attending a FAOSTAT training session held at FAO headquarters.Government statisticians from Chile attending a FAOSTAT training session held at FAO headquarters. Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Technocrats never have enough data. As the UN intends to transform the global agricultural complex, the lack of data is seen as the major obstacle. When their plans fail, potentially starving to death million of people, they will blame the lack of data for the failure.  TN Editor

“Tremendous” efforts and increased investments are expected from countries and international organizations in order to improve national statistical capacities in achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Zero Hunger target, José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said today in Rome.

Opening the 7th International Conference on Agricultural Statistics, organized by the Italian National Institute of Statistics in collaboration with FAO, Mr. Graziano da Silva stressed the importance of the adoption by the UN Statistical Commission of 230 indicators to monitor the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and 169 targets of the 2030 Agenda, calling it “a turning point for the global statistical system.”

The Director-General also underlined that current capacities of most statistical systems do not match the SDG data requirements, adding that tried-and-tested statistics gathering systems need to be strengthened worldwide, and innovative approaches and cost effective methodologies have to be adopted.

“The challenge facing us now is to move from identifying our objectives to achieving them,” stated Italian Vice-Minister for Agriculture Andrea Olivero. “Statistics represent a critical tool in this effort, since the effectiveness of public policies will depend on the best possible information,” she added.

The Vice-Minister also stated that “we need experts capable of identifying the appropriate tools in this the new reality. Our task now is to take advantage of the new information era to ensure global food security and agricultural sustainability.”

FAO has already launched a few initiatives that will help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda, including the Food Insecurity Scale to regulate food insecurity in the world, and the AGRIS (Agricultural Integrated Survey) to manage social, economic, and environmental aspects of farming, according to Mr. Graziano da Silva.

He also announced that the agency is gathering and harmonizing the information provided by countries to produce global and regional aggregates, all of which are available online through FAOSTAT, its statistical database on food, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, natural resources management and nutrition.

The International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS VII) takes place every three years and convenes senior agricultural statisticians representing national statistical offices and ministries of agriculture from around the globe. The Conference, which runs through the end of the week, is open to all producers and users of agricultural statistics, from government entities, academia, development partners and international organizations.

This year’s theme is ‘Modernization of Agricultural Statistics in support of the Sustainable Development Agenda,’ and focuses on research studies for monitoring the agriculture-related targets of the 2030 Agenda.

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