The United Nations County Team in Sierra Leone (UNCT) is committed to enhancing support to Statistics Sierra Leone in its strides to produce and disseminate quality and reliable data. This, according to the UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Babatunde Ahonsi, is geared towards sound socio-economic policy formulation and implementation that could engender social and macroeconomic stability in Sierra Leone.
The RC, on behalf of the UNCT met the Statistician-General, Professor Osman A. Sankoh and his deputy, Mr. Andrew Johnny on Tuesday 10 November 2020 at the headquarters of Statistics Sierra Leone on A.J Momoh Street in Freetown.
Dr Ahonsi said he was aware of the challenges COVID-19 has posed on the institution in accessing primary data across the country, especially for the upcoming midterm census, and that he looks forward to a good-working relationship between the UN system and Statistics Sierra Leone, particularly the role the institution plays in providing real-time data on the progress made on the achievement of the SDGs.
The RC informed the Statistician-General and his deputy that the UN is currently updating its Common Country Analysis. “This process will require current data on various issues which our RCO will have to reach out to Stats-SL,” he said.
He also noted that “tracking the SDG indicators for the country is vital for the UNSDCF- United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework to demonstrate progress on UN programmes.”
Furthermore, the RC noted that reliable and current data is needed when funding proposals are prepared as this is how best justifications could be made for programmes being proposed. “Having this data disaggregated by locality, gender, age, etc. helps us to target our programmes better and ensure that ‘no one is left behind,” he said.
With an M&E Specialist now in the Resident Coordinator’s Office, the RC said that the UN System could be a better resource to connect Sierra Leone with SDG data, such as the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.
Responding to the RC, The Deputy Statistician General, Mr Andrew Johnny said, “Statistics Sierra Leone is the central authority for the collection, processing, analysis and dissemination of accurate, clear, relevant, timely and high quality statistical information on social, health, demographic, economic and financial activities to serve the needs of users including government and the general public”.
The Statistician- General, Professor Osman A Sankoh highlighted some of the surveys StatsSL has conducted including the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) – 2019, the Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey (SLIHS)-2018, the Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS)-6, and the Child Poverty Survey-2016.
He also justified the need for the midterm census and appealed to the UN system to continue to support the process. Professor Sankoh informed the RC that plans are underway for the use of the electronic survey solution for the first time in Sierra Leone for the mid-term census.
He also said that the 2019 DHS report will soon be launched by the President and it could be utilised by the RC’s office to update the UNCT Common Country Analysis (CCA). Professor Sankoh further added that StatsSL website now hosts SDG indicators which makes it easier to track implementation status.