ESCWA – UNSD Expert Group Meeting on National Accounts
12-14 May 2009, Cairo, Egypt
ANNOTATED PROVISIONAL AGENDA
1. Opening of the meeting
The opening session will begin at 9:30 a.m. precisely on Tuesday, 12 May 2009, at JW Marriot Hotel,
2. Objectives of the meeting
The EGM will discuss the assessment of the country practices of the ESCWA region for
compiling internationally comparable National Accounts. The EGM will also discuss National
Accounts issues in implementing the revised 2008 System of National Accounts. These
include new classifications of economic activities and products, the main challenges faced by
the ESCWA countries on issues such as rebasing and linking of national accounts,
backcasting, benchmarking, volume measures and methods for estimation of Quarterly
National Accounts. Measures for the exhaustive coverage of economic activities in the
National Accounts, including the measurement of the informal employment and the informal
sector activities will also be deliberated in the EGM. It is expected that the discussions would
contribute to the formulation of a regional plan for implementation of the revised
macroeconomic accounting standards of the 2008 SNA for the countries in the region.
3. Administrative matters and introduction of participants
A general acquaintance introducing each of the participating experts from the ESCWA member
countries and the international organizations and all participating ends.
4. System of National Accounts, 2008: Updating on recent developments, future steps and the
ESCWA and UNSD will analyze the recent developments and the preparation for the updated system
of National Accounts, SNA 2008. Discussion shall tackle the release of the white cover version of
SNA 2008 (volume 1), the changes made to volume 1, and the drafting and revision of volume 2. In
order to expedite the process of having the SNA 2008 available in Arabic language, ESCWA will
update participants on communications and progress made in relevance to translating the SNA 2008
into Arabic as soon as the final English text is available. Discussion shall extend to the importance of
proposing an implementation strategy building on the assessment of the regional status in the field and
following international recommendations in the principles of strategic planning, coordination,
monitoring and planning, and improving statistical systems. Outline of the global programme for
implementation and outreach of 2008 SNA will be introduced.
5. Assessment of ESCWA country practices on compilation of National Accounts
Along its proposed work plan, ESCWA will produce a non recurrent publication on regional
assessment of the status of National Accounts in the ESCWA region. During the EGM, ESCWA will
be discussing a first draft of the documentation of the sources and methods of compiling National
Accounts in the ESCWA region, based on the input received as a response to the questionnaire sent to
each country. This booklet would serve as an important input for the discussion on formulating the
regional implementation strategy.
6. Countries’ experiences, presentation
In order to reflect on the current status and main problems faced in the compilation of National
Accounts, three country representatives will present the status of National Accounts in each
corresponding country, reflecting on the following three main points:
- History and current status of National Accounts compilation in the respective country
- Main challenges and obstacles facing each respective country in the compilation process (from
Supply, Demand and Income side)
- Future steps to improve the quality and timeliness of National Accounts including implementation of
7. Analysis of the main challenges in the implementation of SNA 2008
Based on the innovation introduced in SNA 2008, this item of the agenda will deal with a list of
selected relevant items that will help reflect on the position of countries and the regional status in the
implementation of SNA 2008. Experts in the field will tackle a number of specific topics such as ‘New
classifications’, ‘Constant prices and back recalculation’, ‘Quarterly National Accounts’ and other
items, after each of which the floor will be open for discussion. Discussion will aim at identifying
main strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of the new system as per international
recommendations, and will thus decline from being much technical.
8. Exhaustive measurement of economic activities including the Informal sector
Notions of non-observed economy and National Accounts methods to achieve exhaustivity shall be
discussed. Participants will be updated on the status of the Development Account project on the
informal sector, to be followed by a pilot country experience, specifically Palestine. A presentation
shall follow on the ‘1-2 Survey’ approach, followed by a comparison between the different approaches
in the estimation of informal sector. Other countries can reflect on their experiences in achieving
exhaustivity of National Accounts estimates.
9. Implementation strategy in the ESCWA region for SNA 2008
The SNA 2008 provides an up-to-date macro-economic accounting standard for compiling basic
economic and macroeconomic statistics. A regional implementation strategy is needed to support
sound macroeconomic management and evidence-based policy formulation through a sustained
regionally and internationally consistent process of compilation and reporting of National Accounts.
This session will thus tackle the relevant challenges and obstacles faced, financial resources required,
the role of ESCWA in following up and coordination, linkage to ESCWA national accounts and
economic statistics activities for 2009-2011, the upcoming EGM in 2011 as well as other relevant
items and suggestions.
10. Meeting evaluation and future steps
This session will be devoted to evaluate the meeting, finalize its recommendations and discuss the
future steps to be taken for improving the quality of National Accounts in the ESCWA region.
11. Closing of the meeting
Thanking all the participants and closing the session.