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									          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,
     Cairo, Egypt.

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
         implementation strategy

     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
      2008 SNA

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.


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