Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific Preface The

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					                                                                          Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2007

     The monitoring of social, economic and                is more, a large number of useful indicators could
environmental development requires the use of data         not be included in any form because the data
that is comparable across countries and over time.         availability criterion could not be met. In other
This is realized in the 2007 edition of the Statistical    words, the indicator selection was often guided by
Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific. For the first time      the availability of data rather than the requirements
in its 50-year history, the Yearbook presents data         of the development topic addressed.
compiled from global sources maintained by United                Small statistical offices do not have resources
Nations agencies and other international                   to conduct the extensive programme of regular
organizations. The use of “international” rather than      surveys that would be needed to obtain all these
“national” data allows for three major innovations,        data. In one of its core areas of work, ESCAP
which together have resulted in a completely revised       provides training and facilitates, in partnership with
ESCAP flagship publication: the organization of the        a number of donors and development agencies, the
Yearbook in chapters that address social, economic         strengthening of official national statistical systems.
and environmental topics, the presentation of              Another theme of the statistics subprogramme of
indicator values aggregated to regions and other           ESCAP, in the production of the Yearbook and
groups of countries of interest, and the use of charts     capacity-building initiatives alike, is to make better
and analytical text to facilitate the interpretation of    use of and widen the audience for data that have
indicator values and trends therein.                       already been collected, usually at a considerable cost.
     The ESCAP secretariat hopes that the use of                 The Yearbook includes in a consistent manner
internationally comparable data and methodological         the definitions and aggregation methods for all
transparency will trigger discussions on the benefits      indicators. The original data sources are reflected
of following international statistical standards and       with the precision available to ESCAP. The notes
methodologies at the national level. Data on               on statistical methods at the end of the Yearbook
neighbours and other countries with similar                provide details on how the aggregates were derived
circumstances and levels of development provide            and any imputation was performed in their
irreplaceable benchmarks for evidence-based policy         calculation by ESCAP. The notes at the end of each
planning. At the same time, comparable indicators          chapter provide, for each indicator, the definition
provide yardsticks for citizens to hold their decision     and the aggregation method, including weighting
makers to account, and promote good governance             and imputation where applicable, as well as the
and prudent management of public resources.                source(s) of data. The importance of this kind of
     The new Yearbook would not have been                  information about data, which statisticians call
possible without the considerable efforts of               metadata, cannot be overemphasized in a com-
international agencies in collecting the data and          parative inter-country study such as this.
ensuring that the figures are as comparable between              This Yearbook is available online at the ESCAP
the countries and over time as possible. Nor would         website,, where
it have become a reality if it were not for the efforts    its data and other ESCAP data are downloadable in
of national statistical systems to produce the original    a user-friendly format. Yearbook readers are
data. By taking data from international agencies,          encouraged to use the online form available on the
the ESCAP secretariat does its part to reduce the          site to send feedback in order for the secretariat
response burden on national statistical systems,           to be able to make the next Yearbook and other
contributing to the freeing of resources for better use.   statistical information services even better.
     For nearly as important as what is covered in         Comments on the overall usefulness of the
this Yearbook is what could not be. A mere glance          revamped publication and the areas covered in it are
reveals the extent of data gaps in some tables. What       particularly welcome.

                                                                   Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2007

     The Statistical Yearbook was prepared under     Emerging Social Issues, Environment and
the guidance of Pietro Gennari and Ilpo Survo by     Sustainable Development, Information, Communi-
an ESCAP Statistics Division team coordinated by     cation and Space Technology, Trade and Investment,
Eric Hermouet and Jan Smit. The Yearbook was         and Transport and Tourism divisions. In particular,
prepared by the following team from the Statistics   substantive contributions were provided by Srinivas
Division: Krisana Boonpriroje, Sara Duerto Valero,   Tata, Kelly Anne Hayden, David Hastings, Jean-
Haishan Fu, Nongnuch Hiranyapaisansakul,             Michel Sadoul, Mia Mikic, Marit Nilses, Marc
Joel Jere, Supharat Kaewkhonkaen, Pornrat            Proksch and Richard Alexander Roehrl.
Lertyosthanavath, Wei Liu, Nixie Mabanag,                 Orestes Plasencia copyedited the draft chapters.
Giovanni Maria Semeraro, Andres Montes, Zeynep       The cover was designed by Erawan Printing Ltd.,
Orhun, Panyasri Phuvakirivivat, Fabio Pinna,         Part. who also printed the book.
Varaphorn Prapatsakdi, Christian Stoff, Panpaka           ESCAP gratefully acknowledges the con-
Supakalin, and Yichun Wang.                          tribution and efforts of agencies that compile and
     The indicators were selected and the analysis   make available internationally comparable statistics
developed in close collaboration with ESCAP’s        on their websites.