SANTIAGO, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Latin American and Caribbean region must improve its use of statistics, said Alicia Barcena, secretary general of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on Wednesday.
The secretary general said the region must integrate the benefits of "big data" into official statistics and obtain better statistics on gender.
Barcena opened the 17th meeting of the Statistical Conference of the Americas (CEA) Executive Committee in Santiago, Chile.
Barcena underlined the importance of statistics for the region's governments ahead of next year's evaluation of the first five years of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
She said that it would be a "critical year" for the region's statistics institutions as governments seek evidence of their progress toward the agenda's 17 sustainable development goals.
Guillermo Pattillo, director of Chile's National Institute of Statistics and president of the CEA Executive Committee, said that CEA Executive Committee is tasked with reviewing progress and looking at future challenges.
"One of those is the real generation of open data. These days, open data are the standard that our institutes must attain," he said.
He added that national statistics offices must pursue the goal of "producing data that have true meaning for society, are important for decision-making, and are socially useful."
Pascual Gerstenfeld, director of the ECLAC Division of Statistics echoed the importance of statistics, and said that "we are at a historic and privileged moment in time," where the "production of indicators for accountability ... allow us to better design evidence-based policies."