Statisticians and cultural officers from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu as well as international and regional agencies attended the "Regional Cultural Statistics Meeting" in Suva ( Fiji Islands), May 27 through May 29, 2011.
The overall objective of the meeting was to help ensure that the full potential and real contribution of the cultural sector of the economy and society is understood and documented, so that appropriate policies that take the creative industries into account can be made and implemented.
Speaking at the Inaugural Regional Cultural Statistics Meeting, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Deputy Director-General, Fekitamoeloa 'Utoikamanu, emphasized the importance of cultural statistics, noting that the full development of the cultural sector depends on improving data collection and analysis. Ms. 'Utoikamanu said that SPC has already begun working with some Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to integrate cultural data into existing tools such as censuses. The SPC, in collaboration with various development partners including the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Statistics New Zealand, is also assisting PICTs to implement a Ten Year Pacific Statistics Development Strategy.
The meeting was hosted by SPC and partially funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute of Statistics in partnership with UNESCO Office for Pacific States and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. It was a follow-up to the European Union-funded workshop on cultural mapping, planning, and policy held at SPC on May 23 and 24, 2011 and will considerably assist countries to develop their cultural policies using tools such as cultural statistics and indicators.