The universality of the Sustainable Development Agenda, the selection of the indicators of measurement and the general scarcity in some countries of data on indicators that can only be measured through household surveys, has created additional unprecedented interest in MICS. Some regions of the world are particularly data poor, often because of the geographic location, population size, capacity constraints and a lack of opportunity to participate in global survey programmes.
Small countries usually mean small statistical offices. In some countries this is less than a handful of people assigned to producing or compiling all official statistics. It is under these circumstances that regional entities or organisations such as UNICEF can play a coordinating and supporting role, providing technical expertise and additional hands.
The demand for data, however, is global, and in an effort to harness sub-regional strengths and economies of scale, earlier this year, the MICS Programme ran two Survey Design Workshops for the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean Islands and small states. Both workshops were preceded by a few days on SDG monitoring in the regions, and were well attended and received, with delegations from nearly every country and territory, as well as main partners and regional entities.
In the Pacific, the workshop was co-hosted by SPC – the Secretariat of the Pacific Community – and UNFPA, which both for many years had supported household surveys across the region and were keen to bring countries under a coordinating umbrella with regards to social sector surveying, efforts that are well underway in the areas of economy and labour surveys.
As a result, so far, Kiribati and Fiji have officially begun MICS implementation and others are expected to follow. Both countries are new to MICS, in fact, only a single pacific state has ever implemented MICS report: Life in Vanuatu.
In the Caribbean, the workshop was co-hosted by OECS, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and UN ECLAC. A number of countries previously participated in MICS. Following the workshop, the British Overseas Territory of Turks and Caicos Islands begun survey planning.
Besides the three countries and territories mentioned, MICS6 also welcomes Honduras for the first time. Negotiation and initial planning is ongoing in additional countries and territories new to MICS.