UNCTAD and Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics sign MoU to bolster economic modeling and forecasting

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UNCTAD and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) signed, on 21 December 2011, a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening the Bureau’s capacities at economic modelling and forecasting.

The goal of this cooperation between the two institutions is to enhance the capacities of the Palestinian Authority at producing, evaluating and interpreting demographic, economic and labour data to guide in the formulation and carrying out of socio-economic policies.

The memorandum builds on 27 years of cooperation between UNCTAD and the Palestinian Authority through UNCTAD’s Assistance to the Palestinian People Unit (APPU). Numerous efforts have provided support to the Palestinian people, government, agencies and private-sector institutions. This support is delivered through the provision of technical expertise and advisory services.

The latest agreement reinforces UNCTAD’s support to the PCBS – the main Palestinian institution entrusted with publishing all official Palestinian statistical figures. The PCBS’s larger aim is to build a modern, comprehensive and sound statistical system that can fully support Palestinian development ambitions.

This cooperation aims to support the efforts of PCBS to build the capacities of its newly established Economic Forecast Department, by allowing it to house and use UNCTAD’s macroeconometric model of the Palestinian economy, the Integrated Simulation Framework, at its headquarters in Ramallah. The PCBS will conduct updates, further develop the model, and use it for official economic forecasts. UNCTAD will provide PCBS with relevant tools and reports related to the model, and will provide advisory services and technical consultation as needed.

This cooperation has already borne fruit: PCBS has updated and simulated the Integrated Simulation Framework model in order to produce the PCBS economic forecast for 2012, which was released late in December 2011.

The two institutions will continue to cooperate by exchanging experiences, conducting workshops, and carrying out study visits. Most significant in this context will be UNCTAD’s provision of training on macroeconometric modelling to staff of PCBS to enable them to conduct forecasting and policy analysis relevant to the Palestinian economy.

The cooperation and related training will build the capacity of PCBS staff to forecast the Palestinian economy under different scenarios and enable it to conduct quantitative assessments of the impact of alternative economic policies.

For its part, PCBS will provide UNCTAD with economic, labour and demographic statistics and indicators, periodic economic and statistical reports, and forecasts useful to UNCTAD’s work on the Palestinian economy.