In the last 25 years, the EU and the MED countries have developed a very intense and fruitful collaboration on statistical issues that are common priorities. The collaboration allowed a regular exchange of experiences that led to better comparability and better quality in data production and dissemination in the South of the Mediterranean Sea. The results are visible and the level of achievement in statistics in the region has globally improved a lot in all the MED countries. In the last few years, the benefits from the EU-MED cooperation also transpired in a closer collaboration among the MED countries themselves, building on the development of a common understanding on the priorities and on the necessity to consider the specific local context in the application of the international rules and standards. The collaboration with the EU anchored deeply the joint regional investment and allowed innovation and improvement in the statistical systems of the MED countries. The EU-MED collaboration has been mainly supported by successive MEDSTAT projects, financed by the EU, and the most recent one, MEDSTAT IV, progressively gave the MED countries a leading role in the orientation and the implementation of the activities.
The regional cooperation was instrumental at discussing and implementing international standards and norms and at improving practices and capacities in the statistical offices in all the MED countries. The efforts and investments made in common regionally, as well as the systematic sharing of best practices within the region, resulted in an increased quality of the statistical production at the national levels. Together with more attention given to developing an attractive dissemination relevant to the users’ needs and to increasing the availability and accessibility of the data, these quality gains impacted the confidence of the users in public statistics.
The session aims at presenting concrete examples of benefits that have been drawn by the MED countries from a closer cooperation and collaboration within the Mediterranean region. The benefits that will be shown and discussed cover several different perspectives of regional collaboration that are linked to data harmonization and quality, to technical cooperation among countries, to innovation in statistics and to the handling of new and complex issues such as the SDGs. All these investments, made in common and later translated at the level of each country, will impact the quality of the statistical production and of its dissemination and should result in more trust and confidence of the users on official statistics. The presentations may lead to feeding a constructive dialogue with other regions as well as to identifying and replicating good practices.