Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 27, 2023 (SKNIS): Data collection is critically important to St. Kitts and Nevis as it helps to provide a solid foundation for informed decision-making among others, said Minister of Sustainable Development, Constituency Empowerment, Environment and Climate Action, the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke on the July 26 edition of Infocus.
“Decision-making has to be informed by data. If we do not know what is happening in St. Kitts and Nevis, we cannot determine what policies would best serve our population,” said Dr. Clarke. “The only way you can make decisions about a country for now and for the future – which is sustainability – is through data collection.”
Dr. Clarke said that an important feature of collecting data is making it available for use.
“There is a way for us to really look at all the information that we already have and make it shareable, usable and digestible. So sometimes it is not that we do not have the data, it is just that we are not sharing the data,” said Minister Dr. Clarke. “[In addition to] collecting data, there is a need to collate, share and have data stored in a virtual data bank or space that is accessible by all ministries or platforms where all ministries, based on their data collection, can share information.”
She used as an example the Voluntary National Review (VNR) consultation sessions that were held in St. Kitts and Nevis in preparation for its presentation to the United Nations, which took place in mid-July 2023 for the first time. Dr. Clarke said that these sessions helped paved the way for youth voices to be heard, adding that the data collected proved beneficial.
“We would have been going to present a VNR without the real voice of the youth and that session in and of itself was an opportunity for collecting very rich data about what our young people feel is the best pathway for them as future citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis,” she said.
Dr. Clarke said that data is a critical input into policy as it helps the government make informed and evidence-based decisions. She noted that the Department of Statistics within the Ministry of Sustainable Development is tasked with collecting data ranging from agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and health to name a few. She added that the department collaborates with various ministries, and it is this “data that really informs our budgeting process, policy development for the Cabinet and the respective ministries.”