The ABS engages internationally for three distinct purposes:
- to shape, influence and lead international statistical standards, frameworks, strategies and policies
- to collaborate with others to develop a shared set of infrastructure, tools, methods and systems
- to assist developing countries with a particular focus on Asia and the Pacific to improve statistical information for decision-making.
The key objectives of the ABS's International Relations program are to:
- review and refresh the international relations strategy to ensure ABS maintains a high profile and outstanding reputation as an engaged and active statistical leader
- shape and influence national and international discussions regarding statistical frameworks, strategies and policies
- build strong statistical capacity and capability domestically and within Asia and the Pacific Region
- contribute to Australia’s foreign policy objectives and aid development strategies
- ensure the ABS is managing and mitigating against risks to the organisation
- monitor performance and compliance across the various components of the program by undertaking audit and review of the program.
The main outputs of the international relations program are:
- to seek high level collaboration to increase the pool of expertise, and reduce the cost of re-development, in order to harmonise statistical methods, systems and capabilities to achieve mutual benefits across all participating National Statistical Offices (NSOs)
- to refresh the current International Relations strategy (2010) taking account of current government priorities described in the Australia in the Asian Century white paper
- to support the growing importance of comparable international data in the global economy by meeting the increasing demand to produce high quality, timely and consistent statistics
- shifting the focus towards Asia and the Pacific, with a model of engagement that supports a proactive voice from this region
- high quality delivery of statistical improvement initiatives in Asia and the Pacific funded by AusAID
- to develop an integrated statistical capability framework that supports developing NSOs in meeting international standards in compiling and producing statistics.
The ABS International Relations program medium-term developments are:
- a refreshed International Relations Strategy 2013-2017, including the implementation of a new governance arrangement to manage the growing program - due 2013-14
- four collaborative projects with other NSOs, including new dissemination and collections systems, processes for collecting administrative data, and common metadata frameworks - due 2015-16
- working with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on the modernisation of statistical infrastructure - ongoing
- with the support of AusAID, deliver a range of improved outcomes for statistical improvement initiatives in Indonesia, the Pacific region and Timor-Leste - ongoing
- through targeted collaboration, enhance the ABS's engagement with key countries in Asia such as China, India and South Korea. Collaboration provides an opportunity to increase the pool of expertise, and reduce the cost of re-development via co-designed and co-developed projects - due 2016-17
- providing strategic support to support ABS Executive engagement in key international statistical fora such as the Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific, United Nations Statistical Commission, and the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and Pacific - ongoing.
Lewis Conn, Assistant Statistician, Office of the Statistician and External Engagement