Conference details and main issues English (en)

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The SDMX Global Conference was held in Bangkok between 28-30 September 2015 and hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

The conference brought together about 200 statisticians and experts involved in data and metadata exchange to discuss the role and the status of the SDMX initiative in modernizing the statistical process.

Overview

The conference opened with a day dedicated to the topic of capacity building. There were three distinct sessions: a “getting started” introductory track and two parallel streams on how to publish data using the SDMX Reference Infrastructure and on how to model data in SDMX.

The general two-day conference followed the theme "SDMX in action" and was based around a) SDMX strategy and achievements b) SDMX implementation and c) SDMX into the future. There were also panel discussions with SDMX sponsors and national organizations.

Main issues from a Eurostat perspective

There were very positive comments on the SDMX-RI, on the support provided by Eurostat and on the importance of the Reference Infrastructure for countries regarding the potential it offers for moving from a push to a pull approach.

The OECD requested that the SDMX-RI be included in the CSPA catalogue as a CSPA-compliant service.

Questions from the audience also concerned the possibility of further developing the infrastructure with regard to metadata support, including the support of reference (explanatory) metadata.

Several contributions (either presentations or questions) focused on current data exchange experiences, including the SDDS plus, the international data sharing project on macroeconomic data exchange, and national experiences in the context of the exchanges or data sharing with international, national and regional entities.

Important outcomes of the conference were:

a. General interest in further developing data sharing and DSDs for global use, following the example of national accounts;

b. The need to complement data exchanges with a parallel enhancement of the metadata exchange. This could be done by standardizing requirements from international organizations and by creating metadata structure definitions for global use to be adopted in the data exchange initiatives;

c. A common understanding that SDMX is much more than a pure "reporting" standard used by countries to transmit data to international organizations. The new standard language for data validation and transformation (VTL), the initiatives for data sharing, the enhancement of IT tools and the provision of new guidelines for modelling data in SDMX and for starting implementation projects were acknowledged by the audience as important steps towards the use of SDMX throughout the statistical process as designed in the GSBPM.

d. The availability of more powerful and standardized software services was seen increasingly as a strategic issue, in particular to support the intended "end-to-end" use of SDMX.

e. Shared interest in having more capacity-building action and tools, together with more guidelines on how to implement SDMX in subject-matter domains. The capacity-building day of the conference provided a good set of training tools, but more coordination is needed among the sponsors on how to fulfil this widespread request for capacity-building.

f. The importance of enhancing the potential of the SDMX infrastructure for the dissemination of statistical information and for supporting decision-making, for instance on policy-oriented indicators such as for the Sustainable Development Goal.

g. The need for a SDMX strategic roadmap through to 2020 to provide a rolling, medium-term action plan with precise deadlines and responsibilities. Communication actions would be required to raise the visibility of SDMX activities and the potential benefits of its use for global data exchange and data consumption.

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