1. We, the ASEAN Heads of Statistical Offices, convened our eighth meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to exchange views on recent developments in statistics and review statistical developments and progress of our cooperation in support of the ASEAN initiatives towards an ASEAN Community.

2. Mr. San Sy Than, Director General, National Statistical Institute Cambodia chaired the Meeting. H.E. Chhay Than, Senior Minister, Minister of Planning, delivered the opening address.

Progress of ASEAN Cooperation in Statistics

Support for ASEAN Initiatives, Planning and Policy Making

3. We reassured our commitment to support ASEAN initiatives towards an ASEAN Community by taking an active role in the development of an ASEAN Community Progress Monitoring System (ACPMS), and agreeing to put the ACPMS at the center, with proper and continued improvement of the data support system as guided by a comprehensive framework of the ASEAN Statistical Indicators and in line with the member countries’ national statistical development plans.

4. We agreed to continue working towards enhancing the relevance of statistics in addressing the policy thrusts of the ASEAN Community goals.

5. To promote transparency and relevance, consistent with the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, we agreed to set up a mechanism to enhance data sharing, dissemination and use of statistics at both national and ASEAN level, and to sustain our support in the development of an integrated, consistent database of ASEAN regional statistics.

6. Along the above thrusts, we further agreed to come up with a periodic report on the progress towards an ASEAN Community, provide data support to the regular publication of the ASEAN Statistical Yearbook, and to disseminate relevant data in support of the implementation of the Roadmap for Integration of Priority Sectors on a regular basis, as part of the AHSOM report to higher ASEAN bodies.

Harmonization of Statistics

7. To facilitate implementation of the ASEAN Common Industrial Classification (ACIC) and the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) Rev.4, we concurred to adopt and use the ACIC in the reporting of data relevant to the Roadmap for Priority Integration Sectors starting in 2008.

8. We also agreed to further explore ways to help ensure that all ASEAN Member Countries’ (AMCs) statistical systems are able to develop or revise their national industrial classification in accordance with the ACIC and ISIC Rev.4, taking into account ongoing initiatives in harmonisation of manufacturing industry classification and with close collaboration with international organisations and dialogue partner countries.

Adoption of International Standards and Good Practices

9. We agreed to pursue cooperation towards implementation of the 1993 System of National Accounts (SNA) focusing on the development of basic economic statistics.  We agreed further to identify minimum targets that take into account differences in the level of statistical development among and available basic data support in the countries in close collaboration with concerned international organisations and dialogue partner countries.

10. To facilitate preparations for the 2010 Round of Population and Housing Census in the AMCs and in adherence to international standards set through ongoing process at the global level, we agreed to pursue the establishment of a forum on the population census using common standard tables for reporting/disseminating data and with a view of strengthening the basic data support system for monitoring progress towards the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.

11. Recognising existing international standards and MDG targets related to labour market statistics and with a view to enhancing data support for monitoring of progress towards the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community and relevant MDG targets, we also agreed to further explore ways to develop labour market statistics in close collaboration with concerned international organizations and dialogue partner countries.

Statistical Capacity Building

12. Looking forward to the forthcoming implementation of the EU-ASEAN Statistical Capacity Building Programme, we agreed to establish a Quality Assurance Group, assign a Lead Country for each of the major domains of statistics under the programme, and to establish a systematic donor coordination mechanism and involvement of international organisations and dialogue partner countries. We further underscored the importance of ensuring that the programme will address national priorities and strengthen national capacities.

13. We reconfirmed the need for closer partnerships with concerned international organisations and dialogue partner countries in establishing a multilateral partnership with ASEAN Member Countries in the context of AHSOM’s future agenda.

14. Acknowledging the important role of the Statistics Unit (SU) of the ASEAN Secretariat in helping AHSOM promote the development of basic statistics and wider dissemination of harmonised and consistent regional statistics, we agreed to recommend the further strengthening of the SU.  We further agreed to strengthen AHSOM role in setting the agenda and directions for the cooperation in statistics.

Hosting of the ASEAN Heads of Statistical Offices Meeting (AHSOM)

15. We express our deep appreciation to the Kingdom of Cambodia, in particular the National Institute of Statistics, Ministry of Planning, for the excellent arrangements made for the meeting and for the warm hospitality accorded to us during AHSOM8.

16. We agreed to convene AHSOM 9 in Singapore in late 2008.