In recent years, there were a number of key developments affecting the world, in general, and the Arab Gulf region, in particular, including:
The global economic and political changes, which have resulted in significant challenges for economic development in the Arab Gulf region, with the move towards an economic development process that is in par with the global changes.
The adoption of national long-term visions by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries, with the common unified aim to strengthen and diversify economic growth, enhance competitiveness, and stimulate development in general, while seeking to reduce dependency on oil and gas.
The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations Summit in September 2015, with a firm commitment from World leaders to implement the 2030 Agenda, which is “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, aiming to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner”.
These developments have resulted in the following key challenges for the statistical work in the region:
An urgent need for availability of good, reliable and timely data, to help measure progress towards achieving the goals of the national visions of GCC Countries as well as the Sustainable Development Goals;
An increased demand for a variety of relatively new statistics, some of them in areas still untapped by National Statistical Systems;
Statistical requirements to support remarkable development achievements and diversified processes in the GCC Countries;
The need to develop the necessary mechanisms to bridge the gap between producers of statistics – including statistical centers –and users of statistics in government, the private sector and academic institutions, researchers and others.
In this context, the Saudi Government General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) and the Statistical Center of the GCC Countries (GCC-Stat) are co-organizing the first GCC Statistical Forum, under the theme of “Enhancing Statistical Partnerships to Support Economic Policies and Sustainable Development in the GCC Region.”