Profiles promise return of reliable statistics in Central Asia

26 March 2001 UNESCO’s Almaty Office (Kazahkstan) plans to complete national statistical profiles of five Central Asian republics by the end of this year as part of sub-regional follow-up to the World Conference on Science.

The five states concerned are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The profiles, which include both quantitative and qualitative statistical indicators, will make it possible to assess the state of science in Central Asia for the purposes of obtaining future assistance. The ultimate goal is a return to the production of reliable national statistics.

Inherited from the Former Soviet Union, the science and technology systems of Central Asia are undergoing a profound transformation in the current transition to a market economy. Resources are very limited and the scientific professions have lost much of their prestige over the past decade. This has led to both internal and external brain drain, with talented researchers migrating to the private sector or seeking employment overseas. The transition period is also having a negative impact on the collection of statistics on research and development (R&D).

Paragraph 59 of the Science Agenda calls on governments to ‘promote the further development or setting up of national statistical services capable of providing sound data, disaggregated by gender and disadvantaged groups, on science education and R&D activities that are necessary for effective policy-making.’ It goes on to recommend that developing countries ‘be assisted in this respect by the international community, using the technical expertise of UNESCO and other international organizations.’

For further information, contact UNESCO Almaty Office: almaty@unesco.org