International statistical cooperation is one of the tasks of Statistics Portugal as part of its Mission.
Statistics Portugal has played an important role in this area, aiming at strengthening the capacity of statistical systems of third countries, particularly the Portuguese-speaking countries, within the priorities of the national cooperation policy.
Cooperation with other countries is also important for Statistics Portugal, namely with European Union member states or candidate and potential candidate countries. In the framework of European cooperation programmes, it should also be mentioned Statistics Portugal’s cooperation with the Mediterranean countries.
Statistics Portugal cooperates for the development of national statistical systems of the Portuguese-speaking countries since the 80s, with greater emphasis on African countries, either bilaterally, developing actions and projects in each country, or multilaterally, in the framework of several bodies and fora for cooperation.
Relations with the Portuguese-speaking African countries are formally established through bilateral cooperation agreements signed between the Portuguese Republic and each of the countries.
In the cases of Brazil and Timor-Leste, relations are developed based on agreements or contracts made specifically for a particular project or action.
Bilateral relations are fostered through annual bilateral meetings of statistical cooperation with each of the Portuguese-speaking countries, setting out plans of action in the short and medium term for the development of technical assistance projects and actions in priority areas.
Statistics Portugal also develops its cooperation with the Portuguese-speaking countries at the multilateral level, actively cooperating with international organisations such as the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries Community of Portuguese-speaking countries (CPLP), through statistical conferences and relevant technical meetings of the CPLP DGINS, or with the European Commission, through Eurostat relevant meetings and programmes for the ACP countries, as well as under IMF or World Bank projects.
The cooperation within the CPLP has gained new impetus in 2004 when the statistical conferences of the member states were formally recognised. These meetings, where the DGINS of the community convene every two years, provide a privileged forum for dialogue and exchange of experiences, taking advantage of synergies between the various countries in view of the creation of a Lusophone space in the area of statistics.
Technical assistance developed by Statistics Portugal covers several areas such as: legislation, planning, classifications, concepts and nomenclatures, statistical infrastructures and statistical production and dissemination with special emphasis on consumer price indices (CPI), census cartography, population census and national accounts.
Amongst these areas, projects concerning Legislation, CPI and classifications, concepts and nomenclatures, have acquired greater expression in the past years.
In the area of Legislation, Statistics Portugal has been developing technical assistance projects supporting Portuguese-speaking African countries in establishing a basic legal framework of national statistical systems, as well as in preparing the complementary legislation of NSI’s supporting regulations.
Statistics Portugal has also been developing a statistical cooperation project based on an IT system which is dedicated to the production of CPI. This project responds to the needs existing in some countries and its importance stems from the fact that this tool allows the production of price indices in a methodological standard framework, complying with international recommendations, enabling its comparability. This system has been successfully implemented in three countries – Cape Verde, Mozambique and French Polynesia – over the past four years.
In the area of Classifications, Concepts and Nomenclatures, Statistics Portugal cooperates with the Portuguese-speaking African Countries since 1997, supporting the conception, revision and publication of several classifications (economic activities, occupations, goods and services and individual consumption), as well as in the harmonisation of statistical concepts.
In the framework of the European Union, Statistics Portugal has been cooperating closely with candidate and potential candidate countries, providing technical support aiming at the development of their statistical systems.
EU cooperation with these countries aims to bring the production and dissemination of their national statistics to the levels of demand required for European Statistics in terms of quality, reliability and comparability.
To this end there is a whole acquis in the field of statistics which is necessary to apply and the statistical authorities of the member states, such as Statistics Portugal, act as a reference in terms of knowledge and experience to provide technical support to statistical offices of the countries wishing to join the Union.
Statistics Portugal has been providing technical support to several candidate and potential candidate countries, either through missions of its experts to those countries or through hosting study visits, in different statistical areas such as: business statistics, agriculture, labour force, national accounts, satellite accounts, population census, nomenclatures and classifications systems, dissemination and quality management.
Corresponding to the priorities of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Statistics Portugal has also been cooperating with some neighbouring countries from the Mediterranean basin, mainly within the MEDSTAT cooperation programme. Cooperation in this framework has mainly been focused in the areas of agricultural economic accounts, tourism satellite accounts, national accounts and migration statistics.
Statistics Portugal has also established good cooperation relations with other statistical offices worldwide, particularly hosting delegations in study visits concerning production and dissemination of official statistics and exchange of experiences and best practices.