In collaboration with the Tonga Statistics Department (TSD) and the United Nations Resident Coordinator Office (RCO), Tonga hosted its first face-to-face Technical R-Training on Leave No One Behind (LNOB) from March 8-9, 2023. The training, led by Mr. Selahattin Selsah Pasali and Ms. Sejal Surendra Sood from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), took place in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

The LNOB platform is a user-friendly tool developed by the UN-ESCAP to improve the understanding of how different circumstances intersect and create inequalities in access to basic opportunities covered by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The primary aim of this statistical training was to enhance national capacities in building the evidence base for developing policies that reduce inequality of opportunity and accelerate the implementation of the SDGs, ensuring that everyone is included.

During the technical R-Training, participants delved into the inner workings of the LNOB platform using the statistical R code to prepare, analyze, and produce evidence on 16 SDG indicators based on the Tonga Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2019. Thirty-two staff members from nine government ministries, including Health, Education, Justice, Internal Affairs, Energy Department (MEIDECC), Agriculture, Food and Forests, Fisheries, National Planning, and the Statistics Department, took part in the training. These ministries were selected based on the indicators produced and discussed during the training, which included Access to Clean Fuels (SDG 7.1.2), Completion of Secondary Education for the 20-35 age group (SDG 4.1.1), Prevalence of Stunting (SDG 2.2.2), Adolescent Birth Rate, Prevalence of Overweight, Children’s Living Arrangements, and Food Security.

The Statistics Department expressed sincere gratitude to the UN-ESCAP for providing such an important training to the nation and looks forward for further close collaborations in the future. TSD also thanked the ministries that participated in this training and hopes that the skills they learned will enhance their capacity in statistical analysis and thus strengthen Tonga’s National Statistical System (TNSS).