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17th Regional JODI Training Workshop for MENA Region, Countries

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11-12 December 2018

Beirut, Lebanon

The 17th Regional JODI Training Workshop targeting MENA countries was held in Beirut, Lebanon from 11-14 December 2018. Coordinated by the IEF, the workshop was held as part of Training on Energy Statistics hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA). It was supported by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and other JODI Partners, including GECF, UNSD and the newest JODI Associate, OAPEC.

More than 30 delegates from 17 countries took part in the workshop which improved support of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI), and raised awareness of the importance of data transparency while strengthening capacity of statistical agencies in the Middle East and North Africa.

The workshop was aimed at relevant energy data professionals in charge of energy data collection and dissemination at national administrations. Through presentations, discussions and practical exercises the regional statistical capacity was strengthened towards the shared aims of improved energy data transparency. For the first time in the history of JODI, the workshop was held in association with a training programme on building annual energy balances from comprehensive energy commodity statistics. The cooperative spirit of JODI among international organisations has enabled such joint programme, which provids a comprehensive picture of energy data compilation activities and their application for better decision.

Several of the JODI partner organisations sent experts to present on the merits and technicalities of JODI, highlighting the importance of cooperation in delivering upon ministers’ calls for global energy data transparency. The International Energy Agency presented the uses of JODI data including the importance of data granularity for data usability. Their perspective offered valuable insight into the needs of specific definitions and consistent submissions to build a more informed energy future.

Three officials for the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center provided welcome insights into the requirements of data users, namely; the need for free, regular, consistent, timely and transparent figures. KAPSARC’s presentation also exhibited some end uses of energy data including their inputs for policy initiatives, forecasts and investment models. OAPEC presentation exhibited the usability and highlights of OAPEC’s energy database.

The hands-on nature of the workshop’s training sessions gave delegates the opportunity to learn about JODI definitions in more detail. Specifically, the workshop reinforced an understanding of the techniques required to perform necessary data quality assessments which underpin the accurate and timely completion of JODI questionnaires. Delegates expressed particular interest in the experience-sharing elements of the programme.

The workshop was held as a part of the JODI 5-Year Action Plan toward 2020 to extend its reach to regions where there is room for improving data availability.

UNESCWA and the seven JODI partners will continue their work with MENA countries to follow-up on commitments and action items agreed in Beirut with the aim of capitalising on the experience gained through this successful workshop.