JAKARTA (Xinhua) – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is set to improve and integrate their statistical data to help sharpen policy making and planning, as well as to boost development in the region.

Indonesia’s State Minister for National Development Planning Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Director for Asia, Central Asia and the Pacific of the EU Development Cooperation Office Dirk Meganck unveiled a plaque and presented it to Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community Sundram Puspanathan at an event in the ASEAN Secretariat on Friday to mark a new era in statistical cooperation across the ASEAN region with the launch of the ASEAN Community Statistical (ACSS) Committee.

The new Committee is composed of chief statisticians and heads of National Statistical Offices in ASEAN. This week the committee met for the first time marking an important milestone on the path to enhancing regional cooperation across ASEAN.

“This initiative will help the region to see more accurate and reliable figures and better quality statistical data concerning the trade in goods, trade in services, foreign direct investment and other key factors of development,” said Minister Alisjahbana.

Puspanathan said that with the launch of the ACSS Committee, ASEAN is on the right track to establish the ACSS by 2015, a commitment ASEAN leaders made back in Oct. 2010 through the ASEAN Framework of Cooperation in Statistics 2010-2015.

“There is no doubt that a strengthened regional capacity in statistics will help achieve our regional integration objectives,” he said.

Suryamin, principal secretary of Indonesia’s Central Agency of Statistics said that the ACSS Committee is the concrete outcome of decisions taken by ASEAN to reinforce the contribution of statistics within the ASEAN Community.