The workshop took place in the context of the ongoing and growing cooperation between the PCBS and UNCTAD, which is supported by a Memorandum of Understanding that has been signed by the two institutions.
The workshop was officially opened by Ms. Ola Awad, President of the PCBS, and Mr. Mahmoud Elkhafif, Coordinator of UNCTAD's Assistance to the Palestinian People Unit. In addition to staff from the PCBS, professionals from the Ministries of National Economy, Finance, Planning, Labour, and Foreign Affairs, as well as the Palestinian Monetary Authority and the Palestinian Economic Policy Research Institute, took part in the training workshop.
The objective of the workshop was to equip PCBS and Palestinian professionals with theoretical background and with hands-on experience of using econometric modelling techniques to forecast economic indicators and assess the impact of alternative economic policy options.
The practical training provided was based on UNCTAD's third-generation macroeconometric model of the Palestinian economy and was highly interactive, with participants being required to switch from a theoretical understanding to directly applying the quantitative techniques collectively and independently. The training ranged from forecasting the Palestinian economy under alternative scenarios to quantitative assessment of fiscal, monetary, trade and labour policies and a hypothetical Palestinian national currency.
The training programme is part of joint efforts between the PCBS and UNCTAD to house UNCTAD's economic model of the Palestinian economy at the PCBS's Economic Forecasting Department, and to enable PCBS staff to regularly update and simulate the model for the production of official PCBS economic forecasts.
Ms. Awad commended the successful cooperation between UNCTAD and the PCBS. She indicated that, "It is an example of positive exchange of experiences and ideas which has produced concrete results", as reflected by the fact that this is second session of such training. More importantly is the fact that this cooperation allowed PCBS to build and upgrade its own capacity to use UNCTAD's model for the preparation and production of its first official economic forecast, which was released in December 2011.