Environment Statistics
History and current activities
Brochure on Environment Statistics
FAQ
Methodology

FDES 2013

International Recommendations for Water Statistics

Concepts and methods in Environment Statistics

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UNSD environmental indicators

  Country Snapshots
  Country Files
(Limited access)
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Technical cooperation

ECOWAS project

ESCWA project

 

CARICOM project

 

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Intersecretariat Working Group on Environment Statistics

Reports to the Statistical Commission
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Frequently asked questions

  1. Scope of UNSD’s data collection programme on environment statistics
  2. Coverage of countries in UNSD’s data collection
  3. Timetable for data availability
  4. Level of aggregation of data
  5. Downloadable Excel files for UNSD Environmental Indicators
  6. Additional environmental data
  7. Access to the country files
  8. Data discrepancies between different data sources
  9. Difference between UNFCCC and CDIAC data
  10. Technical cooperation and capacity building

 

1. Scope of UNSD’s data collection programme on environment statistics

Question : What topics does UNSD include in its data collection programme on environment statistics?

Answer : The complete UNSD/UNEP Questionnaire on Environment Statistics covers statistics on air, water, land and waste. Since 2004 the data collection has been restricted to the areas of water and waste and the related indicators are published on the UNSD Environmental Indicators page (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/qindicators.htm). Statistics on other themes published on this page have been compiled from other international organizations. The themes and indicator tables were selected based on the current demands for international environmental statistics and the availability of internationally comparable data.

2. Coverage of countries in UNSD’s data collection

Question : Which countries are included in UNSD’s data collection programme on environment statistics?

Answer : The UNSD/UNEP Questionnaire on Environment Statistics is sent to all countries except those that are members of the European Union (EU) and/or the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and which are covered through the Joint OECD/Eurostat Questionnaire on the State of the Environment. UNSD publishes the water and waste data received from the countries on its Environmental Indicators page (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/qindicators.htm) along with data obtained from the Joint OECD/Eurostat Questionnaire for the EU and OECD member and partner countries.

3. Timetable for data availability

Question : When are the data that are collected through the UNSD/UNEP Questionnaire on Environment Statistics actually published on the UNSD website?

Answer : The UNSD/UNEP Questionnaire on Environment Statistics is sent to national statistical offices and ministries of environment (or equivalent institutions) in countries every two years, usually in March. The data are normally published on the UNSD Environmental Indicators page in the form of indicator tables (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/qindicators.htm) about 12 months later, due to delayed data submission and the time needed for the data validation process.

4. Level of aggregation of data

Question : At what level of aggregation are data available, for example, national/subnational, urban/rural?

Answer : UNSD collects and publishes environment statistics at the national level. A few indicators such as: Municipal waste collection and Municipal waste treatment are also collected and published for selected cities. Some data and indicators are available by urban/rural breakdown, such as Proportion of population in coastal zones or Proportion of population supplied by the water supply industry. Due to the lack of proper geographical and topical coverage country data cannot be aggregated to global/continental or other supranational totals.


5. Downloadable Excel files for UNSD Environmental Indicators

Question : Is it possible to obtain Excel files for UNSD’s environmental indicators ( http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/qindicators.htm )?

Answer : The downloadable Excel file for each environmental indicator table can be found above the indicator webpage, next to the indicator name.


6. Additional environmental data

Question : Besides the environmental indicators that UNSD publishes on its website, are there any additional environmental data, such as detailed GHGs/air pollution/CO2 data?

Answer : Besides the indicator tables compiled by UNSD, there are two additional links under each theme on the UNSD Environmental Indicators page: Links to other international data sources and Additional indicators and selected time series. Links to other international data sources provides additional databases, tables and charts, and maps from other international data sources. Additional indicators and selected time series link provides additional indicator tables for some themes and time series data and charts for the main environmental variables in the indicator tables. They are available as downloadable Excel files.


7. Access to the country files

Question : Why are the Environment Statistics: Country Files (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/Questionnaires/index.asp) accessible only to national, regional and international organizations that are involved in the collection of environment statistics?

Answer : The Country Files contain all validated data received from the countries, including those which cannot be published due to reasons of data quality and therefore not recommended for use. Environment statistics is still in an early stage of development in many countries and data availability and quality continue to be a major concern. Those data contained in the country files that are of satisfactory quality and geographic coverage are published in the indicator tables on the UNSD Environmental Indicators page (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/qindicators.htm). With improvements in data quality, UNSD will gradually provide public access to the country files.


8. Data discrepancies between different data sources

Question : Why are there sometimes discrepancies for the same variable coming from different international sources?

Answer : There are several reasons why this may happen, including the following: there can be different national data sources for the same variable; there can be different definitions and/or classifications for the same variable; there can be different measurement methods for the same variable; and there can be differences in the timing of data submission.


9. Difference between UNFCCC and CDIAC data

Question : What is the difference between the CO2 emission statistics from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and those from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC)?

Answer : In the indicator table on CO2 emissions on the UNSD website (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/air_co2_emissions.htm) the data are sourced from the MDG database. For Annex 1 countries (industrialized countries including the 1992 OECD member countries and the EIT [Economies In Transition] countries), data originally come from UNFCCC and are based on national reporting. UNFCCC has developed standardised methods for calculating greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2 emissions, which are used by the Annex 1 countries when reporting their emissions to UNFCCC. For non-Annex 1 countries (mostly developing countries), data are estimates of CO2 emissions calculated by CDIAC based on UN energy statistics, information on cement production and gas flaring.


10. Technical cooperation and capacity building

Question : What role does UNSD play with regard to capacity building for national environment statistics programmes ?

Answer : UNSD provides technical assistance in environment statistics to countries through regional and sub-regional training workshops and projects.

 

Please send any comments or suggestions to envstats@un.org

 

United Nations Statistics Division - Environment Statistics