First Webinar of the International Statistical Classifications Sprint

  • Hybrid | New York
  • 25 October 2023


The webinar, organized by the United Nations Network of Economic Statisticians and the United Nations Committee of Experts on International Statistical Classifications, will explore the role of statistical classifications for data integration . It will raise awareness of the importance of international statistical classifications with both internal and external users and highlight the importance of investing in classification work as a foundation for data integration by showcasing real life applications inside and outside NSOs. Where appropriate, notes on the topics to be discussed will be circulated to participants in advance of the meeting. This will ensure that the sessions make use of the limited time through focused discussions.


Session 1 - Welcome and Opening Remarks

8:00 - 8:05
1. Opening remarks
  • Stefan Schweinfest, Director, United Nations Statistics Division
  • André Loranger Co-Chair of the United Nations Network of Economic Statisticians and Assistant Chief Statistician Statistics Canada

8:05 - 8:10
2. Objectives of the meeting

Chair: Franklin Assoumou Ndong, Assistant Director, Centre for Statistical and Data Standards, Statistics Canada

Session 2 - Statistical Classifications: A Foundational Building Block for Data Integration

8:10 - 8:25
3. Standards based approach to integrated Statistics

Presentation by Cory Chobanik, Director Statistics Canada and Nissa Kenney, Assistant Director Statistics Canada

Statistical standards, including classifications, (and standards in general), are essential to statistical data integration for sound, relevant, trusted and quality statistics. Statistics Canada Standards by design approach to standards and metadata, which includes statistical standards (classification, variables, concepts, questionnaire, etc.), is helping to transform the organization and the federal public service. The organization is leading the adoption of common standards, including key classification at the Government of Canada, enabling the greater coordination of data beyond our organization's borders, leading to more significant insights and quality statistics.

Statistics Canada Integrated Business Statistics Program (IBSP) is a concrete example of how automated metadata-driven approaches have transformed and harmonized practices, leveraging and operationalizing statistical standards within the design and sampling-collection, processing, analysis and dissemination of economic statistics.

8:25 - 8:40
4. Challenges faced by Pacific Nations in implementing international classifications

Presentation by Nilima Lal, Economic Statistics Adviser, Pacific Community

The Pacific Community uses international classifications as a guide to derive regional versions. The presentation will cover how this allows the countries of this region to compile statistics on commodities, activities and occupations specific to their country.

8:40 - 8:55
5. The International Family of Classifications as a tool for understanding the linkages between international statistical classifications

Presentation by Julian Chow, Chief of the Business Statistics Section, UNDESA and Zhiyuan Qian, Statistician, Business Statistics Section, UNDESA

The International Family of Classifications is a repository of international statistical classifications that have been reviewed and approved by the United Nations Statistical Commission or other competent intergovernmental bodies. It covers broad range of statistical areas such as economics, demographics, labour, health, education, social welfare, geography, environment, and tourism, etc. In addition to providing the refences for existing international statistical classifications, the International Family of Classifications provides an invaluable tool to see interconnections and to support the better understanding of the linkages between classifications.

8:55 - 9:10
6. Discussant and Q&A

Discussant: Mr. Anthony Krakah, Head of Department, Industrial Statistics at the Ghana Statistical Service

Mr. Anthony Krakah will discuss The role of statistical classifications in data integration. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A period covering Session 2 presentations.

Session 3 - Use of Statistical Classifications for Administrative Purposes

8:55 - 9:10
7. Classifications in the modern world: Statistical versus administrative

Presentation by Andrew Hancock, Principal Analyst, Statistics New Zealand

The use of statistical classifications for purposes other than for the production of official statistics has both benefits and drawbacks for all users. Classifications should be consistent and easy to integrate across national data systems, regions or at the global level. Policy and decision-making are heavily dependent on sound and fit for purpose classifications, and the data they enable. Embedding classifications into legislation or regulation impacts what may be classified and may require different governance models or new approaches, and what are the resulting challenges for implementation and integration.

9:10 - 9:25
8. Embedding statistical classifications in a legal framework: the example of Europe

Presentation by Claude Macchi, Eurostat

The adoption of a new or updated international statistical classification is inextricably linked to its implementation in the statistical production system to ensure relevance, accuracy, and comparability. Should a new or updated statistical classification be accompanied by regulations that impose a transition period and a precise timetable for producing statistical data with the new classification? Is the accompanying regulatory approach different if the classification is only used nationally or if it is implemented and used internationally?

The presentation addresses these questions in the context of the European statistical production, with particular reference to classifications of economic activities and products.

9:25 - 9:40
9. Classifications Used in the Oman Census 2020

Presentation by Yousuf Al-Ryiami Oman National Centre for Statistical Information

The presentation will cover the various classification systems, such as the International Classification of Nationalities, National Classification of Economic activities, international classification of institutional sectors, classification of educational levels and majors, and the classification of administrative division of the Sultanate of Oman, that were used to carry out the 2020 Census in Oman.

9:40 - 9:55
10. Discussion

9:55 - 10:00
11. Concluding remarks
  • André Loranger Co-Chair of the United Nations Network of Economic Statisticians and Assistant Chief Statistician Statistics Canada
  • Andrew Hancock, Chair of UNCEISC, Statistics New Zealand