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Inventory of environmental data collection, reporting and dissemination

The Environment Statistics Section of UNSD, in collaboration with the members of the IWG-ENV, compiled an inventory of regular, international environmental data collection, reporting and dissemination from countries undertaken by the United Nations, its specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations and conventions in 2016. This inventory has been presented in Table 2 in Part II of the Background Document (pgs. 16-31) to the Report of the Secretary-General on Environment Statistics (E/CN.3/2016/27) to the 47th session of the Statistical Commission that was held in New York from 8 to 11 March 2016 (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/47th-session/).

Table 2 includes institutions that conduct regular data collection based on a standardized reporting format. Countries provide data to these institutions through questionnaires, national communications or on-line reporting. UNSD prepared a first draft of the inventory based on knowledge and research and then circulated it to the institutions that provided invaluable input and contributed to shape and complete this output. The purpose of this mapping exercise was to collectively construct a synthesis of environment statistics data collection processes at the international level. The specific objectives were to: support institutionsĺ continuous efforts to promote data sharing and exchange mechanisms on the basis of common data templates and to encourage in-depth assessment of data being collected; provide a platform to compare and harmonize data collection from a methodological point of view; and provide countries and institutions with a picture of data flows from various national sources with the intention to reduce reporting burden and avoid duplication of efforts, both at the national and international levels.

Since the Report of the Secretary-General on Environment Statistics (E/CN.3/2016/27) to the 47th session of the Statistical Commission was intended for information and not for discussion and decision, the inventory was not specifically discussed by the Commission. However, the inventory was presented to and discussed at the Third Meeting of the Expert Group on Environment Statistics (New York, 20-22 April 2016) (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/FDES/fdes_eges3.html). The Expert Group expressed appreciation to UNSD for compiling the inventory noting that it is a very useful resource which will help alleviate reporting burden on countries. The Expert Group requested that UNSD maintain it on-line with support and contributions from the institutions and experts. It was noted that this mapping exercise is a first step towards developing a full scale inventory of environmental data collection. It was agreed that UNSD will continue to obtain more details for each institution, such as on: the type of national institution that provides the data and the focal point; whether the institution has primary or secondary data; methodological guidance used for the data collection; the data validation process; an assessment of the data quality; and information on whether data are collected/reported on regularly or only when an occasion occurs (such as a natural disaster or declaration of a protected area), etc.

Report of the Secretary-General on Environment Statistics
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Background Document to the Report of the Secretary-General on Environment Statistics

For information on the Intersecretariat Working Group on Environment Statistics (IWG-ENV) please click here.

United Nations Statistics Division - Environment Statistics