Global Set of Climate Change Statistics and Indicators
Global Consultation on Climate Change Statistics and Indicators
The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) launched a Global Consultation on the draft Global Set of Climate Change Statistics and Indicators on 21 May 2021. As mandated by the Statistical Commission at its 47th session in 2016, the draft Global Set was developed in close collaboration with the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and is applicable to countries at various stages of development. All UN member states are invited to take part in the Global Consultation. In addition, a number of international Agencies will be consulted, based on their expertise in climate change statistics and indicators.
The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) received a mandate from the Statistical Commission at its 47th session in 2016 to, inter alia, develop a global set of climate change statistics and indicators applicable to countries at various stages of development. In addition, it was recommended at the 49th session in 2018 that UNSD and UNFCCC should strengthen the link between statistics and policy by undertaking joint initiatives in the development of climate change statistics and indicators, encouraging joint capacity-building efforts and training with other partners and exploring ways to encourage national statistical offices to be more involved in the preparation of data submissions to UNFCCC.
The overall objective of UNSD is to develop a global set of climate change statistics and indicators tailored for all countries while ensuring that the needs of countries with less developed statistical systems are taken into account. The final set will contain a comprehensive list of statistics and indicators accompanied by short metadata (including definitions, aggregations, measurement categories and data references).
Given the complexity of climate change monitoring and the broad multidisciplinary coverage of the five IPCC areas (drivers, impacts, vulnerability, mitigation and adaptation), the Global Set will provide a statistical framework with suitable indicators to serve as guidance for countries to prepare their own sets. This statistical framework will link the reporting requirements stemming from the Paris Agreement and the agreed reporting modalities known as the 'Katowice package' to the indicators necessary to support climate policy action. Similarly to the Basic Set of Environment Statistics in the FDES, the global set of climate change indicators will be comprehensive, but not exhaustive, and designed to support countries according to their individual concerns, priorities and resources.
While pursuing the above objective, the following criteria will be applied to the extent possible:
- Consistency with existing thematic indicator sets and guidance, namely from UNFCCC/IPCC, FAO, SDGs, UNDRR, UNCCD, UNCBD, as well as with the FDES statistics.
- Complementarity with existing regional climate change indicators, e.g., EEA, UN-ECE, and Eurostat, where applicable, as well as other relevant initiatives.
- Selection of indicators for which metadata can be developed.
- Balanced coverage of the five IPCC areas (drivers, impacts, vulnerability, mitigation and adaptation).
UNSD has carried out a systematic review of climate change statistics and indicators from 130 countries (see map here) with representative regional coverage, analysed more than 7,500 individual climate change statistics and indicators, and has identified a draft set of the most commonly repeated indicators thereby promoting a bottom-up approach to their selection. Many of the indicators are repeated across different countries and come from at least one national source. The draft set of climate change statistics and indicators has been organized according to the five areas of the IPCC framework: drivers, impacts, vulnerability, mitigation and adaptation.
Given the request from the Statistical Commission in 2018 for UNSD and UNFCCC to strengthen the link between statistics and policy, the relevant articles of the Paris Agreement and the Katowice package are mentioned for each indicator in the draft set thereby clearly demonstrating this linkage. In addition, international frameworks and agreements such as the SDGs, the FDES and the Sendai Framework, as well as the UN-ECE core set of climate change-related statistics and indicators, have been considered to promote consistency and harmonize the wording of the indicators to the extent possible.
The final number of statistics and indicators will be decided after the Global Consultation but the set of indicators will be comprehensive and applicable to all countries. The Expert Group on Environment Statistics (EGES) has been contributing to the work on the draft set through the review of iterative versions and discussions at Expert Group meetings. At its sixth meeting in May 2019, it was agreed that UNSD share the draft set of climate change statistics and indicators with interested experts of the EGES, before conducting the current Pilot Survey. The expert review was completed in January 2020 based on feedback from six countries and four international and regional organizations. As a result of the review, 133 statistics and indicators were compiled in a draft Global Set for the Pilot Survey. The Pilot Survey was sent to 42 selected countries and 30 international/regional organizations that have participated in this work through different processes such as the Expert Group, regional or national workshops.
The Pilot Survey was launched on 23 February 2020 with a main objective to test and assess the relevance, soundness and measurability of the proposed indicators by inviting: (1) the NSOs and/or ministries of environment from 42 countries to assess their preparedness to compile the suggested indicators in collaboration with relevant partners according to their national priorities as well as the development stage of the country; and (2) thirty international/regional organizations to assess the indicators from a thematic and methodological point of view to ensure that the selected indicators are relevant, correctly named, and supported by definitions, references and data.
Review of the draft Global Set by the seventh meeting of the Expert Group on Environment Statistics
Based on the outcomes of the Pilot Survey and the consultations with the small group of countries described above, the draft Global Set was reworked into a new structure by presenting both indicators and the underlying basic statistics side-by-side since sophisticated indicators often require multiple statistics for their compilation. In this way, countries may incrementally build their climate change statistics programmes by moving from basic statistics toward sophisticated indicators. The new structure was presented at the seventh meeting of the EGES in a session on climate change statistics and indicators on 11 and 12 of November 2020. Given the importance of UNSD's work on climate change statistics, several experts from, inter alia, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the World Meteorological Organization and the IPCC-TFI, participated in the EGES meeting for the first time.