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 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and is applicable to countries at various stages of development. All UN member states were invited to take part in the Global Consultation. In addition, a number of agencies were consulted, based on their expertise in climate change statistics and indicators.

The Global Consultation consisted of two parts:
Part I was an online survey, separately prepared for countries and agencies:

  • For countries it was called 'Institutional Dimension of Climate Change Statistics and Indicators' and aimed at collecting general information on the status of climate change statistics in the country;
  • For agencies it was called 'International Agency's Activities on Climate Change Statistics and Indicators'. It aimed at collecting general information on the main activities led by international Agencies (data collection, methodology development and capacity development).
Part II contained the draft Global Set of Climate Change Statistics and Indicators and its Metadata. This draft Global Set contained 134 indicators and 194 underlying statistics grouped in 36 topics and five areas. Draft metadata were completed to the extent possible for all the proposed indicators and statistics.

Discussion sessions between UN member states and UNSD on the Global Consultation
In order to facilitate smooth communications between UN member states and UNSD for the purpose of this Global Consultation, UNSD offered optional discussion sessions. During these discussion sessions, UNSD shared comments on the Global Consultation, and offered a relatively open agenda for colleagues of UN member states to raise questions.

First Round of Sessions were held on 14, 15 and 18 June 2021 and the presentations are available below.
UNSD Part I    UNSD Part II    Suriname's experience    Tanzania's experience

Second Round of Sessions were held:

Outcomes of the Global Consultation:
Responses and feedback were received from 86 States and areas and 26 agencies (see annex I in the Report of the Secretary-General on Climate Change Statistics to the Statistical Commission (E/CN.3/2022/17)). Detailed summaries and geographical analysis are presented in the background document entitled "Global Consultation on the Global Set".

UNSD reviewed each response and provided feedback to the countries on both parts of the consultation, as a result of which about 40 countries improved their assessments and submitted revised responses. It should be noted that about 14 countries acknowledged receipt of the consultation materials; some of them also communicated information on related national activities but could not complete the consultation in time.

The Global Consultation affirmed that countries were actively engaging in the area of climate change statistics, including by developing their own national sets. UNSD promotes such activities, in which national statistical offices are prepared to initiate the collection and compilation of data and the dissemination of climate change statistics in a way complementary to the ongoing reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as recommended by the Statistical Commission at its forty-ninth session, in 2018. National statistical offices face challenges in conducting national consultations and setting up processes for the collection and exchange of data due to the very broad scope of topics which directly or indirectly are linked to climate change and involve multidisciplinary expertise, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the difficulties national statistical offices may face in attempting to address a vast array of topics, the Global Consultation has proved to be useful, as it encouraged national statistical offices to coordinate and collect national responses from all the relevant specialized departments and agencies within the country and, in some cases, to develop or enhance national frameworks on climate change statistics.

The country responses to Part I demonstrate that many national statistical offices have strong collaboration with the national focal points for UNFCCC and participate in technical committees on climate-related issues, whereas, in some other countries, such practices need to be further encouraged or developed. In addition, national statistical offices are increasingly involved in the preparation of their country's greenhouse gas inventory, as part of the reporting obligations under the Convention, which is expected to increase considering the requirements under the Paris Agreement. A considerable number of climate change-related statistical strategies and data outputs have been produced by national statistical offices, which cover a great breadth and depth of the diverse topics and thematic areas of climate change. There has been a slow increase in the number of climate change surveys or the inclusion of related modules in existing surveys and censuses, as well as the production of reports on climate change statistics. With regard to capacity development needs, countries cited, among other things, the need for the development of specialized surveys, the collection of climate change-related data, the development of metadata and indicators, statistics for climate change adaptation and mitigation processes, support tools in national and/or indigenous languages, and community engagement and platforms.

The responses on Part I from international and regional agencies revealed various methodological and capacity development activities. Fifteen agencies indicated that they collected climate change-related data directly from countries. The main challenges expressed regarding data collection were, inter alia, promoting the use of climate-related data to policymakers, data availability at the country level, data access and confidentiality, comparability across countries, the use of multiple sources leading to duplication and inconsistencies, and different definitions across sources. On methodological development, 17 agencies indicated that they produced or maintained a list of indicators or statistics that pertained to climate change (such as the Conference of European Statisticians (CES) set of core climate change-related indicators ) or related topics in the Global Set of Climate Change Statistics and Indicators, while 13 agencies indicated that they had developed methodological guidelines for climate change statistics or indicators.

Part II of the Global Consultation affirmed that most indicators and statistics were suitable for inclusion in the Global Set of Climate Change Statistics and Indicators, demonstrating its overall robustness. Detailed analysis of the results is presented in the background document entitled "Global Consultation on the Global Set". In addition, countries and agencies provided comments on the existing indicators and the metadata, as well as proposed some new indicators. The new indicators were screened according to the following criteria: (a) link to one of the five climate change areas; (b) suitability for national policymaking and monitoring purposes; (c) fit into the area and topics structure in a balanced manner; and (d) possibility for development into the indicator-statistic-metadata structure. Detailed methodological reviews and additional metadata inputs were provided by FAO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) World Conservation Monitoring Centre, the European Environment Agency and ECE, while more specialized advice was provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, OECD, the International Energy Agency, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and UNFCCC, as well as from within UNSD. The complementarity between the Global Set of Climate Change Statistics and Indicators and the CES set of core climate change-related indicators was further discussed and improved in the context of the Global Consultation. Based on the feedback, UNSD prepared several points on which further advice was needed by the EGES and specialized agencies, including the suggestions for new indicators.