Expert Group on Environment Statistics
The Statistical Commission in its 44th session in 2013 endorsed the revised1 Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES 2013) as the framework for strengthening environment statistics programmes in countries, and recognized it as a useful tool in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Commission endorsed the Blueprint for Action which documents a way forward for making the FDES 2013 operational in countries that need guidance in starting or further developing their environment statistics programmes. It also endorsed the establishment of the Expert Group on Environment Statistics (EGES) to collaborate with UNSD to develop supporting methodological tools, hands-on guidance, and training material which contribute to the implementation of the FDES 2013 in countries as evidenced in the growing number of countries publishing FDES coherent environment statistics compendia in several languages.
The EGES was convened in 2014 and comprises experts on environment statistics and related areas from all geographical regions representing United Nations member States, as well as international and regional organizations. The EGES meets annually to review the progress made in the implementation of the FDES 2013 in countries. It also assesses the progress made in the development of methodological and data collection guidance in environment statistics needed for the compilation of environmentally-related SDG indicators and environmental-economic accounts, as well as for the reporting to Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Given the growing importance of climate change statistics, the Statistical Commission, at its 49th session in 2018, inter alia, supported the expansion of the mandate of the EGES to cover more aspects of climate change statistics and indicators. Complementarily, during each calendar year, the EGES organizes its work remotely through smaller teams tasked with specific areas of work.
The main objectives of the EGES are to support the work on environment statistics led by UNSD in the following areas:1. Standardization of methods, classifications and definitions in environment statistics.
- Implementation of the FDES 2013 in countries and further development statistical guidance in collaboration with international agencies and experts for future revisions of the FDES.
- Development of the Manual on the Basic Set of Environment Statistics that consists of methodology sheets for the different topics and components of the FDES 2013, and which provides detailed methodological guidance for collection and/or compilation, dissemination and main uses of the sets of the respective environment statistics.
- Development of cross-cutting themes, such as oceans or tourism, as they relate to environment statistics.
- Contribution to the compilation of environmentally-related censuses and surveys.
- Implementation of the Environment Statistics Self-Assessment Tool (ESSAT) developed to assist countries in both developing their environment statistics programmes and collecting their own data on the environment, and to assess the state of environment statistics and the needs for their development at the national level consistent with the scope of the FDES 2013.
- Development of a global set of climate change statistics and indicators as mandated by the 47th session of the Statistical Commission in 2016, including contribution to the pilot testing of the indicators.
- Support to the streamlining of the UNSD/UN Environment Questionnaire on Environment Statistics and related questionnaires with the SDG indicator reporting requirements.
- Contribution to the development of national data collection templates to facilitate consistent and comparable national statistics production.
- Alignment of environmentally-related SDG indicators and the Basic Set of Environment Statistics of the FDES and development of a comparison matrix.
- Contribution to the conduct of regional and national workshops and technical advisory missions.
- Development of training materials and conduct of training on environment statistics and any other related statistics, including e-learning courses.
- Implementation of the Blueprint for Action and development of templates for National Action Plans and the ESSAT.
- Contribution to the biennial inventory of agencies and countries' capacity development activities and plans in environment statistics in an effort to improve coordination, share experiences and lessons learned.
- Support to the coordination of environment statistics data collection and environmentally-related SDG indicators, along with the Intersecretariat Working Group on Environment Statistics (IWG-ENV). It includes the compilation of the biennial inventory of regular, international environmental data collection, reporting and dissemination from countries undertaken by the United Nations, its specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations and conventions.
- Harmonization of data collection activities of environment statistics to promote alignment with concepts and definitions of environmental-economic accounts and SDG indicators.
- Contribution to the UNSD biannual ENVSTATS newsletter to share information on latest events, outputs and activities in environment statistics.
Chair of the EGES
The first four EGES meetings were chaired by Ms. Iva Ritschelova, President, Czech Statistical Office. Subsequently, Ms. Janet Geoghagen-Martin, Director of Censuses, Demographic & Social Statistics Division, Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) chaired the EGES for two years. The current chair is Ms. Ruth Minja, Director for Population Census and Social Statistics Directorate, National Bureau of Statistics of Tanzania.
The Chair of the EGES contributes to the work of UNSD in guiding the global efforts in the development and coordination of environment statistics and is responsible for overseeing the meetings of the EGES, in particular in keeping the discussion within subject matter, identifying common positions, respecting deadlines, and guiding/indicating paths for future developments or further work of the Group.
Biennial reports of the Secretary-General to the Statistical Commission are prepared on environment statistics, which are accompanied by detailed Background Reports. Reports of the Secretary-General to the Statistical Commission on climate change statistics are prepared every two or three years.