City Groups

Over the years, representatives from national statistical agencies have formed voluntary groups to discuss and address specific thematic challenges in the development and implementation of statistical methodologies. Some of these informal consultation groups are usually known as city groups, in reference to the place where they hold their first meeting. This page provides information on the purpose of the various City Groups, their year of creation, membership, recent meetings, documents, future plans and points of contact.

City groups on statistical methodology provide an effective mechanism to tap into the technical expertise and practical experience that resides in national statistical offices. In particular, they constitute an innovative way to use country resources to improve and speed up the development of international statistical standards, as expressed by the Expert Group on Critical Problems in Economic Statistics in its report to the Statistical Commission (contained in document E/CN.3/1997/2).

Whereas the relatively small size of City Groups allows them to avoid unnecessary bureaucratic interference in their technical work, their members aim to ensure that the viewpoints of other countries, particularly those that lack the resources to directly participate in their deliberations, are recognized and considered.

Organization of work

The terms of reference of City Groups on Statistical Methodology are approved by the Statistical Commission, although each of them sets their own working agenda. Since its twenty-ninth session in February 1997, the Statistical Commission has regularly discussed the work of the city groups, reviewing the accomplishments of existing groups and examining the terms of reference for proposed new groups. Based on this, the Statistical Commission encourages the existing groups to continue their work and identifies a number of critical problems around which new city groups might be formed.

While city groups determine their own individual mechanism of work, there have some common characteristics, including:

  • City groups are informal groups of experts, primarily from national statistical agencies.
  • Participation by representatives is voluntary as is the existence of the group itself.
  • Each representative's participation is self-funded.
  • A key criterion for participation is the ability of each member to contribute a substantive paper to each meeting of the group.
  • It is usually the responsibility of the host to prepare a volume of proceedings after each meeting.
  • The host country may change after each meeting.

How to participate

National Statistical Offices with particular expertise or interest in the work of City Groups are strongly encouraged to contact their convener and to contribute to the extent possible to their work. In cases where the appropriate expertise exists and resources are available, the Statistics Division and other international organizations will make an effort to represent the views of National Statistical Offices that are unable to attend the meetings of the various City Groups. Furthermore, the Statistics Division will assist in making the findings of these groups more widely available.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Li Wang
UN Statistics Division
Office DC2 - 1607B
Two UN - Plaza
New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel. 1.212.963 9547
Fax. 1.212.963 4569