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International cooperation on macro-economic statistics

Different portals, same data - A step towards more coherent macro-economic data

From now on, GDP and some related indicators will be identical across the respective databases of several international organisations.

For many years, international organisations have been collecting - and exchanging among each other - macro-economic data from countries to respond to user needs as regards the availability of data for economic analysis and decision making. Recently, several international organisations have taken a further step in making selected macro-economic statistics more readily available thanks to close collaboration through the Inter-Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics (IAG)* and new technical possibilities.

How does it work?

One of the main features of the cooperation is the establishment of clear distribution of responsibilities between international organisations. GDP and selected related macro-economic indicators are transmitted by national data providers to international organisations. A subset of these data is subsequently shared among the international organisations concerned through common Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange (SDMX) standards. Following national compilation, validation and transmission, data is further validated once by an international organisation chosen as primary validator.** Data is then shared and finally published through the existing dissemination systems of all international organisations involved.

What happens next?

GDP and selected related macro-economic indicators was the first dataset implemented by the IAG. In the future, this work will be expanded to:

    - include additional economic and financial indicators;
    - improve timeliness and quality of these datasets;
    - improve dissemination to users, including reference metadata;
    - reduce the reporting burden on national statistical authorities in the long run.

What is UNSD’s role?

At this stage of the initiative, UNSD is receiving data for GDP and some related indicators from Eurostat, OECD and the IMF and disseminating the data through its SDMX web service. These data are available on It is expected that UNSD will in due course disseminate, through its SDMX web service, the data of countries which are not collected by Eurostat, IMF and OECD. Eurostat is responsible for the validation and subsequent sharing of the data of the EU Member States, candidate countries and EFTA countries. Eurostat receives data from OECD for OECD Members not belonging to the country group above and OECD Key Partners and Accession countries; and data from IMF for a selected range of non-OECD countries not validated by the OECD, such as some of the main trading partners of the EU. These data are disseminated via newly created Eurostat dissemination tables, enabling users to find key macro-economic data for all available countries in one single place.

Several international organisations joined together in 2008 to form the Inter Agency Group on Economic and Financial Statistics (IAG). The IAG includes the Bank for International Settlements, the European Central Bank, Eurostat, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations and the World Bank. It is chaired by the International Monetary Fund

Eurostat for EU, EFTA and candidate countries; OECD for remaining OECD countries, Key Partners and Accession countries; IMF for the rest of the world.

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