United Nations Statistical Commission

Overview   48th Session (2017)   Side Events

Statistical and Geospatial Perspectives for the Definition of Settlements and Cities

  • Monday, 6 MAR 2017
  • 01:15 – 2:30 pm
  • Conference Room 4

Meeting jointly organized by United Nations Statistics Division/Global Geospatial Information Management and UN-Habitat/Global Urban Observatory

This Statistical - Geospatial Integration Side Event, with a specific focus on the definition of settlements and cities, seeks to bring together actors and experts to discuss and deliberate on the delivery of integrated high-quality, accessible, timely and reliable data to support, track and inform on progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at all levels. This integration also allows for proper statistical and geographic location perspective of information critical, including data disaggregation, to achieve the overarching principle of the 2030 Agenda, to leave no one behind. Disaggregated data, including by geographic location, allow us to go beyond rhetoric and inform as to how far the benefits of development are equally shared.

The development and acceptance of a global definition for settlements and cities will be key to deliver comparable data for indicators concerned with urban and human settlements. This definition, by extension, will support a better understanding of urban and rural, further aiding in the disaggregation of data according to urban and rural.

This side event aims to discuss and deliberate on existing work including practical experiences in developing an understanding and a global definition for settlements and cities that will support the global indicator framework. The side event follows from the Statistical-Geospatial Integration Forum (6th March 2017, 09:00 a.m. - 13:00 p.m.) and is supported by the UN Statistical Commission, UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), The World Bank Group, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, the Regional and Urban Policy Unit of the European Commission, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and EuroStat.

Brief Outline of the Session

The moderator will introduce the session with some introductory remarks before inviting the panellists to make their presentations. The assembled panel for this side event, together with the participants, are expected to engage and interact in an open discussion that follows after all of the presentations are delivered. This facilitated open discussion portion of the side event will be about 30 min in duration.

    Programme Agenda


  1. Ms. Eugenie Birch Chair-Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania, Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research, USA
  2. Panellists:

  3. Disaggregation by Geographic Location
    Mr. Timothy Trainor Co-Chair UN-GGIM, Chief Geospatial Scientist, US Census Bureau, USA
  4. Definitions for Cities and Human Settlements for Global Monitoring
    Prof. Solly Angel New York University, USA
    Mr. Robert Ndugwa UN-Habitat, Nairobi, Kenya
  5. City Indicators for sustainable urban development
    Mr. Lewis Dijkstra DG for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission
    Mr. Paolo Veneri Head of Regional Statistics, Regional Development Policy, OECD
  6. Open Discussion

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