United Nations Statistical Commission

Overview   48th Session (2017)   Side Events

You are kindly invited to the seminar:

Are the current NSO business models still relevant?

  • Wednesday, 8 MAR 2017
  • 8:15 - 9:30 am
  • Conference Room 7

Meeting organized by the International Statistical Institute (ISI)

The NSOs (National Statistical Offices) and NSS (National Statistical Systems) are working in a rapidly changing and competitive data landscape. They have to adapt to the new data needs such as those required by the monitoring of the SDGs. Using new data sources such as administrative data and 'big data' requires changes in their internal processes, as well as building partnerships with other data communities. Despite growing data needs, NSOs leaderships are facing limited resources. Other data communities outside official statistics may represent competitive forces, but also offer important opportunities to help to respond to these challenges.

To evolve within the above-mentioned scenario, we must ask whether the current NSO business models are still relevant or whether they should be changed. In the last few years, several solutions have been developed and tested in different national and international projects.

This session will provide an opportunity to share the lessons learned so far and to discuss the way ahead. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has launched the Centre for the Big Data Statistics (CBDS) in September 2016, where "CBS is initiating cooperation of an unprecedented scale in the field of Big Data. CBS involves national and international parties from government, the business world, science and education all working together in the area of Big Data technology and methodology for the production of official statistics". Results from small NSOs, such as SURS Slovenia, can encourage others with limited resources to profit from the opportunities of secondary sources. NSOs in developing countries are facing many challenges but modern technology and good governance have contributed to a culture of innovation, which can turn weaknesses into opportunities. NSO Tanzania is a good example of strong leadership towards developing a modern statistical system for the country. INEGI Mexico is one of the NSOs where official statistics are joined with geography and represents a special model known only in a few countries so far. It would be useful to learn how these models of NSOs can respond to the SDGs challenges.

Heads of above-mentioned NSOs will share with us their lessons learned and their views on how to go forward. The outcome of the discussion will be summarised by the Director of the UNECE Statistical Division. In the UNECE region, the Conference of European Statisticians has been an important leader and supporter for overall modernisation in official statistics for several years. The roundtable will address the following issues:

  • What has been learned from using secondary data sources (e.g. big data and administrative data) and what is a major difference from the business model point of view in approaching these two sources to fulfil the SDGs requirements?
  • What are the main challenges?
  • What is the role of the leadership and management of NSOs in adapting their business model to changing data requirements and data landscape?
  • What should be changed in the current NSO business models and what has to remain the same?
  • Financial autonomy and strong political will within the NSO models.


  • Irena Križman, ISI Vice-President
  • Bert Kroese, Deputy Director General, Statistics Netherlands
  • Genovefa Ružić, Director General, SURS, Slovenia and Chair of the ESSC Partnership Group
  • Albina Chuwa, Director General, National Bureau of Statistics, Tanzania
  • Julio Alfonso Santaella Castell, President INEGI Mexico
  • Lidia Bratanova, Director, UNECE Statistical Division

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