United Nations Statistical Commission

Overview   50th Session (2019)   Side Events

Handbook of Statistical Organization and the Regional Thematic Conferences

  • Thursday, 7 MAR 2019
  • 8:15 – 9:30 am
  • Conference Room 8

Meeting organized by United Nations Statistics Division


The objective of this side event is to provide further explanation on the status of the Handbook of Statistical Organization as well as the preparations of the Regional Thematic Conferences. Last year, the Statistical Commission endorsed the outline of the updated Handbook of Statistical Organization, which aims to guide chief statisticians and senior managers in developing and maintaining statistical capacity that is fit for purpose. Further, the Commission suggested organizing a series of thematic conferences at the regional level to address current institutional, organizational and technical challenges in the production of official statistics and indicators.


  1. Chair:
  2. Mr. Ronald Jansen, UNSD

  3. Panellists:
  4. "Handbook of Statistical Organization" - Mr. Gabriel Gamez, UNSD
  5. "Update of the Handbook of Statistical Organisation & the Regional Thematic conferences" - Mr. Trevor Fletcher, UNSD Consultant
  6. "Managing a statistical organization in times of change" - Mr. Ralf Becker, UNSD
  7. Ms. Ola Awad, PCBS, State of Palestine
  8. Mr. Kaushal Joshi, Asian Development Bank
  9. Mr. Oliver Chinganya, UNECA


The need for statistical systems to adapt and develop was stressed in the Cape Town Global Action Plan (CTGAP) for Sustainable Development Data (see E/CN.3/2017/3) and the final report of the series of conferences on a transformative agenda for official statistics (E/CN.3/2017/5). The monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and related regional and national development policies requires national statistical systems to grasp the potential of innovative technologies in a rapidly changing data ecosystem while reinforcing leadership, coordination, communication and dialogue through institutional and organizational reforms, in compliance with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, endorsed by the General Assembly in 2014. Modernization and transformation are crucial if official statistics are to meet the widening and increasing requirements of policymakers, researchers, the media and civil society for high-quality, timely and disaggregated statistics.

The Commission required that the updated version of the Handbook consider the strategic development areas proposed in the CTGAP and the main outcomes of the series of conferences on a transformative agenda for official statistics, in particular, the following: (a) Institutional and organizational frameworks securing resilience and the adaptability of official statistics; (b) Communication, advocacy and multi-stakeholder partnerships for official statistics; (c) Production processes and data sources for integrated production systems in official statistics; (d) Information technology infrastructure to support data collection and the sharing, processing and dissemination of official statistics; (e) Quality assurance framework and quality policy and management in official statistics; (f) Capacity-building, training and resource mobilization in official statistics.

A series of regional thematic conferences will help to identify capacity development needs in general and will support the development of the Handbook in particular. The overarching theme of these conferences will be "Managing a statistical system in times of change". The target audience of each of the conferences is senior management, especially the Chief Statisticians.

The conferences will be jointly organized by the regional commissions, the regional development banks and UNSD and will be tailored to each regional context while maintaining a standard format that would allow identifying specific and common challenges and opportunities. Eventually, the outcomes of these conferences can be translated to updated and new national practices, and to supporting initiatives at the regional and global level. This series of conferences will be conducted over a time period of about two years. They are tentatively scheduled as follows: two conferences in Africa (in May and June 2019) and one in the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia region in October 2019, followed by 6 conferences in 2020 (one in the ESCWA region, three in Asia and the Pacific and two in the Americas).

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