United Nations Statistical Commission

Overview   Inter-sessional activities

Inter-sessional activities

Multi-stakeholder panel on "The contribution of key population and development issues to building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", Commission on Population and Development, 55th session , Tuesday, 26 April 2022, virtual

Mr. Sankoh, Chief Statistician of Sierra Leone and Vice Chair of the Statistical Commission, remotely participated in the Multi-stakeholder panel on the contribution of key population and development issues to building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as part of the 55th session of the Commission on Population and Development. Mr. Sankoh joined a distinguished panel consisting of the Deputy Minister of Health from Malawi, the UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador from Portugal, the Executive Director of the National Commission on Population and Development of the Philippines, and the UNMGCY focal point on Sustainable Consumption and Production. In the first round of questions focused on key aspects in post-pandemic recovery and realization of SDGs, including SDG 4 (education) and SDG 5 (gender equality), digital divide, sustainable production and consumption patterns, and integration of population and development in national development planning. The second round of questions focused on national experiences and NGO perspective for recommendations for accelerated progress in the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development, through better integration of population and development in the post-pandemic recovery.

Mr. Sankoh emphasized that by "using digital technology in data collection in Sierra Leone makes it possible for us to have disaggregated data with relative ease." The Vice-Chair also stated that "the digital divide will not be 'the new face of inequality' because it has existed for a long time in our countries in Africa. It will continue to be there for as long as socioeconomic inequalities continue to exist. Perhaps we can say that its face will become more visible now." Mr. Sankoh called for support through funding to make the routine data collection efforts remain routine. In conclusion, the Vice Chair stated that digital data collection would make it more possible to have disaggregated data.

In conclusion, in response to a question from the moderator on the collaboration between the Commission on Population and Development and the Statistical Commission, Mr. Sankoh agreed that the two commission need to work closely together. He called for support for South-South cooperation on data. For example, Mr. Sankoh shared that when Sierra Leone was working on their GIS, a team from Malawi assisted them in this work. The Vice-Chair stated that the CPD and the Statistical Commission need to work together toward a common purpose.

ECOSOC Coordination Segment, 3 and 4 February 2022, on-line

Ms. Gabriella Vukovich (Hungary), Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission, participated virtually in the ECOSOC Coordination Segment, on 3 and 4 February 2022. Over the two-day meeting, Ms. Vukovich participated in a session on "Pathways for a resilient and inclusive economic recovery" as well as a session on "reflections on the work of the ECOSOC Subsidiary Bodies".

Panellist in session on "Pathways for a resilient and inclusive economic recovery", 3 February 2022
In Ms. Vukovich's statement at the session on resilient and inclusive economic recovery [starting at 27:16, response at 1:16:03], Ms. Vukovich shared the Commission's work on System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA), which is an integrated framework on the environment-economy nexus. She emphasized the need for the integration of data from various sources, including the integration of geospatial information and statistical information, to support the SEEA EA framework. Information needs to come from cross-cutting issues and the use of innovative approaches will help fully address the framework.

Ms. Vukovich emphasized investment in statistical and data systems to provide baseline data to make policy recommendations and evidence-based decisions is essential for such integrated systems. She shared how the COVID-19 pandemic has put enormous strain on national statistical offices across all policy domains and emphasized that greater resources and advocacy is needed for SEEA implementation. Finally, the Vice-Chair emphasized that data and information support building more resilient systems and achieving the SDGs. More investment in data, both in technical and human capacity and resources is needed by member states and for Member States.

Video statement in session on "reflections on the work of the ECOSOC Subsidiary Bodies", 4 February 2022
In the video prepared on the work of the functional commission [starting at 37:00], the Vice-Chair shared (Video , Statement ) that, aligned with the ECOSOC review of its subsidiary bodies, the Statistical Commission will also have before it the revision of its 50-year-old terms of reference to address the evolving and expanding statistical and data ecosystem and the modernization of national statistical systems. She also restated the Statistical Commission's commitment to working closely with other ECOSOC subsidiary bodies as the topic of statistics and data is, indeed, a transversal one.

Economic and Social Council Management Segment, New York (8 June 2021)

On 8 June 2021, the Vice-chair of the Statistical Commission, Ms. Gabriella Vukovich (Hungary), introduced the report from the 52nd session of the Commission to the Management Segment of the Economic and Social Council. The Management Segment was held at the UN headquarters as an in-person meeting, however, Ms Vukovich joined via Video conference. The Vice-Chair shared highlights the report of the session and outlined the main conclusions and decisions. She drew a few important decisions to the attention of ECOSOC, including the successful adoption of the Ecosystem Accounting framework as part of the System of Integrated Economic Environmental Accounting, endorsement of the vision and way forward for the implementation of the new United Nations data portal as the main entry point to authoritative statistical data and metadata, and the upcoming review of the 50-year-old mandate of the Statistical Commission. Ms. Vukovich also emphasized that the Commission expressed its appreciation for the continued improvements of the SDG indicator methodologies, and requested the Statistics Division/DESA to continue to lead the United Nations statistical system for the preparation of the annual authoritative SDG progress report to be presented to the High-level Political Forum. The final report of the Commission is available in all six UN languages at https://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/52nd-session/documents/, and contains the Commission's recommendation that the fifty-third session of the Commission shall be held in New York from 1 to 4 March 2022.

For more information on the ECOSOC Management Segment, please visit: https://www.un.org/ecosoc/en/content/2021-management-segment

For the full statement, click HERE.

Economic and Social Council - Integration Dialogue 2 "Building back better towards inclusive, sustainable, and just economies for recovery: Re-designing the contract between people and planet", virtual (3 June 2021)

Mr. Julio Santaella (Mexico), Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission, participated virtually in the ECOSOC Integration Dialogue II, on 3 June 2021. The ECOSOC Integration Dialogues are being held in preparation for the ECOSOC Integration Segment in July. Mr. Santaella was part of a panel focusing on building back better towards inclusive, sustainable, and just economies for recovery. UNSD provides secretariat support for the Commission, and the Director of the Division and UNSD focal point also attended the meeting.

In his statement , Mr. Santaella advocated in favour of data and statistics as clear evidence with which to take decisions. He emphasized the role the Statistical Commission and its work on adopting standards and methodologies plays in contributing to providing technically-sound, evidence-based and action-oriented data and statistics needed to assess progress toward sustainable development. He also shared ways in which the global statistical community adapted to provide more data and statistics as evidence to make informed decisions about COVID-19. For example, countries leveraged call records to assess effectiveness of lockdown and implemented telephone-based COVID-19 rapid response surveys with partners from the private sector.

The Vice-Chair referenced the work of DESA/UNSD and the World Bank on conducting surveys of national statistical offices to assess the impact of the pandemic on the statistical operations and the evolving needs of the national statistical offices. Mr. Santaella shared challenges faced by national statistical offices in conducting their censuses and revisions to their data collection methods.

Finally, the Vice-Chair referenced one area where the Commission has made significant progress - environmental economic accounting. The newly adoption framework will contribute to building back better. With the climate and biodiversity disasters, it is clear that both the economy and environment need a bailout after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we can no longer rely solely on GDP-the use of GDP as a singular measure of progress is insufficient-it is a marker of economic progress, not wellbeing. The adoption by the Statistical Commission of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) as an international statistical standard allows countries to go beyond-GDP and incorporate ecosystems and the services they provide to humanity into economic decisions and COVID-19 recovery plans.

For the full Talking Points, please click HERE.

Meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the Chairs of the Functional Commissions and Expert Bodies, virtual (1 February 2021)

Mr. Anil Arora (Canada), Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission, participated virtually in the annual meeting of Bureau of ECOSOC with the Chairs of its Functional Commissions and Expert Bodies on Monday 1, February 2021. Mr. Arora highlighted in his remarks how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted has given greater prominence to data gaps for targeted decisions that help to reduce inequities and the differential impact of the virus on populations and industrial sectors. The global statistical community has shown amazing resilience and agility, innovation and partnerships to strengthen its relevance and help in evidence based decisions. Through national examples, Mr. Arora showcased Canada's response to the pandemic and how the expertise of Statistics Canada helped to effectively and efficiently provide data and information to help leaders make informed decisions. Data is more important than ever. National statistical offices have embraced alternative data sources, including administrative records, scanner data, earth observation data and are playing a "de facto" role of data stewards through the provision of services including data curation, data literacy and the provision of data quality tools and/or assessments.

Mr. Arora provided an update on the forthcoming 52nd session of the Statistical Commission, which will be virtually convened from March 1 to 3 and 5, 2021. The Bureau and the Secretariat are in the process of preparing for the session and asking ECOSOC to allow technical decisions to be taken via silence procedures. The work of the Commission is focused on 3 priorities:

  • - Contributing directly to the 2021 theme of resiliency and sustainability;
  • - Leveraging opportunities to work with other areas of ECOSOC and improving coordination; and
  • - Building resiliency into national statistical systems

The Statistical Commission continues to lead the global statistical system in providing the best available data and statistics to build an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The Vice-Chair pointed out ways that the Commission is leveraging opportunities to build partnerships and coordination. The Statistical Commission works in close cooperation with many groups including the Commission on the Status of Women, the Population Commission, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Commission on Social Development, and the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UNGGIM) to name a few. He also highlighted an example of enhanced coordination in the field of economic statistics, in which the Friends of the Chair on Economic Statistics developed a series of recommendations that are designed to improve coordination across the system of economic statistics and address the interlinked nature of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of Sustainable Development.

Finally, Mr. Arora updated the meeting that the statistical community launched a COVID-19 survey of national statistical offices, with the objective of monitoring the impact of the pandemic on statistical operations and the evolving needs of countries around the globe. In conclusion, Mr. Arora stated: "Strong national and international statistical systems are critical in building back better together."

For the full statement, click HERE.


Economic and Social Council Management Segment, New York (3 June 2020)

The Vice-chair of the Statistical Commission, Mr. Anil Arora (Canada), introduced the report from the 51st session (held in NY from 3 to 6 March 2020) to the Management Segment of the Economic and Social Council. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Management Segment was held as a virtual meeting through the WebEx platform. Mr. Arora shared highlights from the discussions during the Commission, outlined the main conclusions and decisions, and informed the Council on the draft resolution on "Strengthening coordination of the statistical programmes in the United Nations system." Among other salient points, he highlighted the adoption by the 2020 comprehensive review of the SDG indicator framework, as mandated by the original General Assembly resolution on the SDGs. The Council will consider the report and resolution through a silence procedure pursuant to ECOSOC decision 2020/206. The final report of the Commission is available in all six UN languages at https://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/51st-session/documents/, and contains the Commission's recommendation that the fifty-second session of the Commission shall be held in New York from 2 to 5 March 2021.

See the video at the following link: http://webtv.un.org/watch/ecosoc-2020-management-segment/6161465199001/



Meeting with the Chairs of the ECOSOC Functional Commissions and Expert Bodies, New York (31 January 2020)

Mr. Anil Arora (Canada, Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission) participated via video link in the Meeting with the Chairs of the ECOSOC Functional Commissions and Expert Bodies (31 January 2020). In his intervention, Mr. Arora shared how the Commission, as a subsidiary body of ECOSOC, contributes to the 2030 Agenda and is aligned to the ECOSOC's vision and related resolutions. He highlighted that the Statistical Commission focuses on the technical aspects of quality information needed to make evidence-based decisions, and that under the leadership of the Statistical Commission, the global statistical system provides the best available data and statistics for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. Specifically, the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) conducted a comprehensive review of the global indicator framework to be considered by the Statistical Commission in March 2020 which directly supports the global monitoring of the 2030 agenda. The framework provides the necessary guidance to countries in implementing their national frameworks and reporting platforms. The data and statistics provide an important input into the deliberations of Member States for the HLPF and The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2020, targeting a wider audience by presenting data and analysis in a user-friendly way with charts and infographics.

Mr. Arora highlighted ways that the Commission is working to address innovative topics, like data stewardship and the evolution of the statistical system, to keep abreast of shifts in the dynamics of the global statistical community. He also pointed out the need for proper funding to realize the decade of action, and the Commission's continued work to support the establishment of an innovative financing mechanism, as called for in the Dubai Declaration. The goal is to mobilize both domestic and international funds as it is clear that financing is needed to help Governments strengthen capacity and build sustainable systems.


High-level political forum on sustainable development, New York (9 July 2019)

During the High-level political forum on sustainable development 2019, the Vice-chair of the Statistical Commission, Mr. Julio Santaella Castell (Mexico), contributed to the session on Progress, gaps and obstacles: are we on track for leaving no one behind? (9 July 2019), enriching the global community's discussion on the importance of data and statistics both as a means of implementation for progress towards the SDGs and to assess the implementation of the agenda. By highlighting the essential role of data and statistics and the urgent need for more investments in the national statistical systems, the Vice-chair brought a strong message into the political discourse, helping to bridge policy and statistics at a time when data and statistics are more important than ever before to ensure sustainable and inclusive development for all.
See the video at the following link: http://webtv.un.org/search/2019-high-level-political-forum-on-sustainable-development-hlpf-2019-1st-and-2nd-meeting/6057202919001/?term=Progress,%20gaps%20and%20obstacles:%20are%20we%20on%20track%20for%20leaving%20no%20one%20behind?&sort=date&page=35


Economic and Social Council Management Segment, New York (6 June 2019)

The Vice-chair of the Statistical Commission, Mr. Julio Santaella Castell (Mexico), presented the report from the 50th session (held in NY from 5 to 8 March 2019) to the Economic and Social Council. Connected from Mexico City via video link, Mr. Santaella talked about the highlights of the discussion, and the conclusions and decisions contained in the report. Among other salient points, he highlighted the decision of the Commission to establish an innovative funding mechanism to respond in an efficient manner to national priorities to strengthen data and statistical systems. The Council took note of the final report, which is available in all six UN languages at https://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/50th-session/documents/, decided that the fifty-first session of the Commission shall be held in New York from 3 to 6 March 2020, and approved the provisional agenda and documentation as set in Chapter I of the report.
See the video at the following link: http://webtv.un.org/search/part1-economic-and-social-council-management-segment-20th-plenary-meeting-session-2019/6045457046001/?term=&lan=english&cat=Meetings%2FEvents

Photo Attribution: UNSD/MICH

Joint Dialogue of the President of ECOSOC with Bureaux of Functional Commissions and Expert Groups (10 January 2019)

Mr. Zachary Mwangi Chege (Kenya), Chair of the Statistical Commission, participated via video link in the ECOSOC Dialogue with Functional Commissions and Expert Groups (10 January 2019). In his intervention, Mr. Mwangi reported that based on official data provided by Member States to the global statistical system, two SDG progress reports will be prepared for the 2019 HLPF; one on the report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, which will provide an important input into the deliberations of Member States for the HLPF and The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019, targeting a wider audience by presenting data and analysis in a user-friendly way with charts and infographics.

Mr. Mwangi highlighted the work of the Praia Group on Governance Statistics, established by the Statistical Commission in March 2015, in support for the Peacebuilding Commission. The Praia Group has been tasked to encourage countries to produce governance statistics based on sound and documented methodologies and to address the conceptualization, methodology and instruments needed to produce such statistics.

Photo Attribution: "UNSD/MICH"


7th Global Forum on Gender Statistics and 12th meeting of Inter Agency and Expert Group on Gender Statistics, Tokyo (13 - 16 November 2018)

Mr. Masato Aida (Japan), Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission, participated the 12th meeting of Inter Agency and Expert Group on Gender Statistics (13 November) for making opening remarks, and the 7th Global Forum on Gender Statistics (14 to 16 November) for closing remarks. The meetings were co-organized by UN Statistics Division and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, government of Japan. In his remarks, Mr. Aida highlighted that coordination and cooperation are essential at all levels to improve gender statistics, where new demands emerge one after another, along with changes in the society. Thus the role of the Forum will be continuously important.


Photo Attribution: "Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Government of Japan"

High-Level Political Forum: How far have we come on the SDGs? Implementing the 2030 Agenda for resilient societies, New York (9 July 2018)

On 9 July 2018, the High-level Political Forum opened. USG Mr. Liu presented a global snapshot of progress made towards the 17 Goals and remaining gaps by highlighting the findings of the Sustainable Development Report 2018. UNSD organized the morning session, entitled "implementing the 2030 Agenda for resilient societies" which focused on reviewing the progress in achieving the SDGs and better data for sustainable development. The speakers included the ASG of UN Women, a member of a national planning commission from Ghana, statisticians from Ireland, the USA, and Jamaica, as well as the Chair of the Statistical Commission, Mr. Zachary Mwangi from Kenya, and representatives from NGO Major Group and civil society. The first subsession highlighted the importance of data for reviewing progress toward the 2030 Agenda, with special focus on national and sectoral experiences. The second subsession stressed the importance of better data for sustainable development, and the need to secure sustainable financial resources to be able to strengthen national statistical systems to meet the demands of the agenda. The session generated rich discussions on the need for better data for sustainable development.


Interactive roundtable: The contribution of functional commissions, New York (2 July 2018)

On 2 July 2018, ECOSOC hosted a round table of several Chairs and Vice-Chairs of its functional commissions, intended to feed into the 2018 HLPF. This event took place as part of the Coordination and Management Meeting of ECOSOC. The Statistical Commission was represented by Mr. Julio A. Santaella, Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission and President of Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) of Mexico. Mr. Santaella elaborated on the contribution of the Statistical Commission's work during its last session to the review of the SDGs that will be discussed during the 2018 HLPF thematic reviews. Mr. Santaella described the cross-cutting issues the Statistical Commission has addressed including the incorporation of a gender dimension into all areas of statistics; as well as its collaborative work with other commissions.


Economic and Social Council Coordination and Management Meeting, New York (12 June 2018)




The Chair of the Statistical Commission, Mr. Zachary Mwangi Chege (Kenya), presented the report on the 49th session (held in NY from 6 to 9 March 2018) to the Economic and Social Council. Connected from Nairobi via video link, Mr. Mwangi talked about the highlights of the discussion, and the conclusions and decisions contained in the report. The Council took note of the final report, which is available in all six UN languages at https://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/49th-session/, decided that the fiftieth session of the Commission shall be held in New York from 5 to 8 March 2019, and approved the provisional agenda and documentation as set in Chapter I of the report.


Photo Attribution: "UNSD/SW"





High-level Meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), New York (21 - 22 May 2018)

The Chair of the Statistical Commission, Mr. Zachary Mwangi Chege (Kenya), participated in the High-level meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum. Mr. Mwangi was a panellist in the session "Bridging capacity gaps and facilitating technology development and transfer in strategic areas", together with Ms. Shamsad Akhtar, Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Mr. Richard Watts, Senior Analyst of Development Initiatives, and Mr. Steve Hollingworth, President and CEO of Grameen Foundation. During the panel discussion, the Chair highlighted the great demand for quality, accurate, open, timely, sufficiently disaggregated data and statistics to fully implement and monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.


Photo Attribution: "UNSD/MICH"

Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, New York (18 May 2018)

Mr. Zachary Mwangi Chege (Kenya), Chair of the Statistical Commission and Director General of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics was at UN Headquarters to fulfil the mandate given to the Bureau to continuously engage and advise on the statistical aspects of the proposed draft for global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration (GCM). The GCM, to be adopted in December 2018, just completed its fourth round of negotiations last Friday, 18 May 2018. The GCM is expected to be the first negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to address all dimensions of international migration in a holistic manner.

The Chair addressed the co-facilitators of the negotiation process, the Ambassadors of Mexico and Switzerland with specific recommendations and suggested language to the GCM, on objective 1 "Collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies" and called for coordinated efforts on data and statistics, while building upon existing initiatives and mechanisms. The proposed changes from the Bureau of the Statistical Commission were detailed in a statement delivered from the floor during the intergovernmental negotiations by the Chair of the Commission, Mr. Zachary Mwangi, and were supported by the delegate from Switzerland.


Photo Attribution: "UNSD/HC"

11th meeting of the High-level Group on Partnership, Coordination and Capacity Building (HLG-PCCB) for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (9-10 May 2018) and Meeting on Financing Mechanisms for Statistics (8 May 2018)

Mr. Zachary Mwangi Chege (Kenya), Chair of the Statistical Commission, travelled to Rabat, Morocco to participate 11th meeting of the HLG-PCCB and a one-day meeting on collaboration efforts and financing for statistics. He took part in the discussions on aspects of the second UN World Data Forum to take place later this year in Dubai. The side event dealt with better collaboration efforts of the various actors working to support the national statistical systems and explored in depth support financing and funding mechanisms.


Joint Dialogue of the President of ECOSOC with Bureaus of Functional Commissions and Expert Groups, 2 February 2018

Mr. Zachary Mwangi Chege (Kenya), Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission, participated via video link in the ECOSOC Dialogue with Functional Commissions and Expert Groups (2 February 2018). In his intervention, Mr. Mwangi highlighted the leadership role of the Statistical Commission and the global statistical system to provide the best available data and statistics for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda.


Photo Attribution: "UNSD/SW"

Ms. Aija Zigure (Latvia), Rapporteur of the Statistical Commission, participated in special event on drug statistics during the reconvened 60th session of the Commission for Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, 7 December 2017


Photo Attribution: "H.E. Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen" by sgb unodc - Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Letter exchange between the chair of the Statistical Commission and the Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (October - November 2017)

Ms. Aija Zigure (Latvia), Rapporteur of the Statistical Commission, participated in a Roundtable Discussion on Gender Perspectives in the Work of ECOSOC Functional Commissions in New York, 7 July 2017. (Flyer)

Ms. Wasmalia Bivar (Brazil), Chair of the Statistical Commission addressed the ECOSOC Coordination and Management Meeting, 7 June 2017. The transcript of the speech is available in English and Spanish.

In the same meeting, the Economic and Social Council adopted the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (see Report).



Ms. Wasmalia Bivar (Brazil), Chair of the Statistical Commission addressed the 16th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - 16th session, 4 May 2017. The transcript of the speech is available in English and Spanish.



Video message by Mr. Georges-Simon Ulrich (Switzerland), Vice-Chair of the Statistical Commission, addressed the 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna, 13-17 March 2017. The transcript of the video message is available here.



Ms. Aija Zigure (Latvia), Rapporteur of the Statistical Commission participated in an interactive expert panel on "Enhancing availability and use of data and gender statistics to support accelerated implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" during the 61st Session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61), 13-24 March 2017 (Ms. Aija Zigure starts at the 37th minute)


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