Thirty-ninth session of the Statistical Commission
United Nations Headquarters, New York, 26-29 February 2008

60 Years of Building the Global Statistical System

The Statistical Commission - Then and Now...

      The 38th session of the Statistical Commission, due to be held from 27 February to 2 March 2007, will mark the 60th anniversary of the Commission. The United Nations Statistics Division, as the Secretariat of the Commission, is planning a number of special activities to commemorate significant accomplishments that the Commission has made during its 60 years of existence, such as the adoption of the System of National Accounts in 1953, 1968, and 1993, the launching of the World Population and Housing Census Programme in 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, and 2005, and the adoption of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics in 1994.

    Since its first regular session in 1947, the rotating Commission membership increased from 12 to 24 countries.  Country participation grew from 9 at the Commission’s first regular session to 95 countries at the thirty-seventh session in 2006, with a remarkable expansion of developing country attendance from 2 to 73 countries.  Until 1999, the meetings were held biennially; since then the Commission has convened annually.

    The scope of work of the Statistical Commission has also expanded over time.  The first regular session addressed a limited number of agenda items including the role of the Sub-Commission on Statistical Sampling, the transfer of the statistical services of the League of Nations, coordination of statistical activities between the United Nations and specialized agencies, and relations with international non-governmental organizations interested in the development of statistics.  At the thirty-seventh session in 2006, 23 substantive themes were brought up ranging from the long-standing themes such as national accounts and social statistics to more recent topics such as environmental accounting and informal sector statistics.

    While these changes are significant, the Commission’s commitment to develop statistical standards and promote an internationally comparable statistical system remains as strong today as when the Commission was established 60 years ago.  

The Nuclear Session: Paving the way to the creation of the Statistical Commission
Hunter College , Bronx New York,
1-15 May 1946

Chairman: Stuart Rice (USA)
    List of Delegations: (6)

    1) D. K. Lieu (China)
    2) A. Sauvy (France)
    3) P.C. Mahalonobis (India)
    4) H. Campion (UK)
    5) P.I. Fedesimove (USSR)
    6) Ukrainian SSR (no appointment)
    7) G. Jahn (Norway): absent
    8) A. Teixeira de Freitas (Brazil):         absent

1946 Provisional agenda

1946 Report to the Economic
and Social Council

The First Session: Setting the Agenda for the Commission's Work
Lake Success , New York ,
27 January-7 February 1947

Chairman: H. Marshall (Canada)
    List of Delegations: (9)

    1) D. K. Lieu (China)
    2) G. Darmois (France)
    3) P.C. Mahalonobis (India)
    4) Ph. J. Idenburg (Netherlands)
    5) R. G. D. Allen (UK)
    6) V. A. Robichko (Ukrainian SSR)
    7) I. S. Malyshev (USSR)
    8) Stuart Rice (USA)

1947 Report to the Economic
and Social Council

The Thirty-seventh session of the Statistical Commission
United Nations Headquarters,
New York, 7 to 10 March 2006

    Chairman: Gilberto Calvillo Vives                     ( Mexico)

    List of Delegations: (121)
    95 member states
    11 specialized agencies/related
      8 intergovernmental organizations
      7 observers/invited guests

Report on the thirty-seventh