United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC)
The United Nations Statistical Commission, established in 1947, is the apex entity of the global statistical system. It brings together the Chief Statisticians from member states from around the world. It is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities, especially in the setting of statistical standards, the development of concepts and methods, and their implementation at the national and international level.
The Statistical Commission oversees the work of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), and is a Functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council.
The terms of reference as set forth in Economic and Social Council resolution 1566 (L) of 3 May 1971, reaffirming its resolution 8 (I) of 16 February 1946, as amended by resolution 8 (II) of 21 June 1946, state that the Commission shall assist the Council:
- In promoting the development of national statistics and the improvement of their comparability;
- In the coordination of the statistical work of specialized agencies;
- In the development of the central statistical services of the Secretariat;
- In advising the organs of the United Nations on general questions relating to the collection, analysis and dissemination of statistical information;
- In promoting the improvement of statistics and statistical methods generally.
In resolution 1566 (L), the Council stressed the importance of the Commission's coordination function and the need to achieve an integrated system in the collection, processing and dissemination of international statistics; recognized the interest of the Statistical Commission and the Statistical Division in matters related to the use of computers in the United Nations system; and requested the Secretary-General to undertake, in cooperation with the specialized agencies, concerted action to assist the developing countries in strengthening their statistical systems.
Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics
The United Nations Statistical Commission, in its Special Session of 11 - 15 April 1995, adopted the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, earlier set out in the Economic Commission for Europe's Decision C (47). At its forty-second session in 2011 the Statistical Commission acknowledged that the Principles were still as relevant today and that no revision of the 10 principles themselves was currently necessary but recommended the development of a updated preamble, which was presented and adopted in its forty-fourth session in 2013.
The United Nations General Assembly has endorsed the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics last 29 January 2014, in its 68th session. These principles are considered a basic framework which all statistical activities developed by national and international organizations must follow in recognizing official statistics as a public good.
It is the first time the Fundamental Principles have received such high recognition at global political level. This historic achievement marks an important step towards the enhancement of statistics in all domains.
The Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics were developed and adopted by the Conference of European Statisticians in 1991, which were subsequently adopted in 1992 at the ministerial level by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
In 1994, these Principles were adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission (in its special session of 11-15 April), the highest decision making body for coordinating international statistical activities and which brings together national or chief statisticians from member states around the world.
At its forty-second session in 2011, the Statistical Commission acknowledged that the Principles were still as relevant today and that no revision of the 10 principles themselves was currently necessary but recommended the development of an updated preamble, which was presented and adopted in its forty-fourth session in 2013.
The Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (included revised preamble 2013) can be found on the UN website.