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We support national statistical systems to meet the data needs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, through 

  • methodological guidance
  • modernization of statistics
  • capacity development.

By bringing together experts from across the statistical community, we look for common efficiencies and innovative ways to tackle persistent and emerging challenges in official statistics.

Our work on statistics has lasting impact and global reach.

Key areas of work

In focus

Conducting a census using traditional methods –face-to-face interviews or mailing out paper forms--can make it one of the most complex, expensive and time-consuming exercises undertaken by statistical offices. Yet censuses are at the heart of national statistical systems, providing baseline information for a vast range of crucial national statistics. Many of the indicators for monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals depend on knowing the size of the population, or of particular parts of it: children, older people, women and men, and whereabouts in a country they live. In fact, censuses are so crucial to achieving sustainable development that conducting a census is itself one of the targets of the 2030 Agenda.

Our work on censuses includes the annual meeting of the Group of Experts on Population and Housing, which will meet on 18-20 September, providing countries a forum to exchange their latest cutting-edge research on such themes as the use of new technologies, integrating novel data sources, enumerating hard-to-reach groups, and adapting censuses to cover newly-emerging topics such as same-sex couples and gender identity. The Steering Group on Censuses, a group of experts from 12 countries and 6 international organizations reporting to the Conference of European Statisticians (CES), is currently working to identify the ways in which censuses will change beyond the 2020 round, and how the international statistical community—including the CES Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses—will need to adapt. A CES Task Force is also developing guidelines for assessing the quality of administrative sources for population and housing censuses; a direct follow-up to our 2018 publication, Guidelines on the use of registers and administrative data for population and housing censuses.


  • Innovation is great, but it is even more powerful when it is shared. That is the premise of a new venture by UNECE: an “Innovation Lab”, taking place on the margins of the World Statistics Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this August. Heads and senior managers from national and international statistical organizations worldwide will be asked the simple question “Which recent innovation in your organization are you most proud of?” Rapid exchange of ideas and the opportunity for bilateral follow-up will create networks and strengthen the collaborative spirit of the global statistical community.