DESA News Vol. 12, No. 12 December 2008

Trends and analysis

Energy statistics to gain significance

Experts will meet in Aguascalientes, Mexico from 2 to 5 December to consult on the status of International Recommendations for Energy Statistics

After recognizing the significance of energy statistics, the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) at its 36th and 37th sessions recommended their development as part of official statistics and called for the revision and further development of the relevant international standards. As a result, DESA’s Statistics Division, in cooperation with the Oslo Group on Energy Statistics and the Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Energy Statistics, has embarked in the preparation of International Recommendations for Energy Statistics (IRES).

In this context, DESA’s Statistics Division is co-organizing with the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) of Mexico an international workshop on energy statistics from 2 to 5 December in Aguascalientes, Mexico. The main objectives of this workshop are to inform countries on the status of preparation of IRES, and to consult with them on issues they face in the collection, compilation and dissemination of energy statistics.

IRES is intended to cover a broad range of issues from basic concepts, definitions and classifications to data sources, data compilation strategies, energy balances and dissemination. Once approved by the Commission, IRES will provide a firm foundation for a long-term development of energy statistics based on the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics. A key element for the preparation of IRES is a worldwide consultation with national energy statistics compilers and relevant international and regional organizations.

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Monitoring the Millennium Development Goals

Workshop in Bangkok will bring together experts from 10 to 12 December to review recommendations for reporting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Since the periodic assessment of progress towards the MDGs started, the international statistical community has been concerned about the lack of adequate data to monitor trends in many developing countries and to inform the global monitoring and political debate.

The Inter-agency and Expert Group on MDG Indicators (IAEG) regularly reviews and discusses countries' needs in building capacity for the production and analysis of MDG and development indicators and work with national statistical offices to identify priorities in capacity building and to facilitate the coordination of technical assistance activities.

The purpose of this workshop is to review recommendations for reporting of MDG data and to establish strategies for dealing with data discrepancies and data gaps at the national and international level. In addition, the workshop will provide participants with the skills needed to improve sub-national data for the MDG indicators.

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Getting to the next level of e-governance readiness

DESA event in New York from 11 to 12 December will be attended by e-government experts to enhance the quantitative part of the e-governance survey

E-governance is a pivotal component in the effort to strengthen efficient and effective governance for development. It profoundly impacts on the ability of United Nations Member States to deliver citizen-centric public service and attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Governments around the world are moving forward in their e-governance efforts, but progress is uneven and substantial disparities remain.

Set against this backdrop, the United Nations E-Government Survey aims to identify and help address these disparities; especially, in support of a move towards a more inclusive information society, as envisaged in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Survey tracks progress of the 192 Member States in implementing e-government programmes. It measures and compares their state of e-government readiness via a benchmarking tool, namely, the Global E-Government Readiness Index.

In this context, DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management is organizing an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on E-Government Readiness Indicators: Getting to the Next Level. The meeting is a no stand-alone event, as it is directly linked to the United Nations E-Government Survey. The purpose of the meeting is to enhance the quantitative part of the survey by developing five sets of measurable, additional/revised e-government indicators. It will also serve as a forum to examine the survey’s methodology, along with an expert review and update of the current questionnaire in response to the current advancement and foreseeable trend of government online service programmes.

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Climate change and statistics conference in the Asia-Pacific region

Statisticians and other experts will meet in Seoul from 11 to 12 December to shape a roadmap for the development of official climate change statistics

The national statistical offices have contributed to climate change statistics in various ways. Some are heavily engaged in reporting greenhouse gas emission estimates to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) while others provide related accounts and economic or social analysis. Many of them have no activities at all related to this topic. It is therefore necessary to increase the interest and discuss how official statistics can better contribute to measuring, monitoring and analysis of climate change and related economic and social impacts.

The international statistical community recognized the importance of the role of official statistics in climate change issues, and organized the international conference on Climate Change and Official Statistics that was held in Oslo, Norway, from 14 to 16 April 2008 as a first step in the global discussion. The discussions and recommendations of the Oslo conference have been contributing to the formulation of a programme to strengthen the use of official statistics in this area of highest policy relevance.

The purpose of this Conference on Climate Change, Development and Official Statistics in the Asia Pacific Region, jointly organized by the Korean National Statistical Office (KNSO) and DESA’s Statistics Division, is to discuss the regional relevance of the recommendations of the Oslo Conference. The conference will contribute to the shaping and refining of a roadmap for the development of official climate change statistics at the national, regional and the international level. The roadmap will be submitted to the 40th session of the UN Statistical Commission in February 2009 for further deliberation.

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