Welcome to the United Nations
As the Secretariat of the UN Statistical Commission, UNDESA has an authoritative voice on developing concepts and methods to implement international statistical standards set by the Commission at global, regional and national levels. DESA work on data and statistics is geared to advice and build the capacity of NSOs to produce, collect, compile, store, analyze and disseminate official statistics and indicators consistent with these standards, in social statistics; economic statistics, (including international trade, financing flows and gaps, economic globalization, tourism, energy and industrial statistics); environmental statistics and environmental economic accounting; and statistics related to the SDGs and indicators. UNDESA also advises on forests-related indicators, on demographic projections, and on geospatial information management.


UNDESA can partner with the RC/UNCT to supplement and strengthen their efforts to build national statistical capacity for SDG indicator formulation, tracking, and data management; strengthen statistical governance (including policies, law and institutions) and modernize statistical systems, including big data and geospatial infrastructure management.

HOW – Delivery modalities and resources

1. Knowledge platforms containing a wealth of information on latest intergovernmental deliberations on international statistical standards; databases, guidance, toolkits and e-learning tools on data and statistics related to the SDGs, including statistical governance (e.g. law, systems and policies) that can strengthen the capacity of RCs/RCOs to advise governments and partners:

  • SDG indicator platform https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/: a dissemination platform of the Global SDG Indicators database. The platform also contains reference metadata information (work in progress) provided by the UN system and other international organizations on data and statistics related to Tier I and II Indicators in the Global Indicator Framework. The platform also hosts a toolkit for UNCT on SDG monitoring and reporting https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/unct-toolkit/capacity-building-and-coordination, which contains various tools to assess national statistical capacity particularly as it relates to the SDGs, and guidance and tools to assess SDG data gaps and capacity development needs for SDG monitoring, including a UN info dashboard on SDG country profile. The toolkit was developed by the UNSDG Task Team on Country-focused Data and Reporting to provide immediate guidance and links to experts, as well as tools that help to monitor and display progress against the SDGs at the country level. The platform also contains a UN info dashboard on SDG country profile;
  • Open SDG Data Hub http://unstats-undesa.opendata.arcgis.com/: a data sharing arrangements to provide access to accurate, timely, disaggregated, accessible and ready to use data and statistics from a wealth of authoritative SDG data sources to support evidence-based decision making and advocacy. It enables data dissemination across data users and producers;
  • E-handbook on SDG indicators https://www.unsdglearn.org/courses/e-handbook-on-sdg-indicators/: an e-learning course intended to target the growing need for information catered towards national statisticians to collect, calculate, and monitor the SDGs using data produced by the national statistical systems. The course is available on UN SDG: Learn, which is a e-learning platform developed by UNITAR and UNSSC, in collaboration with the whole UN system;
  • Demographic data and trends: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/index.asp.
  • UN data: http://data.un.org/
  • National Accounts: https://unstats.un.org/unsd/snaama/Index
  • International trade: https://comtrade.un.org/
  • StaAct https://statact.unitar.org/en: a tool developed in partnership with UNITAR to enable countries to address measurement gaps that impede monitoring national policies and leverage the power of Agenda 2030. It provides an analytical framework and a multi-stakeholder methodology to enable a team of national experts from National Statistical Offices, concerned Ministries and other parts of data community, including non-traditional data sources to design a short-term action plan with a focus on addressing institutional impediments to data collection, production and utilization. The objective is to bring together data producers, holders and users and help them achieve their goals at the lowest cost within one year. The tool contributes to improve data governance and utilization for policy-making purposes in selected priority areas through better dialogue and collaboration within NSOs and the leveraging of administrative data and other non-traditional data sources as Big Data, NGOs, geospatial, etc.
  • Online tool to support the integration and use of supplementary sources of data to measure progress towards the SDGs (under development)
  • Global Core Set of Forest Related Indicators (soon to be finalized by 15 forest-related international organizations and conventions)
  • Clearing House (CH) of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network (GFFFN): an online platform and database on forest financing opportunities and flows (its phase 1 is expected to be operational at the end of 2020), which will provide: a) a comprehensive up-to-date database on forest financing opportunities from all sources for sustainable forest management, drawing and building on existing initiatives and sources of information, including information on procedures for accessing resources; b) a web-based interactive platform for the exchange of data, lessons learned and best practices among users, including, for example, on project conceptualization and; c) a source of data for assessing progress on target 15.b of the Sustainable Development Goals and Global Forest Goal 4.


2. A global network/database of national and international statisticians, formalized through the UN Statistical Commission’s expert groups https://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/groups/, which has access to a wider informal network that can be easily engaged to provide technical expertise and advisory services to address specific national needs; UN DESA/Statistics Division (SD) also has a hot link service to provide advice and rapid response on matters related to statistical law, international norms and standards, Big Data and methodologies for data collection and analysis, environmental-economic account, and geospatial infrastructure management.

3. Capacity development support for evidence-based policymaking:

  • UN DESA/SD provides capacity development support to national statisticians in NSOs and government agencies to routinely produce, collect, compile, store, analyze and disseminate official statistics using an array of tools and methodological guidelines. Such support is delivered through global and regional workshops, expert meetings, seminars and conferences aimed to disseminate knowledge and establish global networks across statistical experts as well as through multi-country projects in selected pilot countries. These events can be learning/TOT opportunities for RCs and UNCTs. If NSOs require longer-term structural changes to their national statistical development strategy and plans, UNDESA cooperates with Paris21 https://paris21.org/, which uses ADAPT (Advanced Data Planning Tool) https://paris21.org/advanced-data-planning-tool-adapt, an innovative web-based planning tool for NSOs and other data producers to adapt data production to priority data needs of policy makers.