Statistical Journal of the IAOS

Volume 38 (2022) 3: Special Issue

Theme: International Official Statistics. Special issue with contributions of Member Organizations of the Coordination Committee for Statistical Activities (CCSA).

The Statistical Journal of the IAOS can be read via the printed version and online via the official statistics website: www.officialstatistics.com. The website offers beyond the online versions of the articles also a discussion platform, news, and interviews.

The latest version of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS (SJIAOS)

June 2022, Volume 38, no. 3.

Special issue: International Official Statistics. Special issue with contributions of Member Organizations of the Coordination Committee for Statistical Activities (CCSA).

See: https://content.iospress.com/journals/statistical-journal-of-the-iaos/38/3 

In this special issue of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, the focus is fully on the role and diversity of activities of the ISOs, as they are organized in the CCSA. The articles in this issue give an overview of the background and history of the CCSA, the role of the international organizations in the governance of the global statistical system, their role in capacity building in statistics and support to countries, and their involvement in the development of standards, coordination, producing and disseminating comparable statistics as well as methodological innovation. In total 94 authors, staff from 22 international organizations/projects and a few individual experts,  have contributed with manuscripts to this issue.

The Guest editorial, ‘A brief glimpse into the fascinating world of international statistics' authored by Angela Me (UNODC, Vienna), Haishan Fu (World Bank, Washington DC) and Steve MacFeely (WHO, Geneva), gives an excellent introduction and detailed summary description of the manuscripts in the four sections in this issue. Special thanks go to Steve MacFeely for the initiation and coordination of this effort for compiling this Special Issue.

In the introduction to the issue the manuscript by Sabine Warschburger and Stefan Schweinfest in ‘Interagency cooperation in official statistics: Past, present and future’  introduces the history and role of interagency cooperation.

The other manuscripts prepared  by the ISO’s are distributed in four sections:

1.   The role of the international statistical organizations in the Governance of Official Statistics (9 manuscripts)

Steve MacFeely, Angela Me, Mark Hereward, Frank Laczko, Steven Vale and Frank Swiaczny: Setting out a vision for the United Nations Statistical System.

Steve MacFeely, Angela Me, Haishan Fu, Malarvizhi Veerappen, Mark Hereward, Davod Passarelli and Friederike  Schüür: Tentative work to establish an International Data Governance Framework.

Fiona Willis-Núñez, Malgorzata Cwiek: Thirty years on, the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics remain the shared foundation of an informed society.

Steve MacFeely, Mathias Reiser, Angela Me, Mark Hereward, Stefan Schweinfest and Sabine Warschburger: Developing a Statistical Quality Assurance Framework for the United Nations.

Bruno Tissot and Irene Krizman: The central banks’ contribution to international statistics: a Basel perspective.

Haishan Fu and Craig Hammer: Toward a new, collaborative global financing architecture for fragile, low, and middle-income countries’ data priorities.

Deidre Appel: World’s first platform to track SDG data financing Clearinghouse for financing development data.

Michael Loksin: The Highways and Side Roads of Statistical Capacity Building.

Tanja Brønsted Sejersen, Chloe Mercedes Harvey and Petra Nahmis: Working together to get everyone in the picture in Asia and the Pacific.

2. The involvement of the international statistical organizations in measuring the impact of COVID-19 (6 manuscripts)

Philip Wollburg, Ivette Contreras, Calogero Carletto, Luiz Gonzalez Morales, Francesca Peruci and Alberto Zezza: The Uneven Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on National Statistical Offices Evidence from the Global COVID-19 survey of NSOs.

Albrecht Wirthmann, Jean-Marc Museux, Andrea Ascheri, Konstantinos Giannakouris, Martin Karlberg and Emanuele Baldaci: Innovation in the European statistical system: achievements and challenges ahead.

Roger Gomis, Paloma Carrillo, Steven Kapsos, Stefan Kühn and Avichal Mahajan: The ILO nowcasting model: using high-frequency data to track the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on labour markets.

Jessamyn Encarnacion, Papa Seck and Rea Jean Tabaco: Gender-responsive remote data collection, analysis, and use during crisis: UN Women’s Rapid Gender Assessments (RGAs.)

Garen Avanesian, Suguri Mizuyona and Enrique Delamonica: UNICEF Remote Learning Readiness Index: A Composite Indicator to Assess Resilience of Education Sector Against Crises and Emergencies.

Enrique Delamonica, Oliver Fiala, Aristide Kielem, Mohamed Obaidy, Joe Espinoza-Delgado, Maria Giacoponello and Ismale Cid Martinex: Nowcasting impact of COVID-19 on multidimensional child poverty.

3. The involvement of the international statistical organizations in measuring the SDGs (3 manuscripts)

Babatunde Abidoye and Edvard Orlic: Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals: A case for investment in data and impact evaluation.

Clara Aida Khalil, Stefano Do Candia, Piero Demetrio Falorsi and Pietro Gennari: Integrating surveys with geospatial data through small area estimation to disaggregate SDG indicators: a practical application on SDG Indicator 2.3.1 .

Margarita Guerrero, Pietro Gennari, Papa Seck, Irene Toma and Raymond Shama: The FAO-UN Women partnership to support countries in producing sex-disaggregated data on agricultural landownership: SDG indicator 5.a.1.

4. Methodological activities and projects at the international statistical organizations (11 manuscripts)

Taeke Anton Gjaltema: High-Level Group for the Modernisation of Official Statistics (HLG-MOS) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Calogero Carletto, Haoyi Chen, Talip Kilic and Francesca Perruci: Positioning Household surveys for the Next Decade.

Bruno Tissot: Data governance frameworks and the integration of alternative data into official statistics.

Ekatarina, Poleshchuk, Enrique Delamonica, Ayodela Marshall, Christian Tottrup, Dany Ghafari, Ludgarde Coppens and Stuart Crane: Use of Big Data for Official Environment Statistics: the measurement of extent and quality of freshwater ecosystems.

Sara Duerto Valero, Ramya Emandi, Jessamyn Encarnacion, Sneha Kaul and Papa Seck: Utilizing big data to measure key connections between gender and climate change.

Christian A. Mongeau Ospina, Carola Fabi, José Rosero Moncayo and Luis G Silva e Silva: The FAO Data Lab on Statistical Innovation and the Use of Big Data for the Production of International Statistics.

Pietro Gennari and Lorenzo Di Simone: Earth Observations for official crop statistics in the context of scarcity of in-situ data.

Andres Gutierrez, Xavier Mancero and Stalyn Guerreo: Poverty Mapping in Latin America: ECLAC Experiences on Small Area Estimation.

Takaaki Masaki, David Newhouse, Ani Rudra Silwal, Adiane Bedada and Ryan Engstrom: Small Area Estimation of Non-monetary Poverty with Geospatial Data.

Daniel Hopp: Using Machine Learning to Make Government Spending Greener.

Elizabeth Purdie and Marko Rissanen: From local prices to the global economy: a unique global collaboration that underpins the International Comparison Program.

The issue ends with the closing article by Gemma van Halderen and Matthew Shearing on the sixth discussion on the SJIAOS Discussion Platform (www.officialstatistics.com). In ‘ Regional Cooperation and Statistical Capacity Development: Successes, challenges and next steps’  they react to the comments on the discussion statements that were based on the publication in the December 2020 issue of the Journal of 13 manuscripts based on papers presented by South East Asian statisticians during the 2020 Asia-Pacific Statistics week. The role of UN-ESCAP, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, one of the regional UN ISOs, in capacity building in statistics is nicely illustrated by this article, by sharing an example of effective coordination from a UN Regional Commission, and the key features of current coordination efforts by the International Statistical Institute (ISI) and the UN. The article also describes the planned content of the ISI’s Capability Building Committee’s 2022–2025 strategic plan. This plan aims to provide an opportunity to review overall coordination efforts and promote inclusive capacity development efforts.

Launch of the 13th discussion: 'The roles and position of International Statistical Organizations'

With the release of this issue of the Journal (September 2022), also the 13th discussion will be opened. This discussion ‘The roles and position of International Statistical Organizations’ will build on the manuscripts in the September special issue with contributions from International Statistical Organizations. The discussion will especially focus on the global governance of official statistics and the role and position of the International Statistical Organizations. The statements will invite the readers to reflect on the role and value of (statistical) data, their role as a public good and the role of the UN  member states, the International Statistical Organizations and the UN Statistical Commission in the development and management of official statistics.

The exact statements will come around mid-September online on the SJIAOS discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com).

For more information about the statements and how to react see the introduction to the ‘SJIAOS Discussion Platform at the end of this issue. Several other discussions are also still online on the SJIAOS Discussion Platform (www.officialstatistics.com).

Extra discussion:

A FAST-EVOLVING LANDSCAPE FOR OFFICIAL STATISTICS: HOW TO RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGES?

In April 2022, during its annual Conference, the IAOS has formally established the “Krakow Working Group” whose aim is to contribute to the collective reflection on the challenges that our “datafied” societies pose to Official Statistics[1].

The SJIAOS is launching a virtual discussion on how official statistics can and have to react on the emergence of a complex new data ecosystem, competition for timely and relevant data for decision-making is strong. Official Statistics are now only one actor among many, albeit an important one. New actors, such as private producers or data scientists are sometimes perceived as more agile, more responsive and more innovative. The main points arising from this discussion will constitute useful inputs to the deliberations of the Group.

The Krakow Working Group will report on the advancement of its work at the IAOS Conference in Zambia in April 2023 and the ISI Congress in Ottawa in July 2023.   

It is expected that the Group will be able to present recommendations to be widely disseminated in the second half of 2023.

Several other discussions are still also online on the SJIAOS Discussion platform  (www.officialstatistics.com). I specifically invite you to also look at the 12th discussion and the Extra discussion on.

12th discussion: The positive and negative aspects of ‘standardization’ in official statistics

The discussion statements for this discussion can be found on:

https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/12th-discussion-positive-and-negative-aspects-standardization-official-statistics 

The 12th discussion is triggered by the section on ‘Standards, guidelines and recommendations’ in Volume 38/2. The section contains six manuscripts that originally stem from the ISI WSC 2021 SJIAOS Special Invited  Paper Session. Further to that, it contains a manuscript that describes the development and characteristics of a harmonized definition of cities, towns and rural areas for international comparison, called the Degree of Urbanisation.

The work of international official statistics focuses very much on harmonized definitions, procedures and methods to achieve comparable outcomes between regions and countries. Much of the work of international statistical organizations in developing statistical standards and harmonized classifications is directed to produce such procedures, methodologies and nomenclatures that, when applied for example in surveying and compiling indicators, allow countries or groups to be ‘compared’ via the resulting scores on so produced indicators.  Standardization is considered positive from the perspective of improving comparability and allowing regional or global monitoring as well as having procedures that when applied and well-documented witness the quality of the process and consequently the results. Beyond these positive achievements, the development, implementation and use of ‘standards’ can also be characterized by a variety of negatively assessed characteristics, obstacles/challenges, objections or even disadvantages. For example, negatively assessed is that in the development, implementation and operationalization not every situation can be or is sufficiently weighted or involved, that resources for full implementation and use according to the ‘standards’ are insufficient or that simply the ‘standards’ do not fit the socio-economic, cultural or political situation in a country and result in a non-valid picture.

Therefore, though the ‘standards’ are the backbone of modern official statistics it is valid to question if the frequent use of cross-national comparisons dismisses the cultural specificities of a country or region. It is also relevant to ask if the standards that are used to produce the indicators for cross-national comparisons are sufficiently implemented to allow for valid comparisons. And in general, one might question if there is a misfit between the emphasis on and practice of cross-national comparisons by international organizations and the attention to the level and awareness of the implementation of the standards used to produce the indicators on the country level?

See the discussion platform on: www.officialstatistics.com

The SJIAOS discussion platform invites you to contribute to important discussions at a time of your choosing.  With each release of an issue of the Statistical Journal, a new discussion topic is launched via a leading article or based on a section in the Journal. Each discussion runs for a year and is closed with a concluding commentary by the article author(s). In this issue, two discussions are formally closed with a closing article.

Several other discussions are still also online on the SJIAOS discussion platform (www.officialstatistics.com)

The 11th discussion: Large international projects on the development of official statistics, the 50x2030 Initiative as an example.

https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/11th-discussion-50x2030-initiative-agricultural-and-food-statistics 

With the release of the March 2022 issue of the Journal, the 11th discussion was opened. This discussion is triggered by the special section concerning the 50x2030 Initiative, as presented in this issue (Vol 38, (2022) Nr 1) via seven manuscripts and a guest editorial.

The 50x2030 Initiative to close the agricultural data gap is a multi-partner program that addresses current shortcomings in the quality and availability of agricultural data by transforming country data systems in 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America by 2030. The initiative is also one of the largest international projects on the development of statistics ever with planned costs of 500 million US dollars.

In the discussion, via a set of thought-provoking statements, the ambitions, structure, and content of the 50x2030 initiative will be proposed for reflection, as well as the role, structure, and governance aspects of such large international projects.

The 10th discussion: ‘Statistics on difficult to measure population groups: challenges to leave no-one not included is triggered by the manuscript ‘Improving official statistics on stateless people: challenges, solutions, and the road ahead, by Mary Strode (and Melanie Khanna in Volume 37 (2021)  Nr 4).

https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/launch-10th-discussion

The discussion statements will concentrate on the need for such statistical information, the challenges in collecting them as well as aspects of confidentiality and protection in data sharing and it will stress the importance of data to be comparable over contexts and time and to use the same definitions, concepts, questions, and methodologies. The discussion will also invite comments on the experiences gained and result achieved in developing guidelines for measuring and developing statistics for difficult to measure groups.

The ninth discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform is based on seven statements on ‘New Developments in Training in Official Statistics’.

https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/demand-and-format-training-official-statistics 

In the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, Volume 37/3, on ‘New Developments in Training in Official Statistics’  the recent trends in training in official statistics are discussed in 22 manuscripts. The need and rationale for training in official statistics and the necessity to anticipate recent developments, the requirements needed for training in Data Science,  a method for assessing the type and content of this demand for training, an overview of existing training in official statistics initiatives,  general trends in learning and training, and a selection of examples of training in domains of official statistics or regions.

The eighth discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform focuses on the UN Fundamental Principles for Official Statistics.

https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/un-fundamental-principles-official-statistics-suitable-and-current-self-regulatory 

This discussion builds on one hand on the manuscript 'Assessing compliance with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics: A Maturity Model for Continuous Improvement’ complementing the Fundamental Principles with the assessment of their compliance by countries and regions based on a Maturity Model for Continuous Improvement[2], illustrating the acceptance of this main framework for high-quality statistics as a still suitable instrument. On the other hand, during the last decennium, there were many events, where the principles were consciously or unconsciously ignored.

The objective of the discussion is twofold: first to generate knowledge and experience with the implementation, application, and effectiveness of the Fundamental Principles, second to inquire especially for major improvements, both to the Fundamental Principles themselves as well as to the compliance and the enforcement of compliance.

The seventh discussion on the SJIAOS discussion platform focuses on Misuse of Statistics, based on the section on Misuse of Statistics in Volume 37 (2021), Nr. 1: Misuse of Statistics; Time to speak out.

https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/misuse-statistics-time-speak-out 

The seventh discussion focuses on the Misuse of Statistics. It aims to center around comments and contributions around the need for trustworthy information to guide decision-making and enable citizens to understand issues that affect their health and livelihoods. Misuse of statistics is a phenomenon as old as statistics itself. Regulatory systems like the Fundamental Principles for Official Statistics, statistical laws, and rules for ethical behavior of statisticians aim to avoid and whenever needed correct forms of misuse of statistics. The data revolution, new data sets (Big Data), and open data all cause an even more complex society with an increasing number of stakeholders that are supposed to comply with these official statistics quality and behavioral requirements. In times of crisis like we are now in at a worldwide scale, ‘invites’ even more than in normal times those who have an interest in specific figures to massage, manipulate, or even falsify information. The impact of misuse of statistics or false statistics is apparent. All this makes a discussion on the Misuse of statistics even more current, and surely justifies the second part of the title: Time to speak out.

You are invited to contribute to the discussions on: www.officialstatistics.com 

Some background on the SJIAOS discussion platform

In August 2019 the Statistical Journal of the International Association for Official Statistics (SJIAOS) launched a new online platform for discussion on topics of significant relevance for official statistics (www.officialstatistics.com) as part of the SJIAOS website. The discussion platform invites you to contribute to important discussions at a time of your choosing.

The ISI World Statistics Conference, the IAOS conference, and Journals like the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, are the traditional platforms where views on new developments and important issues in Official Statistics are exchanged. However, conferences occur only a few times per year, journal issues are released maybe four times per year, and typically only reach specific interest groups. This new online discussion platform of the SJIAOS is an opportunity for anyone working or interested in official statistics, to contribute to topical discussions, at your convenience.

Every three months there is a new discussion item. With each issue of the SJIAOS, a new discussion topic will be launched via a leading article. Statements from this article will then invite you to post your opinion and arguments. Each discussion will run for a year and be closed with a concluding commentary by the article author(s). When fully up and running (after four journal issues), there will be four different discussions topics open for your contribution at any one time.

The discussion platform can be found in a prominent place on the new SJIAOS website (www.officialstatistics.com). Contributions have to be in English, have to be clear and concise, specifically addressing one of the statements, and should not exceed 25 lines. When considered useful, references to a longer text (article, paper) can be added as an attachment. Contributors are required to register on the discussion platform. Anonymous contributions are not appreciated.

The SJIAOS discussion platform editor (James Whitworth) moderates the discussions and the quality of the contributions (but of course not on the positions taken), takes decisions on the integrity of the arguments, and is available for support when needed.


[1] The established Group is co-chaired by Jan Robert Suesser, member of the IAOS Executive Committee and of the ISI Advisory Board on Ethics and Martine Durand, member of the European Statistics Governance Advisory Body of the French Statistics Authority and former OECD Chief Statistician. 
[2] Milicich, R., T. Dickinson, G. Van Halderen, T.Labor, H. Neven: Assessing compliance with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics: A Maturity Model for Continuous Improvement. In SJIAOS Vol37/2.

The Statistical Journal of the IAOS

The flagship of the IAOS is the ‘Statistical Journal of the IAOS’. The Journal is expected to be widely circulated and subscribed to by individuals and institutions in all parts of the world. The journal has four regular issues per year, each within average around 25 articles focusing on current and emerging issues and challenges related to the management, production and use of official statistics and related public policy matters. The ‘Journal’  is available on-line and via a printed publication and is supported by a website www.officialstatistics.com.

Beyond the link to the on-line version of the Journal the website provides a permanent platform for news, information on events. A main feature of the website is the discussion platform. This discussion platform facilitates in parallel to and based on articles in the Journal discussions on important topics for official statistics.

Submit a Paper

The success of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS depends upon the contributions of IAOS members and authors. All papers are subject to anonymous review. For a full description of the publication’s editorial aims and scope, and how to submit manuscripts, go to www.officialstatistics.com or to IOSPress. For more information on the journal in general, submission, review and revision procedures or specific manuscripts, do not hesitate to contact the Editor in Chief, Pieter Everaers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Papers are expected to be of wide interest to readers. Such papers may or may not contain strictly original material. All papers are refereed. The journal has an Editor-in-Chief who is responsible for ensuring its content and quality.  For the review process he is supported by an editorial board of circa 30 eminent official statisticians and for the strategy of the Journal by a small Advisory Board The journal should publish papers of wide interest to both users and producers of official statistics. The journal should encourage papers with a focus on the basic principles for official statistics covering areas such as the importance of applying the best scientific methods, the need for statistical independence, balancing the needs of users with the burden on respondents, the continuing challenges around confidentiality, and the growing need for consistency and coherence across statistical domains and over time and for international comparability

SJIAOS Access for IAOS Members

IAOS members have unlimited online access to all the articles in the SJIAOS, including previous issues. Staff from International Organizations that are institutional members of the ISI/IAOS can be a member of IAOS and have free access to the Journal for an annual fee of 10 euros.

Members are asked to register themselves at IOS Press (go to the register tab) and once done, to send an email to Ms. Kim Willems (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). She will activate your complimentary access upon receiving your email.

For more information contact Margaret de Ruiter-Molloy at the ISI membership office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Latest issues

Links to the still open discussions:

September Issue 2022

June Issue 2022

March Issue 2022 

December Issue 2021

September Issue 2021