Who Influences whom in the policy arena? Statisticians seek greater voice

A common theme that ran through the 50th Session of the UN Statistical Commission, March 2019, was the often tense interface between data and policy-making and the asymmetrical power dynamics that shape it. This was evident in the several reports submitted for consideration by the Commission. One from the UN Statistics Division (UNSD) reported on the federated system of data hubs, designed to integrate new data sources into a platform which is accessible to National Statistics Offices (NSOs) and creates comparable data among users. Another was a proposal by the High-Level Group for Partnership, Cooperation, and Capacity Building for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for a UN Chief Statistician to enhance the voice of statistics in UN policy processes.

The Commission also took stock of the state of indicators to measure progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aware that 2020, one year away, will be the opportunity to reopen the Global Indicator Framework. The indicator framework was accepted on a provisional basis by the Commission. While refinements would continue to be made as the technical work progressed, more serious revisions such as the addition or subtraction of an indicator or indicators will be taken up by the Commission in 2020.