John Pullinger was nominated by commission members to chair the meeting, which consisted of more than 500 delegates representing 24 countries.
The UN Statistical Commission is the global centre for statistical information; the ‘apex entity of the global statistical system’. It sets the standards and methodology for measuring economic, social and environmental matters and every year it brings together the chief statisticians from member states from around the world to meet and discuss these issues over four days. One of its key functions in recent years has been overseeing the Millennium Development Goal Indicators, which were committed to by 189 nations in 2000 and ran until 2015.
The session this year comprised six meetings, plus a high level forum on official statistics and the data revolution. Key themes at this particular session, titled ‘Better data, better lives’, included recommendations for a new post-2015 development agenda; how to utilise big data to help official statistics across the world; how to improve censuses; international standards for measuring the economy and trade in a globalised world; and accounting for environmental change.
John blogged about his experience chairing the session on the Civil Service Leaders website; he recalls the most challenging issue of all was regarding statistics on governance, peace and security. In some countries, John said, people were ‘glued to their TV screens to hear our deliberations’.
The whole of the 46th session of the UN Statistical Commission is available to watch on UN Web TV.