third quarter of 2000 saw the Statistical
Institute for Asia and the Pacific holding
its sixth Governing Board and celebrating
thirty years of activity.
Far from being aged,
the Institute has served as a major centre
for statistical training of ESCAP countries.
Its activities include a wide range of
courses and are constantly adjusted to
better meet the needs of the ESCAP region.
Inside there is
a concise coverage of the sixth Governing
Board session, with a link to the Institute's
web site for those who wish to be kept
updated about its activities.
The heads of the
national statistical offices of East Asian
countries met in Japan and shared their
views about the development of official
statistics in their countries. The discussion
threw up useful ideas for other ESCAP
In September, ESCAP
organized a training workshop on one of
the most important statistical topics
for our region: the measurement of paid
and unpaid work, which dealt not only
with methodology but also with advocacy
and the implementation of national policies.
In the section "Conferences
/ training opportunities / other news",
information on significant events in the
statistical field is selected for our
readers: of particular importance is the
next session of the International Statistical
Institute that will be held in Seoul in
2001. The Korean National Statistical
Office has set up a web site to inform
all interested persons about the schedules,
scientific programmes and so forth.
A last word to remind
our readers of the upcoming twelfth session
of the Committee on Statistics, which
will be held in Bangkok from 29 November
to 1 December. Visit our web site to find
In Tokyo, the Statistical Institute for Asia and
the Pacific celebrates 30 years of activity and
holds the sixth session of its Governing Board.
The Statistical Institute for
Asia and the Pacific (SIAP) held its Governing
Board's sixth session from 29 to 30 August 2000.
The celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of
its activities preceded the session and took place
on 28 August, at the conclusion of a seminar on
the evolution of official statistics.
The ESCAP Commission elected the new Governing Board of SIAP, whose duration is for the five-year term 2000-2005, in June 2000. The Governing Board currently comprises Japan, as host government, Australia, China, Fiji, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Thailand.
The Governing Board took note of actions taken to address training requirements in social statistics. It was informed that, in order to realign training programmes with needed capability building in the field of monitoring social development targets established at various ministerial meetings and United Nations conferences, SIAP's annual 6-month course has had one of its three modules dedicated to social statistics. The Governing Board was informed that the module emphasis was on definitions, concepts, issues, data requirements and production, related to the fields of gender, environment, education, health and disability. The Governing Board also heard with interest about actions undertaken to enable participants of SIAP courses to evaluate the quality of the courses themselves.
The Director of SIAP, Mr. Lau Kak En, informed the Governing Board about completed as well as ongoing activities of the Institute, and also about future developments.
The training programmes of SIAP cover several fields of statistics, from Core Official Statistics in its 6-month modular course to Statistical Computing for Trainers, Analysis and Interpretation of Statistics. The Institute had also organized several custom-tailored courses, in collaboration with national statistical offices. Information was also provided to the Board on the internationally funded courses and the National Human Development Report (NHDR)-oriented courses, funded under a project with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
After discussion, the Board agreed that the current modular system should be continued with for the 6-month course. The exeperience with the 2000 course should, however, be carefully evaluated so as to fine tune the delivery of the course starting October 2001.
Distance learning was also discussed with interest. One of the greatest challenges of SIAP is to reach an estimated number of 6,000 potential trainees, it was reported. Although the Institute moved into new facilities in November 1999 and continuous financial and in kind support is granted by Japan, the current training arrangements can serve just a portion of the potential number of trainees, thus new ways of conveying training must be explored. The Institute has therefore proposed a plan for implementing distance learning over the Internet, taking into full account the new possibilities offered by modern information technologies. The plan is to test the selected educational approaches and the initially developed training materials between July 2001 and February 2002.
Another new modality of training activities was the provision of research fellowships for senior official statisticians of the region, for up to two months of research at the Institute's premises. For this year the number of fellowships was tentatively fixed at five. It was explained that national statistical offices would have a nominating role for their officials, and so direct applications by potential candidates would not be processed by SIAP.
Information on SIAP and its training activities is available at http://www1.kcom.ne.jp/~unsiap/ where the full report of sixth session of the Governing Board is also available.
The Ninth Meeting of the Heads of National Statistical
Offices of East Asian Countries discusses emerging
issues in official statistics and inaugurates the
first Asian Statistical Forum
The history of the Meeting
of the Heads of National Statistical Offices of
East Asian Countries dates back to 1980, when
it was initiated as the Meeting of the Heads of
National Statistical Offices of ASEAN Countries
The Meeting aims at promoting development of official statistics of its members, through informal exchanges of experiences and ideas among the heads of national statistical offices. Since its initiation, the Meeting has been held about every two years. The title of the Meeting was changed to the present one in 1992, when the Republic of Korea and China began to participate.
The Meeting was held from 23 to 25 August 2000, in Gotenba, Japan.
The Meeting of the Heads of National Statistical Offices of East Asian Countries provided a convenient opportunity, given the presence of many chief statisticians, to organize the Asian Statistical Forum. This followed the agreement, reached at the International Statistical Forum (hosted by the National Statistical Office of Korea in Taejon, Republic of Korea, in September 1999) to hold a forum for official and academic statisticians to exchange views and ideas on various matters connected with official statistics.
The overall theme of the Ninth Meeting was "Emerging Issues in National Statistical Systems in a Period of Uncertainty and Rapid Changes", with an emphasis on the following three subjects:
Coping with the changing
environment for data collection
Many countries seem to be facing new problems
of data collection. For instance, it is felt
that people are less willing to respond to the
censuses and surveys of the government, and
that field enumeration is getting more and more
costly to implement. In that regard, national
statistical offices must ask themselves how
they will manage to collect the necessary data
through censuses and surveys, or what new approaches
to data collection can be taken.
Measurement of rapid
As a result of rapid economic and social changes,
there are new and important issues that countries
have to address. For example, in most countries,
the digital economy based on advanced information
technology is emerging, and how to capture its
trends and its social and economic impact through
official statistics seems to be an important
Another example is the status of income distribution
and poverty, and the impact on income inequality
of deregulation and globalization. How to better
measure the distribution of income and the poverty
situation is an important issue for some countries.
Furthermore, in the last decade, many countries
faced volatile economic changes, for which official
statistics were often not well prepared. How
official statistics can cope with rapid change
and keep track of new economic and social trends
was another topic under discussion.
Relevance and quality
of official statistics In a period of rapid changes, reliable and relevant
official statistics are needed to grasp the
current situation and to support decision-making.
But as recent economic situations can be so
volatile and unpredictable, official statistics
are sometimes blamed for not providing an accurate
picture of the current economic conditions.
In this sense, the relevance and quality of
official statistics have been questioned in
some countries. The discussion therefore was
centred on how these vital attributes could
Under the umbrella of the Asian Statistical Forum, the discussion was addressed more towards issues concerning statistical training and education, especially given the contributions of the academics present. The theme of the "information society" was also touched on.
Workshop on Statistical Aspects of Integrating
Unpaid Work into National Policies, Bangkok, 11-15
The workshop was held from 11
to 15 September 2000 and was organized by ESCAP
under the component on Integrating Unpaid Work
into National Policies of project RAS/97/001,
Promoting Gender Equality in the Asia Pacific
Mr. Andrew J Flatt, Director of the ESCAP Statistics Division, recalled the need for data in order to formulate effective policies regarding unpaid work. Time use surveys were probably the best currently available tool at the disposal of statisticians for collecting data on unpaid work. He noted that data on unpaid work from countries in the ESCAP region (those that have carried out time use surveys) have showed that most of the unpaid work was performed by women. As a consequence, women tended to have less time to engage in skill enhancing activities like formal education and career-related training.
The Workshop was organized into three modules:
Policy Formulation and Analysis;
Communication and Advocacy.
In addition, the participants presented several country papers.
Module 1: Situational Analysis
The situational analysis module was designed to train the participants to process, analyse and interpret statistics related to gender issues with particular emphasis on paid and unpaid work and their interrelationship with other quantitative and non-quantitative information in the country. While the focus was unpaid work, the resulting analysis was based on the framework of socio-economic development. The topics included:
Social and political profile of the country;
Economic status: GDP, household income and expenditure, etc.;
Time use survey analysis and valuation techniques;
The emphasis of the discussions
was on the meaning of statistics, the derivation
of relevant indicators for analysis, the interpretation
of these statistics/indicators within the context
of the socio-cultural and political situation
in the country and how their interpretation leads
to identification of problems and issues related
to unpaid work, within the framework of the Beijing
Platform and the CEDAW.
The country participants undertook
the situational analysis on unpaid work and related
concerns using the country data. They identified
the issues and problems on unpaid work and the
underlying factors. They also attempted to value
the time used on unpaid work based on their various
respective approaches. The output of the group
exercise was presented for discussion with the
aim of getting consensus on methods and common
The output consisted of the
Issues and problems
related to unpaid work (supported by statistics);
Time use studies and
valuation of unpaid work;
of situational analysis;
Gaps in statistics
and non-statistical information.
Module 2 - Policy Formulation
The module was designed to improve
the competence of technical staff in formulating
policy recommendations to address issues on unpaid
work. It also included identification of resources
to support the implementation of the policies.
The examples used in the module were based on
the issues and problems identified in the first
module. Prior to the identification of policy
recommendation, the participants reviewed and
analysed existing policies and programmes related
to unpaid work.
Where there were gaps, new
policies had to be identified and recommended.
The module covered the following topics:
CEDAW and the Beijing
Platform for Action and their implications
for gender issues in the countries;
Basic principles in
policy formulation and analysis;
The group exercise on policy formulation
and analysis covered the following:
Review of existing policies
and programmes related to unpaid work;
Identification of problems
in implementation of existing policies, and
Formulation of policies
and implementation guidelines:
Types of policy,
elements of policy: lead agency, partner
agencies, level of implementation, etc.,
Resources and implementation
guidelines of policies,
Formulation of implementation
strategies of policy recommendations.
The output consisted of:
An assessment of current
policies related to unpaid work;
and their priority for implementation;
Policy guidelines and
Strategies of implementation.
Module 3 - Communication
The objective of this module
was to improve the competence of statisticians
in presenting statistics for various purposes
and audiences and to further sharpen the skills
of planners and other technical staff in policy
offices in formulating policy recommendations
and in effectively communicating them to decision-makers
and other stakeholders.
The following topics were
included in the module:
Basic principles of
Identification of target
groups, and actions desired;
Packaging of messages
for various purposes and target audiences;
Packaging of statistics
for various purposes and target audiences.
The group exercise included the following
rioritization of policy
Identification of stakeholders
and decision makers;
Guidelines for Statistical Metadata on the Internet: Statistical standards and studies No. 52 by the United Nations Statistical Commission / Economic Commission for Europe - Conference of European Statisticians
The "Guidelines for Statistical Metadata on the Internet" were prepared by Statistics Norway with the assistance of a working group composed of Canada, United States of America, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Eurostat, OECD, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) secretariat. They were issued in July 2000.
The Guidelines are of utmost importance given the greater use of the Internet for dissemination of statistical data, by national and international organizations.
The provision of statistical information through the Internet has the potential to reach a much wider audience than the usual group of experts and experienced statisticians that have access to the more traditional publications on international statistics. Thus, with the wider audience, the number of users who would more easily misuse or misinterpret the statistics provided through the Internet is likely to increase.
Metadata refer to all the supplementary information, supplied together with statistical data, which should help the user in better understanding and using the statistical data themselves.
Metadata should assist the user in searching for statistical information, interpreting its content and, after being downloaded from the Internet, they should help in the post-processing statistical applications.
The Guidelines are very concise and they identify and explain in a few pages those metadata that should ideally be provided when statistical data are disseminated through the Internet.
The Guidelines for Statistical Metadata on the Internet (Sales No. E.00.II.E.10, ISBN 92-1-116750-7) is available from the United Nations Sales Section at New York or Geneva, but it is also expected to be made available in future at the following Web address: http://www.unece.org/stats/publ.e.htm.
The Philippine Statistical Development Program 1999-2004 sets the way for national development in the field of statistics
The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) of the Philippines has formulated the Philippine Statistical Development Program for 1999-2004.
Philippines is not the only country in Asia and the Pacific that publishes such a document, there are in fact good examples from other countries of the region where plans for development at the national level are made public.
Development plans, such as that offered by the NSCB, are very valuable tools for both national or international statistical players.
At national level, in fact, the plan provides a clear description of the various entities involved with the development of statistical services. The first pages of the document show the process of adoption of the plan, and how statistical legislation is implemented within the country.
An executive summary then provides a concise explanation of the plan, for the sake of policy-makers and high-level users of official statistics in the country. There it is possible to have the framework and the strategies and programmes briefly outlined at a glance.
The core of the document consists of several tables where the individual programmes are tabulated with reference to the:
Title of the programme/project,
Key Results Area (KRA) addressed,
Brief description of the programme/project,
Lead/Implementing agency, and
Period of implementation.
Such a document is very useful also at international level. Its structure might well be used by other countries which are in the process of formalizing such plans. International organizations would also benefit from knowing what the expressed needs of countries are, for addressing and channelling their own development plans and, ultimately, servicing more efficiently international and regional needs.
The annex of the document contains a useful presentation of the Philippines Statistical System together with the composition of technical working groups on specific statistical areas.
New Government Statistician
appointed in New Zealand
Mr. Brian Pink was appointed
as New Zealand Government Statistician and chief
executive of Statistics New Zealand on 16 October
He replaced Mr. Len Cook, who was recently appointed National Statistician in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Pink comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. He has an extensive background in economic statistics and considerable managerial experience.
We wish every success to Mr. Pink in this new, challenging endeavour.
The Inter-secretariat Working
Group on Price Statistics seeks feedback on the
compilation of the new ILO Manual on Consumer
Based on the recommendation
of the Joint Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)/International
Labour Organization (ILO) meeting on Consumer
Price Indexes (CPI) and at the invitation of the
ILO Bureau of Statistics, the Inter-secretariat
Working Group on Price Statistics (IWGPS) was
established at the end of September 1998. The
IWGPS has been set up to coordinate the efforts
and expertise of the major organizations concerned
with prices, with the aim of successfully revising
the international standards on prices, in particular
the ILO Manual on CPI.
The responsibility for this project is shared by the ILO, ECE, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Eurostat and the United Nations Statistics Division, but it remains open to all interested and committed organizations.
In February 1999 the IWGPS decided to set up a Technical Expert Group on CPI to facilitate the revision of the CPI manual. This group is liasing closely with the Ottawa City Group on Prices.
Given the importance of the CPI, both as an economic indicator providing timely information on the trend in prices paid by consumers and as a measure used extensively for indexation, it is not surprising that measurement issues regarding the CPI have gained substantial attention over the years. In order to provide more reliable, complete and comparable price statistics, there is now a raised awareness of the need to review:
the formulae utilised;
the frequency, comprehensiveness and quality of household surveys;
the procedures for quality adjustment, introduction of new goods and new outlets;
the usage of probability sampling methods;
the use of a single index to serve various objectives;
the demand for sub-population indixes.
A revision of the ILO manual is therefore required to incorporate these new developments, to remove those parts that have turned out to be less useful and to provide more relevant concepts and measurements in connection with price behaviour.
The work will affect the compilation of both consumer (CPI) and producer (PPI) price indexes. A first draft of the CPI Manual is expected to be ready around the Spring of 2001, while a draft of a PPI manual should be available by Summer 2001.Information about the activities of the Inter-secretariat Working Group on Price Statistics can be found on the ILO's web site at http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/guides/cpi/, where first drafts of the Manuals are also available.
The ILO Bureau of Statistics welcomes comments and suggestions on the draft outline and available chapters from as wide an audience as possible, including international organizations, international forums and working parties, and national statistical offices. In particular comments are sought on:
the coverage of the Manual;
its applicability to a wide variety of countries and situations;
its presentation of emerging issues in CPI compilation; and
the overall structure of the Manual.
Comments should be sent to:
International Labour Office Bureau of Statistics CH-1211 Geneva 22 Switzerland Fax. No +41 22 799 6957 Tel. No. +41 22 799 6433 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Progress on informal sector
statistics, and the upcoming release of the Handbook
for Measurement of the Non-Observed Economy
The twelfth session of the ESCAP
Committee on Statistics will provide an important
opportunity for countries of the region to review
work on informal sector statistics. The Committee
will also discuss the outcome of the Expert Group
on Informal Sector Statistics (the Delhi Group),
which held its fourth meeting in Geneva, from
28 to 30 August 2000. The agenda covered the following
results of surveys on
the informal sector conducted by different
countries - advantages and limitations of
different methods and survey designs for the
development of strategies
to address sampling frame and weighting issues;
methodology for developing
more accurate measures of value added;
estimation of the contribution
of the informal sector to GDP on a regular
The meeting also discussed a tentative date for its next meeting, tentatively scheduled for September 2001. The venue is still to be finalized, but it was understood that it might be Brazil or Thailand (Chiang Mai or Bangkok).
We invite readers to visit, from time to time, the group's web site, at http://www.statisticsindia.gov.in, where the report and the papers of this fourth meeting as well as information on future activities should be posted in the near future.
Of particular relevance is the recommendation for countries to include the variable "place of work" in their labour force and informal sector surveys, therefore an appropriate typology of "place of work" should be developed in future.
Interesting information emerging from the Delhi Group meeting concerned the preparation of a Handbook for Measurement of the Non-Observed Economy (underground, informal and illegal activities) undertaken by a group of international and national organizations led by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The outline of the Handbook was presented to the Group.
A preliminary draft version of the Handbook is being discussed at the Workshop on the Non-Observed Economy, jointly organized by the OECD, Eurostat and the Russian Federation State Statistical Committee from 16 to 20 October 2000 in Sochi, Russian Federation. The list of papers of that meeting is available at http://www.oecd.org/std/DNM/Meetings/RfnoeOct2000.htm.
The draft version of the Handbook will be widely distributed for comments in early 2001 and the final version is expected to be published by OECD in mid 2001.
ISI 53, in Seoul: the forthcoming
session of the International Statistical Institute
to be held in 2001 in the Republic of Korea
The web site http://www.nso.go.kr/isi2001/
contains everything you need to update yourself
with the latest news about the 53rd session of
the International Statistical Institute (ISI).
The site features useful information from general information to all the various themes of the scientific programme of the event.
Deadlines are given for those authors wishing to contribute papers (paper submission forms are available in various formats), along with the topics and the moderators for the invited paper meetings, with several names from the ESCAP region.
Several satellite meetings, covering quite a range of fields of statistics, will be held in conjunction with the ISI session, not only in the Republic of Korea, but also in Japan. Training and short courses are also organized together with the session.
Should you require printed information about the 53rd session of the ISI, please contact
Executive Secretariat Bong-Ho Choi Director of International Affairs Division National Statistical Office 920 Dunsan-dong, So-gu Taejon 302-701, Korea Tel: +82-42-481-2095, 472-2615 Fax: +82-42-481-2465 http://www.nso.go.kr/isi2001 E-mail: email@example.com
released by the Statistics Division
for Asia and the Pacific, Volume XXX, No.2,
Mr. Shafeek I. Saleeb,
Inter-Regional Adviser on Computers and Informatics,
United Nations Statistics Division, New York
Mr. Martin Dyble,
Statistics Adviser, Asia, Department for International
Development, United Kingdom
Mr. Norman D. Sanders,
Jr., Chief Information Officer, United
Nations Office for Project Services
Missions of ESCAP Statistics Division Staff
Mr. Andrew J. Flatt,
Director, Statistics Division, undertook missions
Gotenba and Tokyo (22-31 August): To participate in the Ninth
Meeting of the Heads of National Statistical
Offices (NSOs) of East Asian Countries, the
meeting of the Asian Statistical Forum, and
the SIAP 30th Anniversary Seminar on "Evolution
of official statistics and its impact on Management
and Training in National Statistical Offices"
and to represent ESCAP at the sixth session
of the SIAP Governing Board;
New York and Washington (16-24 September): To participate in the first
meeting of the Statistical Advisory Panel
on UNDP's Human Development Report, and to
represent ESCAP at the thirty-fourth session
of the ACC Subcommittee on Statistical Activities.
Mr. Loh, Meng Kow, Chief, Statistical
Information Services Section, undertook a mission
Geneva (27-31 August):
To participate in the Fourth Meeting of the
Expert Group on Informal Sector Statistics
Ms. Selma Guven, Statistician, Statistics
Development Section, undertook a mission to:
September): To attend the International Workshop
on Environmental and Economic Accounting,
18-22 September 2000, Manila.
Ms. Heidi Arboleda, Regional Adviser
on National Accounts, visited the following
21-22 July): To provide advisory services
on the compilation of financial and government
sector accounts and on the estimation of FISIM;
Papua New Guinea (24 July-4 August): To review the current
compilation of national accounts statistics
and to set the framework for improvement and
migration to the 1993 SNA;
Federated States of
Micronesia (7-18 August): To train the
staff involved in national accounts compilation
and to review the compilation of national
accounts, with particular emphasis on the
data sources and methods;
Nepal (28 August-4
September): To provide advise on the rebasing
and linking of national accounts series and
to assist in the formulation of activities
for the compilation of quarterly GDP, as well
as in finalizing the programme of work for
the 1993 SNA;
Thailand (14 September):
To provide advisory services on the compilation
of financial and government sector accounts
and on the estimation of FISIM;
Manila (17-23 September):
To attend and present a background paper and
act as a moderator in two sessions of the
International Workshop on Environmental and
Mr. Nuri M. Ozsever, ESCAP Adviser on
Population Data Processing and Database Management
with the UNFPA/CST in Bangkok, visited:
Lao People's Democratic
Republic (17-29 July): To organize and
conduct the second phase of the ISSA workshop
for the staff of the National Statistical
Ms. Luisa T. Engracia, ESCAP Adviser
on Population Statistics with the UNFPA/CST
in Kathmandu, visited:
September): To participate and act as resource
person in a workshop on the evaluation of
the 1999 census of population.