Mr. Schweinfest began with a short introduction and commentary on a variety of topics. He wants to urge the General Assembly and the Statistics Commission to communicate effectively. The statistical and political sides must discuss what either side is and is not willing to do for the purpose of indicators. When the statisticians recommend an indicator, they will be sure of its capability. The only indicators to be shared are those that have been checked many times. For newer indicators, statisticians need assurance that their preliminary data will not be taken seriously.
Mr. Nasir asked what the procedure is for each agenda item. Mr. Schweinfest said that the chair would discourage national experiences because they would not be conducive to decision. Some form of preliminary list will be available in March but there are still a lot of people who are unhappy with how quickly the request came in. Most chief statisticians do not think they can do it within that time. It is likely that the indicators discussed will be those already agreed upon in the Millennium Development Goals in 2000. There will also be a ranking of proposed indicators.
The Representative from the UK asked what ratings were trying to measure and (1) Whether an indicator is meaningful; (2) What is the methodology; and (3) specificity–whether statisticians feel comfortable with the way is it presented. Schweinfest said that the plan was to take more time to talk to leaders in specific sectors. He wants to see separation in the political and the technical realms. Statisticians need to measure time series and hold methodologies constant for 10 years, as it takes time to come up with new data.
The items for discussion at the 46th session of the Statistical Commission are highlighted on their website unstats.un.org under “Report of the Friends of the Chair on Broader Measures of Progress.”
Meeting: General Assembly; Statistical Commission Briefing
Date &Location: 25 February 2015, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Stephan Schweinfest, Director of Statistics Division. Mr. Nasir, Mission of Afghanistan. Representative from the United Kingdom
Written By WIT Representative: James Victory
Edited By WIT Representative: Philip Bracey