Best practices of Belarusian statisticians presented at the 54th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission

The issues of data and indicator development for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, social statistics, household surveys, system of national accounts, international statistical classifications, data quality assurance systems for national statistics were discussed at the 54th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission (United States of America, New York). First Deputy Chairperson of the National Statistical Committee Elena Kukharevich took part in the event as a representative of the Belarusian side.

As part of a review of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group Report on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators (IAEG-SDG), participants learnt about the methodological review of the SDG indicator system and the update of the tiered classification, work on the implementation of the SDMX data and metadata exchange standard, integration of geospatial and statistical data, sustainable tourism.

Presenting the country's position on these issues, Elena Kukharevich expressed her gratitude to the IAEG-SDG members for their work and shared the achievements of Belstat in the development of the national SDG monitoring system. In particular, using the experience of the IAEG-SDG, UN agencies, the National Statistical Office has carried out a national assessment of progress in achieving the SDGs, automated the process of transferring data on SDG indicators to the global level, introduced GIS-technologies into the national statistical practice.

The First Deputy Chairperson of the National Statistical Committee outlined the directions for the development of Belarusian statistics in this area, namely, the development of the national geospatial roadmap and the creation of the information and analytical system "Geostatistics". In her speech Elena Kukharevich emphasized the importance of ensuring the protection of data confidentiality from alternative sources and expressed interest in developing cooperation in this area.

At the same time, the First Deputy Chairperson drew attention to the discrepancies between national data on SDGs and the data published in the UN Stats database for some SDG indicators, as well as to the active work carried out by Belstat to validate the data submitted by custodial agencies to the global level.

Elena Kukharevich expressed gratitude to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) for effective cooperation with Belstat on indicators 2.4.1 "Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture", 2.1.2 "Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population", 12.3.1 "a) Food Loss Index".

Besides the First Deputy Chairperson outlined the work carried out by the Belstat with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on data estimates for indicators 8.4.1 "Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP" and 8.4. 2 "Domestic material consumption (DMC) and DMC per capita, per GDP", and with UNCTAD on indicator 17.3.1 "Additional financial resources mobilized for developing countries from multiple sources".

Under the consideration of the item "Household Surveys" such areas as coordination of efforts, methodology development and outreach in the field of sample survey organisation were discussed.

"Improvement of national household surveys in Belarus is always based on international standards and recommendations in this area" - noted the First Deputy Chairperson. Elena Kukharevich also shared the national approaches to the organisation of sample household surveys and the work on informing and increasing the interest of respondents to the survey.

"International developments in the field of survey integration are of great interest to Belarusian statistics, in particular, the development of systematic approaches and the development of tools for assessing SDG indicators at the level of small territories, as well as the formation of anonymized microdata of sample surveys, which are identified among the priority areas for the next decade," the First Deputy Chairman noted in her speech.

"The application of unified international classifications by countries, development of national classifications on their basis is an important condition for ensuring comparability and relevance of statistical and economic information at international, interstate and national levels," stressed Elena Kukharevich, speaking at the session devoted to the consideration of the report of the Committee of Experts on International Statistical Classifications. She also noted the key role of Belstat in the work on the application of international classifications in statistical practice by state bodies and organisations of the Republic of Belarus.

During the 54th session of the UN Statistical Commission Elena Kukharevich noted that the most important task for Belstat remains to ensure high quality of official statistics. The state statistical authorities constantly carry out comprehensive quality control of the data obtained. To achieve this goal, various tools and methods are used, all the necessary powers for this work are enshrined at the legislative level, the quality management system is functioning.

In her speech while reviewing the report of the Expert Group on National Quality Assurance Elena Kukharevich shared the national experience of using some developments of the Expert Group in building the quality management system of state statistical offices. It is planned to apply the approaches to the evaluation of the whole national statistical system.

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