UN Organizations Support Recommendations on Statistical Capacities
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The UN Secretary-General has responded to recommendations from the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on strengthening national capacities for statistical data collection and analysis.

In their input on the evaluation, UN organizations support the development of a strategic framework for the next five years, regarding UN system integrated support for national statistical capacity development at the global, regional and country levels.

31 October 2016: The UN Secretary-General has responded to recommendations from the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on strengthening national capacities for statistical data collection and analysis. The JIU issued an evaluation of the contribution of the UN system as a whole on the issue (JIU/REP/2016/5), transmitted as A/71/431 on 4 October 2016.

The evaluation covers the work of 30 UN system entities involved in statistical capacity development at various levels, working in over 100 programme countries. Evaluation findings were generated from: 16 country studies; evaluations and reviews of the UN system at the country level, including UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) evaluations; global and regional evaluations; interviews with key stakeholders; and data from various global data sources, among other data sources.

The JIU recommended a number of strategic actions aimed at strengthening support for national statistical capacity development, with a particular emphasis on the use of statistics to guide decision-making for the achievement of national development goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The evaluation also assesses the use of statistics to support policy development and accountability to civil society. It describes, analyzes and evaluates: the importance and evolving status of national statistical capacity; the role and strategic positioning of the UN system within the context of a larger international effort; the effectiveness and added value of what the UN system has done; and the factors that explain its performance. The report concludes that the strategic positioning of the UN system needs to be strengthened at global, regional and national levels, with greater coordination, coherence and integration being required at the national level.

The Secretary-General welcomes the JIU report, supports its conclusions and accepts all of its recommendations.

In a note based on inputs from UN organizations (A/71/431/Add.1), of 31 October, the Secretary-General welcomes the JIU report, supports its conclusions and accepts all of its recommendations, including that the UN General Assembly (UNGA), in the context of the 2016 quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR), should: make national statistical capacity development a major strategic priority of the UN system entities addressing production, dissemination and use of official statistics, and call on all Member States to redirect the financial resources necessary to support all three areas; reaffirm that the principal goal of UN system support for national statistical capacity development is the use of national statistics for supporting the achievement of national development goals, including the SDGs, and in this regard, request UN system organizations to make all efforts to support achievement of this goal; request the Secretary-General to develop a strategic framework for the next five years regarding UN system integrated support for national statistical capacity development at the global, regional and country levels, setting out the roles and areas of work for entities at all three levels; and recognize that national statistical capacity development is a strategic area of support for all UN country teams, and the role will vary significantly between countries as determined by the national authorities.

Some UN organizations noted that the successful development and implementation of the suggested five-year strategic framework should include: the establishment of clear performance criteria and benchmarks for strengthening national institutional capacity; mechanisms that would facilitate implementation through the various UN agencies; and the provision of adequate resources. They further note that its development should be led by existing coordination mechanisms, such as the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities and the group of UN chief statisticians.

The JIU is the only independent external oversight body of the UN system mandated to conduct evaluations, inspections and investigations system-wide. The QCPR is the UNGA mechanism to assess UN operational activities for development and the functioning of the UN Development System (UNDS), and is conducted every four years. The 2017-2020 QCPR is expected to guide the alignment of the UNDS with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Negotiations on the QCPR are currently taking place at the UN Headquarters, in New York, US. [Evaluation of the contribution of the United Nations development system to strengthening national capacities for statistical analysis and data collection to support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals] [Note by the Secretary-General] [SDG Knowledge Hub Policy Brief on QCPR]

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