Promoting the Development of International Statistics: Standards and Priorities
Angela Me
Statistics and Surveys Section, United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs, Vienna, Austria

International statistics is evolving from a book-keeping operation to a substantive area of research and innovation. While the core statistical functions of international organizations remain those of 50 years ago -data collection and dissemination, technical support to countries and development of methodology- the role played by international organizations in addressing these three areas is becoming more demanding.

In the past, statistics disseminated at international level focused mainly on raw data for a specialized audience. Today international statistics are increasingly providing knowledge to shape policy making at different levels.

Assisting countries in their statistical programmes requires higher standards as countries have reached advanced level of statistical development and need more specialized and up-to-date support.

Concerning methodology, more problems are becoming of a global nature requiring the development of statistical standards where international organizations are more proactive in identifying emerging issues and take a more active role in measuring transnational and global phenomena that cannot be described by single countries alone.

In order to address the new challenges and continuing to perform their three main statistical functions, international organizations require a specialized statistical work force. Some of the statistical skills and knowledge needed at international level may be similar to those in national statistical offices and research institutions, but there is also a unique expertise that international statisticians require embracing substantial knowledge and procedural abilities. The first includes the mastering of statistical techniques to handle global heterogenic statistical series, the ability to adopt and implement statistical standards in the context of different levels of capacity, and the capacity to link data from different countries to describe phenomena of transnational nature such as migration, environment, and organized crime. The second requires the ability to engage with national statistical institutions to develop a strong partnership built on mutual respect.

The combination of these professional expertises brings together international statisticians.

Keywords: International statistics; International statisticians

Biography: Angela Me is currently the chief of the UNODC Statistics and Surveys Section. Her current responsibilities include: i) the collection, analysis and dissemination of drug and crime statistics, ii) support to countries in their efforts to collect drug and crime data, and iii) the development of international standards in the field of crime and drug statistics. Before joining UNODC Ms. Me worked for in other international organizations, the United Nations Statistics Division and the UN Economic Commission for Europe. Ms. Me has written a number of papers, contributed to publications and made presentations in several meetings where she provided inputs on a wide rage of issues related to social and demographic statistics. Ms. Me holds a Ph.D in Statistics from the University of Padua (Italy) and a Master in Statistics and Demography from the same University.