Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Statistics • COVID-19 response

COVID-19 response

This website provides a space for the global statistical community to share guidance, actions, tools and best practices to ensure the operational continuity of data programmes by National Statistical Offices, and to address issues of open and timely access to critical data needed by governments and all sectors of society to respond to the global COVID-19 crisis.

Ensuring continuity

Rapid adaptation of data collection, processing and dissemination methods to ensure continuity of key statistical programmes.
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Working remotely

Guidance and possible approaches to address managerial and IT challenges for operational continuity during the emergency situation.
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Data solutions

Guidance and possible approaches for the production of timely data to monitor the evolution and impacts of COVID-19.
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Open data

Resources to support and encourage national statistical offices and other data producers to leverage and use open data.
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Useful links

Initiatives and resources provided by agencies of the UN system and beyond, including the regional economic and social commissions and stakeholders from private sector, academia, and civil society.
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Share experiences

Online webinars and twitter chats to share knowledge and experience on how the statsitical system can respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
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The global COVID-19 crisis is affecting critical operations across the entire global statistical system. National and international statistical organizations need to take immediate action to ensure the continuity of key statistical compilation activities and the continued availability of data to inform emergency mitigation actions by governments and all sectors of society.

Senior management in statistical organizations are working together with their own front-line managers and IT teams, and with partners at the national and global levels, to deal with the current emergency. This includes:

  • Establishing new procedures and workflows, collaborating in virtual teams, and implementing secure remote data access and data exchange capabilities for staff members of National Statistical Offices, providers of data inputs and the users of statistical outputs to remain effectively linked together throughout the statistical value chain.
  • Adapting and innovating data production methods and processes to ensure continuity of major official statistical programmes
  • Addressing the increased need for data openness and accessibility to meet the urgent demand for reliable and accurate information on the spreading and impact of the virus as well as its impact on people's lives and all sectors of the economy.

Stakeholders from across the global statistical community are ready to support National Statistical Offices to address multiple challenges of the current crisis. As part of this effort, the United Nations Statistics Division is leading a collaborative effort with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and Open Data Watch, to develop this website to share guidance, best practices, information resources and tools to help statistical organizations function during an emergency situation in which most of their staff is suddenly unable to work on-site.

Latest posts

Rapidly innovating to produce timely data on violence against women

While we just celebrated International Women's day, we recognize that women continue to face many inequalities and challenges – including rising violence. A recent report by UN Women produced new survey data confirming the "shadow pandemic" that is violence against women (VAW). In a conversation with Jessamyn O. Encarnacion, who is the Inter-Regional Advisor on Gender Statistics at UN Women, we find more about how innovations have helped produce the numbers behind this report.

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Survey on the Implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data

In recent years and in multiple fora, governments around the world have recognized that all countries need to have accessible, timely, and reliable disaggregated data to measure progress and ensure no one is left behind in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. There is also a global consensus on the need to intensify efforts to transform statistical capacities in poorer countries.

Keeping Labour Data Flowing during COVID - What did We Learn? A Conversation with Kieran Walsh, Senior Statistician, ILO Department of Statistics about the ILO Global Survey with National Statistical Offices

The ILO Department of Statistics recently published a report on a global survey with national statistical offices on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on labour force surveys and dissemination of labour market statistics. We have the pleasure to have a conversation with Mr. Kieran Walsh for some insights about the report and how it informs the work programme of ILO in the future.

European Statistical Recovery Dashboard

In December 2020, Eurostat launched the European Statistical Recovery Dashboard, which is updated every month and contains monthly and quarterly statistical indicators relevant for tracking the economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

National statistical offices still face disruptions and challenges as they adapt to a “new normal”

When the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out, national statistical offices (NSOs) around the world acted to suspend face-to-face interviews and asked staff to work from home, even though many lacked adequate technology for remote work.

Surviving the COVID stress test: the leading experience of KOSTAT

South Korea’s success in combating COVID-19 certainly has many lessons to offer to the rest of the world, so has its national statistical system. When the first shock of COVID-19 hit the country between early March to mid-April in 2020, Statistics Korea (KOSTAT) was at its busiest time preparing for a number of household surveys such as the household finances and living conditions survey and employment survey.

Ensuring continuity in survey operations while mitigating risk of COVID-19 transmission: new guidance available

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a major challenge for household survey programs, as the health risks posed by the virus and associated restrictions disrupted traditional face-to-face survey operations in many countries. According to a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on national statistical offices conducted by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the World Bank in May 2020, 96 percent of National Statistical Offices (NSOs) had partially or fully stopped face-to-face data collection.

Dealing with disruption: National statistical offices are adjusting to continued challenges as COVID-19 keeps affecting their operations

As various global restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic continue, so do disruptions to the operations of National Statistical Offices. This comes at a time when data remain key to inform evidence-based policymaking that addresses the manifold public health, economic, and social challenges countries face.

Survey of National Statistical Offices during COVID-19

The World Bank and the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD), in coordination with the five UN Regional Commissions, are conducting a global online survey to assess the impact of the coronavirus crisis on statistical offices, and to identify needs for financial and technical support.

Coping with the pandemic crisis: what do national statistical offices need the most?

The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage countries across the world taking a heavy toll, with more than 25 million cases and over 750,000 deaths globally as of this writing. Most countries are still under some restrictions to limit the spread of the virus and continue to operate in emergency mode. National statistical systems also continue to face tremendous challenges as a result of the crisis at a time when data are more urgently needed than ever to inform critical interventions to save lives, restart the economy and address the long-term impact of the pandemic.