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2. Economic Statistics (UNCTAD)
2.4 Sectoral statistics (UNCTAD)
2.4.4 Transport statistics (UNCTAD)
Maritime Transport

Ongoing work:

• Annual data on the world merchandise fleet by flag of registration and type of ship with the latest 2011 data. The statistics are released in the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics, on-line under UNCTADstat, and in the annual Review of Maritime Transport.

• The annual UNCTAD Liner Shipping Connectivity Index, by country with the latest 2011 data. The statistics are released in the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics, on-line under UNCTADstat, and in the annual Review of Maritime Transport.

• Annual data on the world merchandise fleet by country of ownership for the 35 largest vessel-owning countries, included each year in the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport.

• Annual containerized port traffic, by country, included each year in the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport.

• Annual World Seaborne Trade, by country groupings, included each year in the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport.

• Annual and for some time series quarterly data on vessel prices, orders, and demolitions, published annually in the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport.

• On-line port traffic statistics available under UNCTADstat ranging from 2008 to 2010. The data present the total number of containers handled by a port per country.

2.6 International trade and balance of payments (UNCTAD)
Creative Economies statistics

Ongoing work:

•  In 2008, through a joint initiative of the UNCTAD Creative Economy Programme and the Statistics and Information Branch, the UNCTAD Global Database on the Creative Economy was launched and became publicly accessed at and at UNCTADstat The database presented a pioneer work by providing world trade statistics on creative goods and services on the basis of data reported by national sources to the United Nations for the period 1996-2006.  The aim is to provide data for a comprehensive trade analysis with a view to support governments in policy-making and improve market transparency in areas related to the creative economy. This work was widely disseminated through the Creative Economy Report - 2008.

  In 2010, for the policy-oriented analysis provided at the Creative Economy Report - 2010, the methodology was improved and the database updated to cover the period 2002-2008. The statistics cover about 235 products related to heritage, arts, media and functional creations. Statistics were made available as tabular reports, tables and charts. In addition, UNCTAD provides examples of country profiles, and prepared the User Guide of UNCTAD Global Database on Creative Economy to facilitate users to prepare country profiles.  In the most recent Creative Economy Report UNCTAD deepened the analysis of South-South trade and prepared a summary comparison of statistics methodology for creative and cultural goods. Moreover, for the first time, UNCTAD prepared tables and undertook analysis providing an overview of data for MFM applied and bound tariff rates for different creative industries sectors.

•  By the end of 2011, the database was updated to provide trade statistics on creative goods and services up to 2010. Ultimate goal is to have annual data updates.

Foreign Direct Investment

Methodological work:

Participation in the joint working group EUROSTAT "FATS (foreign affiliates statistics)", OECD's Working Group on International Investment Statistics, and IMF Balance of Payments Statistics Committee.

Data collection and processing:

• Continuous update of the FDI database (FDI flows and stocks) and operations of TNCs (activities of foreign affiliates and parent firms). UNCTAD maintains and regularly updates its databases on FDI, activities of TNCs, cross-border M&As and largest TNCs and disseminate the data through its annual report, World Investment Report, and UNCTADstat.

• Collection of FDI flow and stock data in line with internationally agreed recommendations, and dissemination of FDI data, including metadata and related information, through the UNCTAD data extract service.

Technical cooperation:

Two national workshops on FDI statistics were held in 2011, one in Guatemala in February 2011 and the other in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in December 2011. Two regional workshops on FDI data compilation and common reporting system in Latin and Central America were held in 2011, in Peru (March 2011) and Honduras (December 2011). In Peru, the regional workshop on FDI trends and the methodology in collecting data on FDI and TNC activities was conducted in collaboration with six countries in Latin America. In Honduras, the regional workshop was conducted in collaboration with SICA countries (System for the Central American Integration).

Planned activities for 2012:

• UNCTAD Workshop on FDI Trends and the Methodology in Collecting Data on FDI and TNC Activities in Nigeria.
• National Workshop on outward FDI, Saudi Arabia (first quarter of 2012).

International Merchandise Trade Statistics

Ongoing work:

• Preparation of the total merchandise trade statistics of Least Developed Countries that are integrated into the Common Data Set (CDS) which is a joint effort by Eurostat, OECD, UNSD, UNCTAD and WTO to reconcile their time series on merchandise trade statistics, using international standards as a benchmark.
• Updating UNCTAD Merchandise Total Trade and Trade Matrix (complete trade by partner and product containing estimates) twice a year.
• Quarterly updates of UNCTAD volume growth rates.

Methodological work:

• Participation in the Inter-agency Task Force on International Merchandise Trade Statistics (TF-IMTS).
• Calculation of volume, price and terms of trade indices and trade analytical indicators published in the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics and on-line in UNCTADstat.
• Joint work with WTO in the calculation of quarterly volume indices.
• On-going plan to release various trade indicators.

Market Access Information

Ongoing work:

Methodological work:

• Contribution to the development of Common Data Repository for market access data including tariff, non-tariff measures (NTMs) and measures affecting services trade under the Transparency in Trade (TNT) initiatives launched in 2011 by UNCTAD, African Development Bank, ITC and the World Bank.
• Upgrade of WITS software in collaboration with the World Bank.

Data collection and processing:

• Update of the Database on Trade Control Measures covering tariff, Para-tariff and non-tariff measures disseminated in TRAINS (Trade Analysis and Information System).

New activities:

• Preparation of data for the fifth publication of the World Tariff Profile (joint publication with WTO and ITC).


Trade in Services

Ongoing work:

• Updating UNCTAD Trade in Services Statistics (Total trade and by category, annual) twice a year.

Methodological work:

• Participation in the Inter-agency Task Force on Statistics of International Trade in Services (TF-SITS).
• Joint work with WTO in the compilation of quarterly and annual statistics of trade in services.
• Contribution to the work on MSITS Compilation Guides through active participation in Expert Group of SITS.

Data collection and processing:

• In light of the recommendation by UNSC, compilation of foreign affiliate trade in services statistics (FATS).

New activities:

• Implementation of the recommendations of the manual on trade of services.
• Collection of data on the operations of TNCs and foreign affiliates in host economies, including those in the services sector.
• Guidance to developing countries wishing to adopt internationally-agreed recommendations for the compilation of data on the operations of TNCs and their foreign affiliates in the services sector.
• Technical cooperation: In the framework of a MOU signed between UNCTAD and UEMOA, preparation of the regulation and statistical infrastructure needed for the collection and analysis of statistics on exports and imports of services in order to enable member states to define policies that are consistent with their development objectives.

2.7 Prices (UNCTAD)
Commodity Prices

Ongoing work:

• Data collection and processing: Update of the commodity prices database and calculation of price indices, using the year 2000 as base year. Dissemination of the data in UNCTADstat.
• Annual calculation of price instability indices.

Methodological work:

• Plan to update the base year and composition of commodities along with their weight in the calculation of indices.

3. Environment and multi-domain statistics (UNCTAD)
3.3 Multi-domain statistics and indicators (UNCTAD)
3.3.3 Information society (UNCTAD)
ICT Statistics

Ongoing work:

Methodological work:

UNCTAD works in close collaboration with the members of the global Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development (ITU, OECD, UNCTAD, UNEP/SBC, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the World Bank, four UN Regional Commissions (ECA, ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA), UN-DESA and Eurostat). UNCTAD is part of the Steering Committee of the Partnership (with ITU and ECLAC). The Partnership core list of ICT indicators, which was endorsed by the UN Statistical Commission at its 38th session in 2007, was revised during 2008 and was presented to the UNSC in February 2009. A further revision will be presented to the UNSC in February 2012.

The revised version of the UNCTAD Manual for the Production of Statistics on the Information Economy aims to help National Statistical Offices in their production of information economy statistics. It is now available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. The UNCTAD website on ICT measurement ( serves as an online source of information on indicators, data, metadata and methodology.

An international conference on Information Society measurement was organized in July 2010 in Seoul, Korea. It reviewed progress in ICT statistics and discussed emerging subjects such as ICT in education, measuring the social and economic impact of ICT, and ICT in government. For more information, see

Data collection and processing:

Since 2004, UNCTAD has been collecting data from statistical offices in developing countries on the core list of ICT business and ICT sector indicators through an annual questionnaire sent to National Statistical Offices worldwide. Survey results feed the UNCTAD information economy database that comprises official data on business use of ICT in countries, classified by size of enterprise, geographical location (urban/rural), and economic activity. Survey results are also reflected in the analyses published in the annual UNCTAD Information Economy Report (

UNCTAD is also collecting and disseminating data on trade in ICT goods and on the ICT productive sector. Data have been made available online through UNCTADstat and will be updated with more details in 2012. The data are made available here:

Technical cooperation:

UNCTAD carries out capacity building activities on ICT measurement, including the organization of training courses and contribution to regional workshops, often in cooperation with the members of the Partnership, as well as advisory services to NSOs in developing countries. UNCTAD leads the Partnership Task Group on Capacity Building (TGCB) and coordinates capacity building activities of the Partnership members. UNCTAD has conducted regional training courses for Arab countries, and in Asia-Pacific, Latin American and the Caribbean, and Francophone and Anglophone Africa. It also responds to specific bilateral requests for assistance.

Priority objectives beyond 2011:

Fund-raising. Further revision of the Manual for the Production of Statistics on the Information Economy. Continued capacity building on ICT statistics for NSOs, including delivery of the Training Course at the regional level and advisory services at the national level. Methodological work on the measurement of ICT impact and of trade in ICT services. Further dissemination of ICT Core Indicators, including on-line.

New work to be undertaken in 2012:

Further inclusion of information economy statistics in UNCTADstat and the UN Data Portal. Further Capacity building and technical assistance to developing countries in measuring the information economy. In terms of methodological work, UNCTAD is exploring possibilities to launch new work related to the measurement of trade in ICT and ICT-enabled services, preferably in collaboration with other members of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.3.3.4 Globalisation (UNCTAD)
Ongoing work:

• Methodological work: Calculation of indicators to monitor the financial crisis and its impact on the real economy in developing economies and economies in transition. Data are released in UNCTAD flagship reports.

• Participation in the Globalization Session of the Statistical Working Party of the OECD Committee on Industry and Business Environment, in particular, as regards the preparation of the Manual of Economic Globalization Indicators.

• Data collection and processing: continuous update of the TNC database.

New activities:

• Collection of data on the operations of TNCs and their foreign affiliates.

• Guidance to developing countries wishing to adopt internationally agreed recommendations for the compilation of data on the operations of TNCs and their foreign affiliates.

4. Methodology of data collection, processing, dissemination and analysis (UNCTAD)
4.5 Dissemination, data warehousing (UNCTAD)
UNCTAD Statistical Information system (USIS)


The UNCTAD Statistical Information System (USIS) is designed as a tool to validate, store, process and share reference datasets used by the economists of the secretariat and disseminated through the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistic and UNCTADstat on the Internet. Methodologies and procedures used to process statistics and to calculate derived indicators were reviewed accordingly. Sources, concepts, definitions, classifications and processes have been documented and made available to users. Great attention is devoted to the provision of metadata at all levels.
Principle 4 of the 'Principles Governing International Statistical Activities' is a guiding benchmark during the development and implementation of USIS.

Objectives and outputs:

Improvement of the quality and consistency of the statistics prepared and released by UNCTAD. More efficient, secured and documented procedures are used for the compilation, processing, storage and dissemination of statistics. The capacities for the calculations of indicators requiring important IT resources are being improved.

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