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 About DISA

The Database of International Statistical Activities (DISA) lists the activities of over 30 statistical organizations active in the UNECE region. Updated every year, DISA is a coherent catalogue of planned work in international statistics over the coming year.  
Informal Economy
Ongoing work:

• A manual on the informal sector and informal employment entitled “Measuring informality: a statistical manual on the informal sector and informal employment” has been finalised in 2012.  It is a technical guide being prepared by the Department of Statistics, in cooperation with the Delhi Group on Informal Sector Statistics and with financial support by the Government of India. It is expected that this will boost national measurement of informality according to international standards and recommendations. It is also expected that this will increase opportunities for technical assistance to countries whose surveys do not currently enable them to apply the recommendations of the fifteenth and seventeenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

• The Manual on Informality is a technical and operational guide for National Statistical Offices and other Institutions interested in producing statistics of the informal sector and informal employment. It presents the current international standards, namely the resolution regarding the measurement of the informal sector, adopted by the 15th International Conference of Labour Statisticians in 1993, and the guidelines regarding the measurement of informal employment, endorsed by the 17th International Conference of Labour Statisticians in 2003. Each of the standards is explained thoroughly and additional guidelines for adequate interpretation and implementation are also provided.

• The manual also presents best practices regarding the measurement of these concepts using three types of measurement methodologies, namely household-based surveys, mixed household and enterprise surveys, and establishment-based surveys. Since the adoption of the international standards, a number of countries has implemented them using one, two or the three types of methodologies. The manual describes each of these methodologies based on the experiences gained at the national level and compares their qualities and limitations. The manual stresses that no one of these methodologies is better than the other, but rather, they complement each other. The choice of using one or another methodology will depend on data requirements, financial possibilities and the statistical infrastructure in the country. The manual provides a selected set of survey questionnaires for each of these methodologies which are meant to serve as illustrations of national practices for countries wishing to start or improve a programme of statistics on the informal sector and informal employment.

• The manual also provides guidance on dissemination strategies, the calculation of indicators, the tabulation of statistics, and on the integration of statistics on the informal sector in national accounts.

• The Manual was prepared by national and international experts, members of the Expert Group on Informal Sector Statistics (Delhi Group), of the global networking women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) and of the Department of Statistics of the International Labour Office. It benefitted from contributions of national experts from countries as diverse as Mexico, India, Mauritius and South Africa.

• Since the adoption of the statistical standards on informality, the ILO Department of Statistics has been active in providing assistance to countries on the measurement of employment in the informal sector and on informal employment, using labour force surveys as the measurement methodology.  Assistance has been provided in the form of regional training workshops or directly in the countries. Countries in all regions have been covered, and have included, Albania from the ECE region. The ILO Department of Statistics is planning to strengthen the capacity of national statistical offices to collect information on the informal sector using area-based establishment surveys or mixed surveys.

• In collaboration with WIEGO, the ILO published in 2012 an update of the publication Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture. The publication presents the latest available national data on informal employment and informal sector employment as well as newly revised regional estimates.

Employment, Unemployment and Underemployment
Ongoing work:

• The ILO will continue its methodological work to review and update the international standards on statistics of the economically active population, employment, unemployment and underemployment, including the development of measures of labour underutilization. The updated draft standards will be presented at the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in October 2013 for discussion and possible adoption.

• A Tripartite Meeting of Experts, to be held in Geneva on 27 January – 1 February 2013, will discuss and make recommendations on proposals to update the international standards of statistics of the economically active population, employment, unemployment and underemployment with a view to advise the Office on its preparation of revised draft standards for submission to the 19th ICLS.

• In collaboration with interested countries, in 2013, the ILO will carry out pilot tests to assess the operational implementation of some of the proposals to update the international standards on statistics of the economically active population, employment, unemployment and underemployment.

Household surveys
Ongoing work:

• The ILO will continue its methodological work to develop a modular core set of model labour force survey materials based on international standards and best practices. The materials aim to serve as guiding tools for countries and practitioners' working in the design and/or review of labour force surveys or labour force modules for attachment to multipurpose household surveys.

• The methodological information of national labour force or other household-based surveys around the world has been updated as a key starting point for reform of the technical advice and support provided to countries to facilitate the production of better-quality labour statistics. Over 170 surveys from about 160 countries are described, at

• Training and technical assistance will continue to be provided, giving emphasis on

Direct technical assistance:

• The ILO will continue to provide technical assistance to countries with the design, implementation and/or review of national labour force surveys.


• Developmental work is under way to produce statistics on cooperatives in collaboration with COOP. Measurement of cooperatives will be recommended in ongoing technical assistance to countries.