In recent years, Poland has significantly intensified its involvement in the global statistical system coordinated by the United Nations Statistical Commission.
Every year, the President of Statistics Poland takes part in the Plenary Session of the UN Statistical Commission, during which the strategy for development of the global statistical system is discussed. Other experts representing Polish official statistics also participate in working group meetings and seminars. By filling out questionnaires, participating in studies and submitting their remarks concerning documents and reports, they partake in international consultations on various branches of official statistics organized as part of the United Nations statistical system.
Experts from Statistics Poland regularly take part in meetings of the UN statistical system’s so-called city groups, focused on specific topics:
- The Ottawa Group on Price Indices
- The Delhi Group on Informal Sector Statistics
- The Oslo Group on Energy Statistics
- The Wiesbaden Group on Business Registers
- The Voorburg Group on Service Statistics
- The Washington Group on Disability Statistics
The President and other representatives of Statistics Poland are involved in the most important undertakings currently taking place within the United Nations statistical system. UN bodies carrying out those initiatives, further described below, include:
- The Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information
- The Global Working Group on Big Data for Official Statistics
The above groups have as their aim, respectively, to develop standards for combining statistical and geospatial data, and to make use of new and unofficial sources of data (Big Data Sets) in official statistics. Since 2018, the President of Statistics Poland has headed the Big Data Global Working Group’s Task Team on Training, Skills and Capacity-building. Other experts from Statistics Poland are working on task teams of the Big Data UN GWG focused on various aspects of using Big Data sets in price statistics, and statistics of agriculture (using data from satellite imaging). Both areas are particularly important in building the capacity of official statistics in the area of increasing competition from new non-public data sources.
- Friends of the Chair Group on the Implementation of the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics
Since 2018, Statistics Poland has been involved in the Friends of the Chair Group on the implementation of FPOS (Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics) within the statistical systems of UN member states. The group’s activities have been expanded to include the topic of open data. The group’s main task is to develop strategies and guidelines for the implementation and application of FPOS in the United Nations statistical system, taking into account new data sources and open data.
Representatives of Statistics Poland involved in the Friends of the Chair Group on the Implementation of FPOS continue the tradition of their predecessors who are credited with taking part in the development of the FPOS, a flagship document of the UN in the area of official statistics. Till this day, it constitutes a one of a kind roadmap for UN member states in shaping the role and functioning of official statistics in modern society, and serves as a guarantee of their impartiality and high quality.
Poland presented the first draft of the FPOS at the 38th Plenary Session of the Conference of European Statisticians in Geneva on 11-15 of June 1990. It also headed the work group established to develop a document in the form of a resolution. This document gained the support of the 27th Plenary Session of the Statistical Commission in 1993. In February 1994 it was presented to the Statistical Commission, which recommended that it be adopted as a Resolution of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. ECOSOC adopted the FPOS as an official UN document in 1995, the year that marked 50 years since the establishment of the United Nations.
At the turn of the last decade of the 20th century, given the internally complex political situation of Eastern Bloc countries undergoing transformation, the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics were used by national statistical offices in those countries to strengthen or restore the objectivity and political neutrality of official statistics. Furthermore, thanks to strict guidelines pertaining to data confidentiality, the FPOS contributed to building and restoring trust in official statistics. The FPOS were also pioneering in terms of unifying methodology, making national statistics conform to international standards, which made the international exchange of statistical information more effective. At the national level, the FPOS specified how and in what ways official statistics should serve the society and public administration, and how they should complement the country’s other information systems.
The FPOS continue to play an important role in helping to ensure that official statistical data produced by UN member nations are impartial and of high quality. For example, in Poland, the language used in the FPOS served as a blueprint for formulating the Law on Official Statistics from 29 June 1995. Lastly, the FPOS have been used by intergovernmental organizations to develop quality standard documents, such as the European Statistics Code of Practice or the Recommendation of the OECD Council on Good Statistical Practice.
Experts from Statistics Poland are also highly engaged in two other areas of recent activity of the UN Statistical Commission:
- Monitoring of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals through the application of comparable and high-quality standards. In recognition of Polish achievements in this area, a representative of Statistics Poland was chosen to co-chair the Steering Group on Statistics for Sustainable Development, which is focused on developing a system for monitoring the SDGs in Europe, under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. This group collaborates closely with organs in charge of studying sustainable development globally.
- Publication of the 2003 edition of the Handbook of Statistical Organization, first published in 1954. It deals with the fundamentals of national official statistical systems, ensuring their proper functioning, also as part of the UN statistical system. Polish experts served as consultants for all the chapters of the handbook. Our office also volunteered to make the greatest contributions to chapters dealing with Big Data and geospatial data in official statistics.
It is also worth noting that in 2018, as the result of the diverse activities and achievements of Statistics Poland on the international arena, it has begun taking the necessary steps for Poland to join the United Nations Statistical Commission as a member. At the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations has put forward Poland’s candidacy in the 2021 election for the 2022-2025 term.
 City Groups are informal and voluntarily formed by experts from national statistical offices and international organizations. They function at the global level and are created based on the current need to address specific thematic challenges and special problems arising in different branches of official statistics.