United Nations Statistical Commission

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The United Nations Statistical Commission is a Functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council established in 1946;[1] it oversees the work of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Its 24 member states are elected by the Economic and Social Council on the basis of the following geographical distribution: African states (5), Asian States (4), Eastern European States (4), Latin American and Caribbean States (4), Western European and other States (7). Since July 1999 the Commission meets every year. As set forth by the Economic and Social Council, in the terms of reference,[2] the Commission shall assist the Council:

  • "In promoting the development of national statistics and the improvement of their comparability;"
  • "In the coordination of the statistical work of specialized agencies;"[3]
  • "In the development of the central statistical services of the Secretariat;"
  • "In advising the organs of the United Nations on general questions relating to the collection, analysis and dissemination of statistical information;"
  • "In promoting the improvement of statistics and statistical methods generally."

One of the best known subunits of the Statistics Division is the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN), also known as the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names (UNCSGN). This unit attempts to standardize the names of locations across languages, alphabets, and cultures.

The sixth UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names was in 1992 (New York), the seventh in 1998 (New York), the eighth in 2002 (Berlin), and the ninth in 2007 (New York). One issue addressed at these conferences was the Sea of Japan naming dispute.

The Bureau[edit]

The officers are the Chairman, 3 Vice-chairmen and the Rapporteur, elected for a one-year period by the members of the Commission at the beginning of a session. Since 1999, its role is more of a steering one; the Chairman may seek for complementary assistance from other members (Friends of the Chair).

Chairmanship [4]
2014 45th  United Kingdom
2013 44th  Hungary
2012 43rd  Hungary
2011 42nd  Oman
2010 41st  Oman
2009 40th  South Africa
2008 39th  South Africa
2007 38th  Mexico
2006 37th  Mexico
2005 36th  USA
2004 35th  USA
2003 34th  Hungary
2002 33rd  Hungary
2001 32nd  Japan
2000 31st  Botswana
1999 30th  Botswana
1997 29th  Mexico
1995 28th  United Kingdom
1994 Special session  Poland
1993 27th  Netherlands
1991 26th  Netherlands
1989 25th  Argentina
1987 24th  Ghana
1985 23rd  Ireland
1983 22nd  Hungary
1981 21st  USA
1979 20th  USSR
1976 19th  India
1974 18th  United Kingdom
1972 17th  France
1970 16th  France
1968 15th  Australia
1966 14th  Norway
1965 13th  Norway
1962 12th  Ireland
1960 11th  Ireland
1958 10th  New Zealand
1956 9th  India
1954 8th  India
1953 7th  United Kingdom
1951 6th  United Kingdom
1950 5th  Netherlands
1949 4th  Netherlands
1948 3rd  Canada
1947 (August) 2nd  Canada
1947 (January) 1st  Canada
1946 Nuclear session  USA

Further reading[edit]

  • Hausner, Isolde: Die „United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names“ (UNGEGN) und die Standardisierung geographischer Namen. In: Kainz, W. / Kriz, K. / Riedl, A. (eds.): Aspekte der Kartographie im Wandel. Festschrift für Ingrid Kretschmer zum 65. Geburtstag. Wien 2004 (= Wiener Schriften zur Geographie und Kartographie).
  • Kerfoot, Helen: Role of the United Nations in the standardization of geographical names: some fifty years on. In: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division (ed.): Manual for the standardization of geographical names. United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names. New York 2006: 83-97. ISBN 92-1-161490-2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ see all reports at
  2. ^ Background information on the Statistical Commission and practical information on its functioning
  3. ^ refer also to Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA)
  4. ^ Chairs of past sessions

External links[edit]