The Department of Statistics (STATISTICS) has the main responsibility for the ILO's statistical programme. It constitutes the core of ILO statistical expertise and activities, which are aimed at ensuring the availability of relevant, timely and reliable labour statistics at both national and international levels. These statistics relate to all areas of labour (standards and fundamental principles and rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue). To achieve these goals, STATISTICS collects and disseminates appropriate national statistics, develops international standards and guidelines for measuring labour issues and enhancing international comparability, and helps member States establish and improve their labour statistics. It maintains strong professional relations with national statistical agencies, labour ministries, organizations of employers and of workers, researchers and academics, and statistical offices of other international and regional organizations. In addition, STATISTICS contributes towards the ILO-led indicators for measuring progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, including the development of their global and regional estimates.
The Department of Statistics is the focal point within the United Nations system for labour statistics. It participates at meetings such as the UN Statistical Commission and the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA). Since the early 1950s, the Department has worked in close collaboration with the statistical departments of other international organizations, including those of the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD) and Regional Economic Commissions (ECA, ECLAC, ESCWA, ESCAP, ECE), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Statistical Office of the European Community (Eurostat), and various City Groups. These bilateral and multi-lateral relationships are carried out through direct contacts, networking, formal agreements and coordinating bodies and aim at:
- coordinating the collection of labour statistics and related information from countries and exchanging the data collected so as to minimize the burden on these countries ;
- developing international standards, producing manuals and improving on methodological issues; and
- ensuring consistency between the different components of the international statistical system through the use of coherent concepts, definitions, classifications etc.