ISI World Statistics congress

takes place in Marrakech, 16-21 July 2017

SCORUS organizes two events:

  1. Session on “UN Sustainable Development Goals: The Implications for Statistics at a Sub-National Level”

Chair: Dev Virdee.  


The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) are underpinned by 170 targets and accompanying statistics and indicators that will need to be collected and monitored by all nations. This session will aim to identify and discuss those issues that need to be examined at sub-national level - urban areas, rural areas, administrative regions, local and neighbourhood levels and cities - and the statistical implications of these.


Arul Naidoo Statistics South Africa
Shaida Badiee Open Data Watch
Claudio Stenner Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE)
Paolo Veneri Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Emma Rourke Office for National Statistics (UK)  


  1. Lunch time roundtable: on “Leave no one behind ? How to make the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators relevant for people living in urban and rural areas?"

Chair: Dev Virdee.


In 2016 the UN- Habitat III conference in Quito brought together a full range of actors to rethink appropriate policies that embrace urbanisation, while bridging the physical gap between cities, towns, suburbs and rural areas. The conference renewed the political commitment for sustainable urban development, through the adoption of a New Urban Agenda that seeks to provide a forward-looking, measurable action plan for urban development within the context of the UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development. During the conference EU Commissioner Creţu announced a joint voluntary commitment with the OECD and the World Bank to develop a global, people-based definition of cities and settlements. Consistent international definitions of cities and rural areas are essential to enable valid benchmarking and comparisons. Indicators at key geographical levels such as cities and rural areas can capture and compare the spatial concentration of an issue by measuring the share of population in such an area. Wherever possible and appropriate, the SDG and other indicators should be developed at these territorial levels. To overcome the specific challenges of providing statistical information at sub-national level, a multi-source approach needs to be taken, making use of statistical surveys, censuses, administrative information, geographical data, modelled estimates, big data and data from local providers and sources. The statisticians need to assess these sources, related methodologies and advise on their fitness-for-purpose.

Question 1: Urban/rural classifications for statistical purposes - can we do better?  

Question2: How to overcome the statistical challenges of measuring SDG indicators for urban and rural areas?  


takes place in Cape Town, January 2017

Session co-organized by SCORUS focuses on data needs at the local level:

“Leaving no one behind” – the geographical dimension and the new urban agenda


The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) are underpinned by 170 targets, and accompanying statistics and indicators that will need to be collected and monitored by all member states. Many of these need to be measured not only at the national level, but for regions, cities, urban and rural areas, local areas and neighbourhoods. Also, sixty per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030, with 90 per cent of the growth likely to occur in low and middle income countries. Cities and urban areas therefore have a special position within the SDG’s.

Only with high quality local statistics can we identify those areas that persistently remain behind whilst others transform themselves and realise their full potential. This session will highlight the statistical challenges of measuring levels and changes over time at local levels, and showcase innovative new developments to help meet the challenges.

The session will include presentations from national and international organisations. UN-Habitat will present their view of the requirements for indicators to support Goal 11 of the SDGs: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. They will demonstrate the unique aspects of deploying spatial analysis techniques in monitoring the urban SDGs and New Urban Agenda targets. The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) will present the Global Human Settlement Layer tools, which underpin the recently published “Atlas of the Human Planet 2016”, and will provide tools that can be used freely across the globe. The OECD will present their work on identifying territorial indicators that can support the implementation of SDGs. Statistics South Africa will share their progress in developing SDG indicators that have a regional and local dimension and Statistics Netherlands will describe their development of Urban Data Centres, an innovative concept servicing local data needs. KTH Sweden will present their work on urban green structures and public space. Finally, a young researcher working at the city level will share innovative ways of using data from sources such as electricity usage.


Chair:  Pieter Everaers   (Eurostat)

Discussant: Lewis Dijkstra (DG REGIO, European Commission)

Organiser:  Jagdev Singh Virdee (SCORUS)


Robert Ndugwa, UN Habitat

Martino Pesaresi, Joint Research Centre

Aziza Akhmouch, OECD Regional Development Policy Division

Arulsivanathan, Naidoo Statistics South Africa

Robert Hermans, Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

Prof Yifang Ban, KTH Sweden

Grant Smith, University of Cape Town


UN Habitat


Focal Points:

Jagdev Singh Virdee (SCORUS),   e:

Robert Ndugwa (UN Habitat), e:


Jagdev Singh Virdee, Robert Ndugwa,