ONS takes the lead on UN project to gather data on ageing population

United Nations accepts proposal for ONS-led team to build evidence on shared challenges related to ageing

The Office for National Statistics is to lead an international team of statisticians from governments, civil society and academia working together to collect data on the global ageing population.

The United Nations – which prioritised the need to address ageing-related issues through its Sustainable Development Goals – accepted a proposal to set up the working group, the ONS announced yesterday.

The non-ministerial department, an executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, will head up a team that will build evidence to improve understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to ageing.
They will identify and develop data sources to build knowledge that can be shared globally, and used to underpin the delivery and measurement of initiatives for older people.

The programme of work will also ensure policy-makers and public service providers have “trustworthy and relevant statistics to inform their actions”, the ONS said.

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The working group will meet for the first time in June.

The ONS presented its proposal for the establishment of the international working group on ageing-related statistics to the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) in March last year.

At a meeting held in New York last weekend, the UNSC – which brings together chief statisticians from member states around the world – accepted that proposal.

John Pullinger, UK national statistician, said after the announcement: “It’s a tremendous honour to be asked to take a lead on such a vital issue.”

The UNSC meeting was informed by a report put together by the ONS and other national statistical institutes, as well as the Department for International Development and various third sector and UN organisations.

The report said: “As the proportion of the world’s population in the older ages continues to increase, the need for improved information and analysis of population ageing becomes pressing.

“Furthermore, implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the pledge to leave no one behind require timely and reliable data across all ages.”

Sam Trendall

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