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International Statistical Activities


 

VOORBURG GROUP 18th Voorburg Group Meeting on Service Statistics Tokyo 6-10 October 2003
     
 
     
 
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Background of the Voorburg Group on Service Statistics
 
  Background
  Purpose
  Contribution of Members
  Bureau of the Voorburg Group
  Meetings
  Previous meetings
  Topics considered
     

Background
  The Voorburg Group on Service Statistics was created in 1986, in response to a request from the United Nations Statistical Office (UNSO), for assistance in developing service statistics. It was set up at the initiative of Statistics Canada. The first meeting, hosted by the Netherlands Statistical Office (CBS) was held in January of 1987 in Voorburg (Netherlands), from which it derives its name.
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  Purpose
  The main purpose of the Group is to be an informal forum for the exchange of views on service statistics. As a result of these exchanges, national statistical agencies and international organisations may be assisted in or directed towards, the solution of particular problems or the development of international guidelines or handbooks in the field of service sector statistics.

In the first instance the participating statistical offices agreed to contribute to the development of the services areas of the two United Nations Classifications, International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC), Rev 3 and the Central Product Classification (CPC).

Subsequently the purpose of the Group was expanded to address services statistics more generally, including such topics as, ways of estimating real product of service activities; prices of service products; international trade in services; and employment, skills and occupations in the service sector.

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  Contribution of Members
  Even though the members of the Group are representatives of their national statistical offices, they contribute to the work of the Group in their individual capacity without necessarily committing their employers.
The members of the Group work in the field of national statistics and make a commitment to contribute in a substantial way to the research and other activities of the Group. When the meeting decides to take up certain subjects for discussion at the next meeting, members are expected to act as "lead country " for the topic or to contribute substantially as a supporting country.
International organisations are invited as observers to the meeting. Observers make substantive contributions to the work of the Group in the same way as the members. The Bureau can also invite other countries or experts in their own right if it seems appropriate.
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  Bureau of the Voorburg Group
  The Bureau consists of a core group of members elected each year, the chairperson of the last meeting and the chairperson of the next meeting.

The members of the Bureau for the meeting to be held in Japan in 2003 are:

 
Magali Demotes-Mainard (INSEE, France), Chair

Peter Boegh Nielsen (Statistics Denmark)

Louis-Marc Ducharme (Statistics Canada)

Martin Brand (ONS, United Kingdom)

Hiroyuki Kitada (Statistics Bureau of Japan)

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  Meetings
  - The Group meets annually for a week.
- The meetings of the Group are hosted by the statistical agency of one of the member countries.
- Meetings are conducted in English.
- Each meeting ends with a session in which the agenda for the next meeting is set and /or interim activities are agreed upon.
The host-country of the up-coming meeting sets up an interim secretariat. The secretariat provides the Group with technical assistance during the meeting. It produces a report of the meeting. Within three months of the end of the meeting, it also publishes, in print, or electronically, a selection of the papers presented at the meeting. Its function ends when the report and collected papers of the meeting are circulated to the members.
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  Previous meetings

1987 (January) in Voorburg, The Netherlands
1987 (November) in Stockholm, Sweden
1988 in Wiesbaden, Germany
1989 in Ottawa, Canada
1990 in Paris, France
1991 in Helsinki, Finland
1992 in Williamsburg, USA
1993 in Oslo, Norway
1994 in Sydney, Australia
1995 in Voorburg, the Netherlands
1996 in Newport, Wales
1997 in Copenhagen, Denmark
1998 in Rome, Italy
1999 in Christchurch, New Zealand
2000 in Madrid, Spain
2001 in Örebro, Sweden
2002 in Nantes, France

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  Topics considered
  At its meeting held in Rome in 1998, the Voorburg Group decided upon a work program for the period 1999-2001 with the following topics to be the core activity of the Group: 1) Producer Price Indices(PPI) for services and 2) the classification of service products. Other topics to be addressed were Information Society Statistics, the measurement of demand for services by enterprises and the measurement of non-market services with particular reference to the non-profit sector.

The Voorburug group has renewed the previous framework at the 2001 meeting, which consisted of
1.a three year program to enable in-depth work on themes handled with some degree of priority
2.a very limited number of core issues
3.a ad-hoc issues which will not always be dealt with a each of the three forthcoming meeting

The core issues will be limited to the following three:
1.Producer Price Indices
2.Classifications of service activities and products
3.Information Society Statistics-enlarged

The ad hoc issues will be Non-profit institutions, Sales by service products and Short-term indicators. The group emphasizes the importance of international co-operation both between national and international institutes in order to avoid duplication of work and to further the development of the definite and methodological work needed for the future production of services statistics. As a consequence, the Group has a close co-operation with other international organizations such as the IMF regarding services PPIs, OECD(Information Society Statistics ) and other UN groups (Classification).
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