Acknowledgements

This chapter is based on the in-depth review of agricultural statistics in the UNECE region prepared for the Conference on European Statistics (CES). In its third meeting of 2007/2008, the CES Bureau decided on an in-depth review of this topic. It was requested that the review took into account recent developments such as the increase in food prices and the impact of climate change, and incorporated the final conclusions and recommendations reached at the fourth International Conference of Agricultural Statistics (ICAS IV, Beijing, November 2007) on the situation of agricultural statistics. The in-depth review was discussed in the October 2008 CES Bureau meeting in Washington, DC, again discussed and approved at its February 2009 meeting and finally presented to the CES Plenary meeting in June 2009 in Geneva. The review was also updated following the written January 2009 consultation of the member countries. In general the countries were very positive about the review and comments that referred to issues not yet covered have been included in the final version. The review also takes into account the results of the Expert Meeting on Agricultural Statistics held in Washington on 22-23 October 2008. The CES recognized the timeliness of this review because of the food crisis, increases in food prices, climate change, etc., and stressed that the current crisis might help to raise the profile and emphasize the importance of agricultural statistics. The in-depth review was based on preparatory contributions from Eurostat, the IBGE and the NASS. To compile the review, use was made of a variety of information sources on the current state and future challenges of agricultural statistics, an important input being the policy reviews on agricultural statistics issues of Eurostat, the Wye Group Handbook (United Nations, 2007) and the results of the 26th CEIES seminar 'European Agricultural Statistics - Europe First or Europe Only' (Brussels, September 2004). Furthermore, the review benefited greatly from the input from the CES Bureau members, input from experts from the UNECE member states and especially from CIS countries. This chapter was written with contributions from the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (Mary Bohman and Norman Bennet), the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Eduardo Nunes Pereira) and the Interstate Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Michael Korolev). However, the final responsibility for this chapter rests with the author.

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