Statistical capacity development

One of the key missions of FAO is to support member countries develop the capacity of their statistical systems and enable them to collect, disseminate and use relevant, reliable and timely data. By strengthening countries’ capacity in this area, FAO contributes to make available key analytical and decision-making support tools for national, regional and global evidence-based actions.

FAO capacity development programmes and services for statistics

SDG Monitoring

As the designated custodian agency for 21 SDG indicators, and a contributing agency for five others, FAO provides statistical capacity development support to countries on SDG monitoring and the measurement, dissemination and use of the indicators.

Support can be provided through regional and national-level capacity development activities in the following areas:

  • comprehensive assessments of SDG data and capacity gaps;
  • alignment of national SDG indicators with the global monitoring framework;
  • development of SDG-compliant National Statistics Master Plans;
  • SDG indicators methodologies and compilation methods (e.g., data disaggregation techniques, use of earth observation data);
  • design and/or implementation of cost-effective data collection tools for compiling the 21 SDG indicators under FAO custodianship;
  • analysis of results and use of SDG indicators in decision-making; and
  • preparation of Voluntary National Reviews and national SDG reports.

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected].


UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 (IMI-SDG6): Monitoring Target 6.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 (IMI-SDG6) is a global multi-agency project implemented jointly by FAO, UN-Habitat, UNECE, UNESCO, UNEP, UNICEF, WHO and WMO, operating under the UN-Water umbrella. The overarching goal of the Initiative is to accelerate the achievement of SDG 6, by increasing the availability of high-quality data for evidence-based policy-making, regulations, planning and investments at all levels.

The Initiative focuses on integrating and expanding already existing monitoring efforts on the entire water cycle, including wastewater treatment and water quality (target 6.3), water stress and water use efficiency (target 6.4), integrated water resources management and transboundary basins (target 6.5), and water-related ecosystems (target 6.6).

As the custodian agency for the monitoring of SDG target 6.4., FAO supports countries in collection, analysis and reporting of SDG indicators 6.4.1 (Change in water-use efficiency over time) and 6.4.2 (Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal in percentage of available freshwater resources). In particular, FAO provides member states  with methodological and monitoring guidance and engages them in developing their capacity for an integrated water sector monitoring. At the national level, FAO in collaboration with the other implementing partners of the Initiative also promotes intersectoral collaboration and consolidation of existing capacities and data across agencies.

The Integrated monitoring Initiative has a global coverage; hence, all countries are entitled to request monitoring and capacity development support.

Related capacity development resources

SDG Indicator 6.4.1:


SDG Indicator 6.4.2:

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected] and/or [email protected].

©Pep Bonet/NOOR for FAO

Food security and nutrition indicators (Voices of the Hungry)

FAO is the custodian agency for two key indicators for monitoring progress on the eradication of hunger in the world: the prevalence of undernourishment, or PoU (SDG Indicator 2.1.1) and the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity, based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) (SDG Indicator 2.1.2).

The PoU is an estimate of the proportion of the population facing serious food deprivation while the FIES provides estimates of the proportion of the population facing difficulties in obtaining enough food, based on direct interviews with adults.

Given the importance of these indicators for the achievement of SDG2, the Voices of the Hungry Programme provides support to countries in the following areas:

  • Design/adaptation of food consumption and FIES modules;
  • Training material;
  • Food consumption and FIES data collection;
  • Food consumption and FIES data analysis; and
  • Food consumption and FIES data dissemination and reporting.

Related capacity development resources

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected] and [email protected] with copy to Carlo Cafiero, Project Manager and Filippo Gheri, Statistician.


Food Balance Sheets

FAO provides technical assistance to countries for the compilation and analysis of their national Supply Utilization Accounts (SUAs) and Food Balances (FBS), including the calculation of the related country’s DES (Dietary Energy Supply) and macronutrient availability.

The technical assistance is based on an application tool which incorporates the new revised methodology for the compilation, imputation and validation of the Food Balance Sheets (FBS) recently developed by the FAO Statistics Division.

Support can be provided through regional and national-level capacity development activities and includes:

  • Assessment of the FBS national capacity and data availability;
  • Establishment of a Technical Working Group (TWG) composed of key national data providers and users/analysts;
  • Highlighting of the links between some FBS variables and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), i.e. SDG 2.1.1 on Prevalence of Undernourishment; SDG 12.3.1 on Global Food Loss Index; SDG 3.5.2 on  healthy consumption;
  • Technical training on the FAO FBS methodology, overview of the newly developed FBS modules and imputation methodologies;
  • Practical exercises on the computation of the SUA/FBS;
  • Design and compilation of the national SUA/FBS using the new FBS country compilation tool (R based Shiny app);
  • Review and analysis of the finalized national SUA/FBS and of the main results; and
  • Calculation of some key indicators, such as the import dependency ratio and the self-sufficiency ratio, and draft of a final report.

Related capacity development resources

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected]. Team Leader, Crops, Livestock and Food Statistics.

©FAO/Pius Utomi Ekpei

World Programme for the Census of Agriculture (WCA)

FAO assists countries by providing guidelines, training and country-level assistance to strengthen the knowledge and technical skills of national staff in charge of planning and conducting agricultural censuses and, therefore, support the data production, dissemination and use of internationally comparable figures on variables defining the structure of agriculture, such as number and area of farms by size, number of livestock by type and age/sex classification, land tenure and land use, crops grown and agricultural inputs.

Support can be provided through regional and national-level capacity development activities in the following areas:

  • Preparation and worldwide dissemination of methodological guidelines on the census of agriculture (WCA) in six languages. See the latest guidelines.
  • Technical assistance to countries to plan, prepare and implement agricultural censuses, in line with the latest WCA guidelines. Capacity development in the form of regional technical meetings to disseminate the best census practices, promote the use of international standards and facilitate the exchange of countries’ methodological experiences. See our latest events.
  • Monitor, document and disseminate national agricultural censuses, including census reports and materials. See country census material.

Related capacity development resources

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected] with copy to Jairo Castano, Team Leader.

©FAO/ Tet Chann

Agricultural Integrated Surveys Programme (AGRISurvey)

FAO AGRISurvey programme promotes and supports the collection, dissemination and use of sound, harmonized, timely and regular data on agriculture based on a farm-based multi-year survey programme model.

Support can be provided through regional and national-level capacity development activities in the following areas:

  • technical assistance on statistical literacy and on evidence-based policy design;
  • trainings on the AGRISurvey methodology, sampling design, data analysis and interpretation, microdata curation and data dissemination;
  • trainings on the use of advance technologies for data collection and management and support to shift from paper questionnaire to a Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) system.

For more information and general inquiries, contact [email protected] with copy to Christophe Duhamel, Project Manager.

©FAO/Lekha Edirisinghe

The 50x2030 Initiative to Close the Agricultural Data Gap

The 50x2030 Initiative to Close the Agricultural Data Gap is a multi-partner effort that seeks to bridge the global agricultural data gap by transforming country data systems across 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America by 2030.  50x2030 brings together the technical and operational capabilities of key multilateral implementers (FAO, IFAD and the World Bank), with the strategic influence, vision, and resources of development agencies and the determination and hard work of partner countries.

This initiative focuses on improving country level data by establishing strong nationally-representative survey programs— building upon the experiences of the FAO’s Agricultural Integrated Survey (AGRISurvey) Programme and the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA)— that produce high-quality and timely agricultural data and make evidence-based decision-making in agriculture the norm. FAO leads the data-production component of the Initiative through technical assistance and capacity building activities.

Support can be provided by FAO through regional and national-level capacity development activities in the following areas:

  • Data production: specify needs, design survey programmes, build data collection, data process and data dissemination components, support data collection, process and analysis.
  • Data dissemination: development of tabulation plans, technical support on data curation, documentation and preservation and data anonymization.

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected].

The Global Strategy was designed as a 15-year, multi-phase process to provide a “framework for national and international statistical systems enabling developing countries to produce, and to apply, the basic data and information needed in the 21st Century”.

During its first phase of implementation (2012–2018), the Global Strategy was centered on three pillars outputs produced through three technical components: Methodological Research, Technical Assistance and Training.

The second phase of the Global Strategy (GSARS II, 20202025), starting in 2021, will focus on the applying methodologies and approaches developed in the framework of the first phase and strengthening the statistical capacities of countries through the provision of training and technical assistance at national, regional and global level. The work of the Global Strategy will be interlinked with the activities of the 50x2030 Initiative to close the agricultural data gap, aimed at collecting data in 50 low income and lower middle-income countries by 2030.

Support will be provided through the provision of training and technical assistance at national, regional and global level in the following areas:

  • assistance in the design of strategic plans for agricultural statistics;
  • training in agricultural statistics and provision of scholarships; and
  • technical assistance and training on tools, methodologies for data collection, data analysis and dissemination.

Related capacity development resources

For more information, visit the Global Strategy to Improve Agricultural and Rural Statistics website.  For general inquiries, contact Neli Georgieva, Project Manager.



©FAO/Karen Minasyan

Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS)

The Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) is an inter-agency platform that aims to enhance food market outlook information and policy response for food security. Bringing together the principal trading countries of agricultural commodities, AMIS assesses global food supplies (focusing on wheat, maize, rice and soybeans) and provides a platform to coordinate policy action in times of market uncertainty. AMIS is composed of G20 members plus Spain and seven additional major exporting and importing countries of agricultural commodities.

Support can be provided by the AMIS Secretariat through capacity development activities in the following areas:

  • Compilation of supply and demand balances of the four AMIS crops;
  • Hands-on methodological assistance to designated focal points in AMIS participating countries; and
  • Needs-based support on various topics including crop yield forecasting and stocks measurement (subject to funding).

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected].

Country Capacity Development on Forest Products Statistics Programme

The Country Capacity Development on Forest Products Statistics programme conducts capacity development activities and training to improve and enhance the quality, reliability and efficiency of national forest products statistical systems. 

Support can be provided through regional and national-level capacity development activities in the following areas:

  • collection and compilation of national production, trade and consumption data on forest products
  • support to the development of national data collection systems.

Related capacity development resources

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected].


Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA)

FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) assists countries to monitor and generate better information about their forest resources by target workshop and training sessions on the use of freely available satellite images.

Support can be provided through regional and sub-regional capacity development activities in the following areas:

Related capacity development resources

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected].

Use of Earth Observation Data (FAO-EOSTAT)

Launched in 2019, FAO’s EOSTAT project uses next generation Earth observation tools to produce land cover and land use statistics. Initially deployed in Senegal and Uganda, then expanded to 12 countries, the innovative approach relies on free of charge Earth observation data, vegetation and climate modelling, as well as field survey data to build countries’ capacity to produce seasonal crop type maps, annual land cover maps that are standardized, accurate, granular and validated. The Office of Chief Statistician of FAO has developed a training programme to assist countries in using EOSTAT.

Support can be provided through regional and national-level capacity development activities in the following areas:

  • Production of annual national land cover maps using FAO’s newly developed methodology (2020).
  • Extraction of statistics from the land cover map at both national and subnational levels.
  • Exchange of geospatial products and statistics using web GIS technology.

If you are interested in organizing a training in your country, FAO can arrange it on-site and/or online. Please send your request to the Chief Statistician ([email protected]) and to Lorenzo de Simone, Project Lead ([email protected]).


Other capacity development services

Upon request and subject to availability of funds, FAO can provide additional capacity development support in various statistical domains under its mandate. This includes and is not restricted to the following:

  • Assessment of National agricultural and rural statistics systems and design of National Strategic Plans for Agriculture and Rural Statistics (SPARS)
  • Crop and livestock-related statistics
  • System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (SEEA-AFF)
  • Agriculture producer and consumer prices
  • Rural livelihoods Indicators and FAO Rural Livelihoods Information System (RuLIS)
  • Nutrition, food composition and food consumption statistics
  • Food losses and waste
  • Natural, genetic and biodiversity resources data
  • Use of remote sensing for the mapping of water productivity, land cover and agriculture statistics (e.g. crop area and yield estimation)
  • Early Warning Systems
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance
  • Impact evaluation of national disasters on agriculture, fishery and forestry
  • Survey design, sampling techniques, cost-effective data collection and, data processing, analysis, dissemination, reporting and use
  • Quality assurance

This support could be provided through the organization of technical workshops, delivery of technical assistance, sharing of e-learning and capacity development resources, distance or online technical collaboration and the organization of study tour at FAO Headquarters.

For more information and general inquiries, contact: [email protected].

How can national governments request capacity development assistance?

National governments should discuss on an ongoing basis their statistical capacity development needs and priorities directly with their FAO country office. These needs and priorities will usually be reflected in the Country programming framework (CPF) and support will be planned in consultation with the relevant technical units and regional or sub-regional statisticians. If punctual assistance requests are raised, the FAO country office will contact the relevant technical divisions and regional or sub-regional statisticians to analyse how the support can be provided.

FAO statistical capacity development activities are funded through:

- Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP)

- Regular programme funds allocated to technical divisions

- Extra-budgetary programmes that support statistical development.

For specific information and inquiries on FAO capacity development programmes, national governments are also encouraged to contact these programmes directly.