Chief Statistician

ActiveUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - New York, NY4.3

Full-time
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Background
The mission of the Human Development Report Office (HDRO) is to advance human development globally. The goal is to contribute towards the expansion of human choices for freedom. The Office works towards this goal by promoting new and innovative ideas, advocating practical policy changes, and constructively challenging policies and approaches that constrain human development. It works with others to achieve change through writing and research, data analysis and presentation, support to national and regional analysis and outreach and advocacy work.

Its mandate is to produce an annual global Human Development Report (HDR), an independent analytical and policy-oriented flagship publication anchored in the human development paradigm, which is presented to and globally launched with the UNDP Administrator.

The HDR is UNDP's most visible global report. It receives wide acclaim and respect and must adhere to the highest professional rigor and standards. The quality of its statistical content links directly to the HDR's credibility and impact. Through its work, the Chief of Statistics position will have a direct impact on the quality and timely production of the HDR that influences the international policy debates, decision-making and monitoring, as well as the innovative development of human development data and measurements.

As a senior member of HDRO, the Chief of Statistics has overall responsibility for the production and quality of the statistical content of the report. S/he will lead and manage a small team of statisticians. Working under the guidance of the Director, HDRO, and in close collaboration with other Units and members of the Office, the Chief of Statistics manages the production of leading human development indices and standard indicator tables, develop effective statistical outreach strategies and activities with leading statistical organizations, represent UNDP and HDRO in international statistical community, build partnerships with key data agencies and experts, and ensure good relations with members states on statistical issues.

While ensuring the statistical standards and rigor of the global HDR, the Chief of Statistics will also support efforts to improve statistical quality and credibility of national/regional HDRs.

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of key functions:
1. Lead designing and producing of the flagship human development indices, the standard HDR indicator tables and other statistical content of the Report and its internet presentation.

2. Take accountability for establishing and implementing the HDR statistical standards and quality assurance procedures to ensure professional rigor and credibility of its entire statistical content.

3. Lead review processes on robustness and reliability of indices and indicators and propose reforms and innovations as appropriate to ensure the highest relevance and credibility of the human development measurements.

4. Play a key role in development and implementation of effective outreach initiatives and strategies to promote the HDR's statistical contents, its policy impact, and its statistical credibility.

5. Represent UNDP and HDRO as a technical expert in key forums of international statistical community, and other international, regional, UNDP and interagency initiatives on data and measurement.

6. In close collaboration with Director of the HDRO and Deputy Director, provide advisory expertise to UNDP on relevant aspects of corporate strategies in the area of statistical development; take initiative, lead and oversee building of statistical capacity and promote statistical excellence in both the global and regional/ national HDRs.

7. Provide thought leadership, expertise and input around the use of new (big) data sources and emerging data science methodologies and technologies towards finding innovative solutions (and proxy indicators) to supplement and complement traditional statistics in assessing progress on human development.

8. Participate in discussions about the overall strategic direction of HDRO and contribute to HDRO management and UNDP corporate activities.

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1. Lead designing and producing of the flagship human development indices, the standard HDR indicator tables and other statistical contents of the Report and its internet presentation.

  • Lead the design and revision of the leading human development indices.
  • Lead the design and revision of the standard human development indicator tables; for continuing improvements in statistical selection and presentation.
  • Collaborate effectively with the research team and other teams working to deliver on key strategic goals of HDRO.
  • Coordinate with international and national data agencies with respect to data collection, evaluation and follow-up technical support, ensuring that HDR remains an informed, innovative and responsible user of international statistics, and working to improve quality and availability wherever possible.
  • Manage all aspects of the production of the statistical annex, internet data bank and other related contents and oversee the coordination process with production manager and production editors; ensuring quality and timeliness.
2.Take accountability for establishing and implementing the HDR statistical standards and quality assurance procedures to ensure professional rigor and credibility of its entire statistical content.

  • On an ongoing basis, seek to improve the quality of HDR statistics, through quality assurance procedures, including checking and validation procedures and working with the advisory and consultative panels.
  • Advise the HDRO and UNDP on use of data, statistical models, empirical analysis and other analytic tools for assessment, monitoring and evaluation of human progress.
  • Ensure, through training and recruitment, that statistics team and other HDRO members acquire and maintain appropriate competences, knowledge and skills for the processing, analysis and dissemination of data, statistics and information.
  • Oversee the development and management of the HDR statistical database system (for high quality statistical production), ensuring continuing improvement in its application and increasing team capacity to use and maintain the system.
3. Lead review processes on robustness and reliability of indices and indicators, and propose reforms and innovations as appropriate to ensure the highest relevance and credibility of the human development measurements.

  • Follow debates and discussions around HDR indices and indicators, consider and as appropriate, respond to criticism.
  • Follow and participate in debates and discussions around other composite indices and indicators and their use in areas of sustainable development.
  • Gather and evaluate best practices in measuring human progress
4. Play a key role in developing and implementing effective outreach initiatives to promote the HDR's statistical content, its policy impact, and statistical credibility

  • In close collaboration with Director of the HDRO and the Outreach colleagues, identify strategies, activities and products for more effective outreach, promoting wider public understanding of the HDR's key statistical messages, principles and processes.
  • Proactively network and reach out to potential HDI and HD data users to increase legitimacy and appropriate use of such data.
  • Oversee the development of critical statistical materials for the launch of HDR and other HDRO outreach activities, including press kits; web-based HDR indicator database, CD ROM products, country fact sheets and other innovative presentation materials.
  • Act as a major contributor to HDR blog feature ('Let's talk HD'), and full analytical articles for different media.
  • Take initiative and manage the updates of and improvement to the HDR Statistics Website.
  • Coordinate responses, and directly respond to, internal and external requests and queries regarding the HDR's statistical content, both at the time of the launch of HDR and on an ongoing basis.
  • Lead or advise on the design and production of training materials for workshops, courses and other HDR/NHDR training activities on human development statistics and their interpretation.
  • In close collaboration with Director of the HDRO lead and manage annual informal consultation on statistics with the Executive Board; organize the consultative expert group on statistics drawn from national statistical offices; organize the statistical advisory panel with membership from the wider statistical community including academia, and advise on data/measurement specialists for the HDR advisory panel
5. Represent UNDP and HDRO as a technical expert in key forums of international statistical community, and other international, regional, UNDP and interagency initiatives on data and measurement.

  • Contribute to the international debates on key measurement issues through participation in relevant thematic international/regional forums, knowledge sharing networks, scholarly publications, discussions in the HDRO and UNDP and website dissemination.
  • Represent UNDP and HDRO in international and regional statistical forums and other important conferences, expert group meetings and interagency taskforces on statistics and measurements - actively promoting HDR's statistical credibility and advocating for building better statistical capacity and improving the coordination among international agencies and between national and international agencies; and contributing to the development of international standards.
  • Strengthen and expand HDRO's partnership with major international, regional and national statistical agencies and research institutes and experts.
  • Represent HDRO at HDR launch events and other outreach activities.
6. In close collaboration with Director of the HDRO and Deputy Director, provide advisory expertise to UNDP on relevant aspects of corporate strategies in the area of statistical development; take initiative, lead and oversee building of statistical capacity and promote statistical excellence in both the global and regional/ national HDRs.

  • Follow up on the international statistical development activities and advise UNDP on corporate strategies in the area.
  • Coordinate with GPN and UNDP Regional Bureaus on key statistical projects and activities.
  • Contribute to the establishment and implementation of corporate statistical standards and quality assurance procedures for national/regional HDRs.
  • Oversee the design of, and participate directly in, related global and regional training activities, in close collaboration with both internal and external partners.
  • Organize and provide HDRO support and review for regional and national HDRs as pertains to statistics, measurement innovations and survey plans.
7. Provide thought leadership, expertise and input around the use of new ‘alternative’ data sources and emerging data science methodologies and technologies towards finding innovative solutions and proxy indicators to supplement and complement traditional statistics in assessing progress on human development.

  • Understand, anticipate and address needs for alternative data sources in measuring human development.
  • Contribute to the development of a strategy for building robust data science competences of the statistics team and other members of HDRO
  • Provide input and expertise on methodologies for use the alternative data sources – administrative data, internet search data, satellite images, etc., for monitoring and evaluating human development related progress.
  • Participate expertly in discussions related to use of big data and data revolution within the UN System and externally.
8. Participate in discussions about the overall strategic direction of HDRO and contribute to HDRO management and UNDP corporate activities.

  • Contribute as member of HDRO Management Team to planning and management of the Office. Represent HDRO at relevant UNDP corporate taskforces or inter-Agency expert groups.
Competencies

Values/guiding principles:
  • Reliably takes action to honor commitments, takes international outlook in decision-making
  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness, by modeling the UN/UNDP's values and ethical standards
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNDP
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Commitment to UN values and the human development thinking and approach.
Intellectual /Technical qualities:
  • Excellent skills for analysis and integration of diverse and complex quantitative and qualitative data from a wide range of sources related to human development subject areas
  • Demonstrated excellence in writing, communication to varied audiences, including formal public speaking, and networking
  • Demonstrates high level of analytical rigor, intellectual creativity and contributes original ideas about people, poverty and development
  • Possesses good grasp of substantive and policy issues related to human development
  • Maintains open-minded attitude towards new ideas.
Leadership and working in teams:
  • Outstanding strategic thinking and political sensitivity
  • Demonstrated exceptional ability to innovate and take initiatives
  • Outstanding organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Leads effective teams; crates team spirit, inspires and motivates staff and colleagues at all levels; demonstrates willingness to integrate ideas of others into own thinking
  • Remains composed under stress; manages moods and creates positive attitude in the team even in times of crises and delivers on time
  • Excellent skills in building partnership, managing a team and being an effective team player
Required Skills and Experience

Writing skills:
  • Demonstrates very strong writing skills, especially in English. In particular, has the ability to present persuasive, coherent and well-founded arguments and to write in several different styles or to adapt to different styles and needs to make messages accessible to a broad audience.
Results orientation in process:
  • Demonstrates drive to achieve results in timely manner and to seek and find solutions to any problems encountered; makes efficient use of available resources; demonstrates ability to multitask.
Communications skills:
  • Has ability to communicate clearly and persuasively; demonstrates ability to build consensus and expresses own ideas openly and frankly without jeopardizing rapport with colleagues.
Innovation and marketing of new approaches

  • Generates new ideas, seeks new approaches and introduces and promotes them in the workplace.
Education:
  • The incumbent should have Advanced university degree (preferably Ph.D.) in statistics, economics, demography or quantitative social sciences with a strong training in applied quantitative analysis.
Experience:
  • Minimum of 15 years of post-graduate progressively responsible professional work experience that combines research, practical application and management in the domain of statistics, econometrics, or quantitative social sciences.
  • Work experience in international organizations related to development.
  • Proven publishing record in the area of expertise.
  • Experience in innovative statistical analysis.
  • Experience in construction and analysis of human development measurements and other social, economic and environmental development composite indices and indicators.
  • Proven experience in coordinating with international organizations and national governments.
  • Documented leadership experience in a politically sensitive environment.
  • Experience in effectively supervising staff and ensuring excellent quality.
Language:
  • Proven excellence in written and oral communication skills in English; proficiency in French or another UN language highly desirable.