International context

The Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics

The 10 fundamental principles of official statistics, promulgated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in 1992 and adopted by the United Nations Statistics Commission in 1994, constitute a code of conduct and a universal standard for the profession. They serve both as a vital link and a clear break between statistics and the formulation of policies.

They ensure that official statistics are at the service of demographic debate. They provide an international reference basis for establishing good practice.

Switzerland has demonstrated its attachment to the fundamental principles three times since they came into force. In 1992 it adopted the Statistics Act, followed by the Charter of Swiss Official Statistics and the EU Code of Practice.

A preamble was added to the fundamental principles by the United Nations Statistics Commission in March 2013. In summer 2013, the United Nations Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution on the fundamental principles. On 29 January 2014, the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, including the preamble, were adopted in the Resolution A768/L.36 presented by Hungary. Switzerland supported this resolution as a co-sponsor.

Code of Practice

In May 2005, the European Commission promulgated in a recommendation the European Statistics Code of Practice, which defines uniform quality standards to be applied by all statistical offices taking part in the European Statistics System (ESS).

By means of 15 ethical principles, the Code constitutes a framework for the development, production and dissemination of European statistics. In particular it aims to guarantee the production of statistics without political bias and based on recognised scientific methods. Measurable indicators make it possible to check whether the Code of Practice is being respected.

Its application is monitored by EU bodies and by the member statistics offices of the ESS which carry out systematic self-evaluations and undergo peer reviews. Monitoring of the improvement recommendations made during these reviews appears in quarterly reports. Every five years the EU makes an assessment of the peer reviews carried out.

Switzerland takes part in the ESS pursuant to the bilateral agreement in the area of statistics concluded with the EU, which came into force on 1 January 2007. The legal bases of the ESS are laid down in the regulation (EC) no. 223/2009 of 11 March 2009 on European statistics. The Code of Practice and this regulation form an integral part of the agreement.


Federal Statistical Office Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel



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