UNCTAD to host annual meeting of Task Force on Finance Statistics

06 March 2015

The Task Force on Finance Statistics sets methodological standards for statistics on external debt and on public sector debt. It is composed of nine international organizations of which UNCTAD is a member.

UNCTAD will host the Annual Meeting of the Task Force on Finance Statistics (TFFS) at its Geneva headquarters on 12 and 13 March 2015.

The TFFS sets methodological standards for statistics on external debt and on public sector debt; promotes data availability on financial stocks; encourages internationally accepted statistical practices to enhance data quality; and fosters inter-agency collaboration in statistical capacity building.

UNCTAD is actively involved with the TFFS to promote the development and implementation of standards for reporting on external and public debt. It contributed to the development and dissemination of two major guides on the compilation and dissemination of external debt statistics and public sector debt statistics under the coordination of the TFFS.

The 2013 External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users and the 2013 Public Sector Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users provides clear and comprehensive guidelines for the measurement and presentation of external and public debt statistics.

Specifically, it provides guidance on:

  • Concepts and definitions, and classifications of external and public debt data.

  • Sources and techniques for compiling this data.

  • Analytical use of this data.

UNCTAD encourages adherence to these international standards in debt reporting and assists its member countries through research and the technical assistance offered by the Debt Management and Financial Analysis System (DMFAS) Programme.

UNCTAD actively supports the contribution of its members to the Quarterly External Debt Statistics (QEDS) and Quarterly Public Sector Debt (QPSD) databases of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank's Debtor Reporting System (DRS). It also promotes the dissemination of debt statistics through debt statistics bulletins by offering customized training.

Created in 1992 under the auspices of the United Nations Statistical Commission to take stock of the activities of the international organizations involved in finance statistics, the mandate of the TFFS was broadened in 1998 to coordinate work to improve the methodological soundness, transparency, timeliness, and availability of data on external debt and public sector debt.

Chaired by the International Monetary Fund Statistics Department, the TFFS is comprised of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the Commonwealth Secretariat (ComSec), the European Central Bank (ECB), Eurostat, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Paris Club Secretariat, the World Bank, and UNCTAD.

The TFFS meets annually, alternately in Washington or in Europe, at the Headquarters of one of its members. It reports every three years to the United Nations Statistical Commission, and annually to the IMF's Committee on Balance of Payments Statistics.