This paper provides an overview of national statistical system (NSS) peer reviews and presents the mechanisms that ensure their transparency, accountability and effectiveness.

National statistical systems (NSS) supply the evidence base for policymaking and provide the information necessary for government accountability. Just as they support good governance, however, they must observe good governance themselves.

Peer reviews are crucial in this respect. They allow countries to identify strengths, areas for improvement and define recommendations on how to improve compliance. At the same time, they provide reviewers with insights into new and innovative practices, and opportunities for stakeholder consultation while strengthening peer-to-peer exchange.

Depending on their design, peer reviews can focus on very different issues and lead to varied outcomes. PARIS21’s peer reviews, for instance, aim to improve governance and operation of NSS, whereas Eurostat-EFTA’s model seeks to assess progress made in adherence to codes of practice. Regardless of the methodology, peer reviews can be improved by defining specific objectives, communicating the findings at the appropriate levels, ensuring the right composition of the reviewing team and incentivising stakeholders to participate.

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