In a significant victory, India was overwhelmingly elected to the UN Statistical Commission, returning to the world organisation's highest statistical body after a gap of two decades in a “competitive” election.

In the election, South Korea won over China for the other seat in the Asia Pacific States category through a draw of lots after inconclusive rounds of secret-ballot voting.

India was elected by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as a member of the UN Statistical Commission, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and the Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), an important subsidiary body of the UN organ focussed on economic, social and environmental issues.

In a highly competitive election for membership to the Statistical Commission, India secured an overwhelming 46 out of 53 votes in a secret ballot. India, along with South Korea, UAE, and China were in the fray for two seats from the Asia Pacific States category.

In the first round of voting, South Korea got 23 votes while China got 19 and the United Arab Emirates 15. In the second round, China and South Korea each got 25 votes. As per the Council’s rules of procedure, South Korea was elected for the second seat through the drawing of lots following two inconclusive rounds of secret-ballot voting.

Argentina, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Ukraine, the United Republic of Tanzania and the US were elected by acclamation to the Statistical Commission for a four-year term of office beginning January 1, 2024.

India’s expertise

“India elected to the highest UN statistical body for a 4-year term beginning on January 1 2024! Congrats Team @IndiaUNNewYork for coming through so strongly in a competitive election,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in a tweet Wednesday.

He added that India’s "expertise in the field of statistics, diversity & demography has earned it a seat on the UN Statistical Commission.”

India was a member of the Statistical Commission last in 2004 and the country is returning to the UN agency after a gap of two decades.

“The experience of India in the field of official statistics especially with regard to its diversity and demography is immense and will be a valuable addition to the functioning of the Statistical Commission,” a press release issued by the Permanent Mission of India to UN here said.

India was elected by acclamation to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs along with Argentina, Burundi, Chile, China, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay and Zimbabwe for a four-year term of office, beginning January 1, 2024.

Austria, Armenia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States were elected for the same term of office by secret ballot.

Overwhelming support

India was also elected by acclamation to the Committee for Programme and Coordination along with Armenia, Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay for a three-year term of office beginning January 1, 2024.

ECOSOC elected India and Cambodia for a term of office beginning on April 5, 2023, and expiring on December 31, 2025, to fill outstanding vacancies from the Asia-Pacific States in the Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

The Council was elected by acclamation Australia, Burundi, Finland and Iran for a three-year term of office, beginning January 2024.

“The overwhelming support received by India in today’s elections reflects the trust reposed by the international community in India’s expertise in these bodies. Guided by the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ or ‘The World is One Family’, India will strive to make its due contributions in these and other organs, in the spirit of advancing multilateral solutions to global challenges,” the press release issued by the Permanent Mission of India said.

About UN Statistical Commission

The UN Statistical Commission, established in 1947, is the highest body of the global statistical system bringing together the Chief Statisticians from member states from around the world.

It is the highest decision-making body for international statistical activities, responsible for setting statistical standards and the development of concepts and methods, including their implementation at the national and international levels.

The Commission consists of 24 member countries of the United Nations elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council on the basis of equitable geographical distribution.

Five members are from African States, four from Asia-Pacific States, four from Eastern European States, four from Latin American and Caribbean States and seven members from Western European and other States.

The current members from the Asia-Pacific States are Japan (2024), Samoa (2024) as well as Kuwait and South Korea, whose terms are ending this year.