UN Common Country Assessment


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Annex III : Indicators and the Development of a
Common United Nations Database


The question of indicators to measure and monitor the issues identified in the CCA is complex and controversial. There can be as many indicators as there are questions and existing data.. One of the problems facing the United Nations Statistics Division, among many data gathering and data analysing institutions, is the proliferation in the number of recommended indicators. Virtually every new project advocates a new set of indicators. Comparison across data sets becomes difficult and often impossible over time as one data set evolves over time to include completely different variables. Even among apparently similar indicators there may exist different definitions, differences in the methods of compilation of the basic data and differences in the periodicity of collection of the base information.

There are other problem areas too. There are cases where the data required to assess a particular problem do not yet exist and there is thus the need to devise systems to collect new information or to use surrogate data. There are also cases where qualitative indicators are more appropriate than strictly quantitative measures and these are always more difficult to collect and assess. In many other cases, the quality of the data collected is suspect and variable, and programmes need to be implemented in order to generate reliable information. In the issues papers for the CCA some attempt was made to give an idea of whether the required information was of sufficient quality for the task, or whether completely new data need to be collected. The CCA is not, however, simply yet another plea for the collection of even more data and a major effort has been made to try to reduce the number of indicators suggested and to make sure that these, as far as possible, conform to existing recommendations.

In order to try to bring some order to an increasingly anarchic situation, the United Nations Statistical Commission, at its twenty-ninth session (11-14 February 1997), recommended that a Minimum National Social Data Set (MNSDS) be adopted as a minimum list of indicators to which other indicators could be added to meet specific needs. It is recommended that the common database for the CCA in Thailand adopt these 15 key indicators listed below, to which the other indicators are added for each cluster. After discussion at the CCA meetings in Thailand it was agreed that these 15 indicators be supplemented by one additional indicator –the total fertility rate.

Following these core indicators are two sets of indicators that have been generated from the consultations that led to the CCA. Both of these sets of indicators is arranged by CCA chapter heading. The first set of indicators refers to data that already exist and therefore could be incorporated into the UN database relatively quickly. In certain cases the data may not be readily available but subject matter specialists considered that their compilation should be possible within a relatively short time. The second set of indicators are made up of those that subject matter specialists considered significant for the analysis of the problem but for which data did not yet exist. In effect, it is a "wish list". If and when appropriate, action may be taken in future to rectify or to recommend action to amend this problem of lack of adequate data availability. The total number of indicators in the first list that may be incorporated into a UN data base is 68, to which another 26 on the wish list can be added at a later stage, if appropriate.

For all the indicators, even where not specifically stated and where appropriate, it is assumed that they will be disaggregated by sex, urban and rural sector and by small geographic area. These disaggregated data will generate the information so important for effective policy formulation.

I Indicators for which data already exist

    A. Recommended Minimum National Social Data Set (supplemented)

  • Population estimates by sex, age, urban and rural and, where appropriate and feasible, ethnic group
  • Life expectancy at birth, by sex
  • Total fertility rate
  • Infant mortality, by sex
  • Child mortality, by sex
  • Maternal mortality
  • Contraceptive prevalence rate
  • Average number of years of schooling completed, by sex, and where possible by income class
  • GDP per capita
  • Household income per capita (level and distribution0
  • Monetary value of the basket of food needed for minimum nutritional requirements
  • Unemployment rate by sex
  • Employment-population ratio, by sex, and by formal and informal sector where appropriate
  • Access to safe water
  • Access to sanitation
  • Number of people per room, excluding kitchen and bathroom

B. Poverty and inequality

  • Proportion of the population below a defined poverty line

  • Income shares of population groups (by quintile)

  • Gini-coefficient
  • Number of rural households achieving sustainable food security
  • Indebtedness among rural households

C. Governance and human rights

  • Ratio of reported violations of election laws to number of candidates in national and local elections.
  • Female electoral candidates as a percentage of total electoral candidates in national and local elections with, if possible, the number of successful female candidates as a percentage of total successful candidates in national and local elections.
  • Local government personnel as a proportion of national government’s personnel
  • Local government units’ revenue as a proportion of central government’s revenue
  • Ratio of complaints of malfeasance, abuse of authority, negligence, and corruption by public officials filed with the National Counter Corruption Commission, the State Audit Commission and the Auditor-General and the Ombudsmen to total number of public officials per year.
  • Proportion of the media owned, operated by non-government agencies.
  • Establishment/Development of the Human Rights Master Plan, the Human Rights National Action Plan, the National Human Rights Commission, the Administrative Court, the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsmen.

D. Education

  • Gross enrolment at the various levels of education;
  • Net enrolment of six-years-old children at Grade 1;
  • Continuity rate;
  • Retention rate;
  • Completion rate;

  • Class-student ratio
  • Teacher-student ratio
  • Adult literacy rate


E. Health

  • Disaggregated morbidity and mortality rates of the various diseases
  • Number of provinces applying Directly Observed Therapy, Short Course (DOTS) for TB patients
  • Degree of compliance with generic labelling/advertising
  • Total health expenditure (Total Baht, per capita, % of GDP, and private/public mix)
  • Types of health expenditures
  • Health cost inflation rate in relation to other sectors
  • Proportion of births attended by trained health personnel
  • Number of seizures and total quantity of seized controlled drugs per annum
  • Estimated number of drug abusers by sex, age, occupation, and main drugs of abuse

F. Working life

  • Total labour force by age group, sex, education & urban/rural

  • Workforce by employment status, Age, sex and urban/rural

  • Employed persons by type of industry & public/private

  • Employed persons by type of occupation & public/private

  • Number of laid off workers by sex, age, education, previous occupation and skills (special surveys needed)
  • Proportion of employees covered by social security
  • Public and private social protection expenditures

  • Number of Thais working overseas by age, sex and occupation
  • Number of foreigners working in Thailand by age, sex, nationality and occupation

G. Family life

  • Number of reported crimes of assault, use of force or weapon, child abuse per year.
  • HIV prevalence rate by age and sex
  • Number of HIV pregnant women
  • Number of abortions by age
  • Teenage pregnancies

  • Number of women in prostitution

  • Number of legal cases involving child trafficking

H. Environment

  • Biodiversity as measured by the areas (land and sea) currently under protection
  • Number and species component of forest stands;

  • the number of commercial fishing boats
  • the number of fisherfolk active in small-scale fishing
  • Land use in sq. km for metropolitan area and the narrower defined urban area by basic land-use type (for example, residential-formal and non-formal; business; services; etc.
  • percentage of households in tenure categories, at both city and national levels by the basic tenure types:
  • Carbon dioxide emissions per capita


II. Indicators deemed important for the Thai situation but for which data do not exist at present


  • Proportion of graduates (upper secondary/vocational/college) who have found jobs within six months of graduation
  • Proportion of graduates who found jobs in their areas of specialisation
  • Amount of in-service training that a teacher at each level receives in a given year
  • Proportion of the rural population that lives more than 5 km from the nearest primary and from the nearest secondary school


  • Impact of the various diseases on the socio-economic situation of the country as reflected in the number of work-days lost and in the costs of treatment and care
  • Coverage of distribution of impregnated bed nets and repellents
  • Updated national essential drugs list
  • Number of factories employing Good Manufacturing practices (GMP)
  • Volume of prescription drugs distributed through hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other centres
  • Registration of traditional medicine practitioners
  • Sources of finance for the health sector
  • Total health benefit coverage
  • Classification of seized controlled drugs by type, price and purity

Working life

  • Employment by size of establishment and industry
  • Number of job seekers, vacancies registered and placements at employment and job exchanges
  • Income of foreign workers by skill category and industry
  • Urban informal sector employment as a proportion of total urban employment by sex, industry and occupation
  • Nominal and real wages by sex, industry, occupation, sector, and size of establishment
  • Extent (and content) of both formal and informal channels of social dialogue and worker participation at enterprise level
  • Disease and accident statistics by occupation

Family life

  • Number of orphans as a result of the death of their parents from HIV/AIDS
  • Number of child labour related accidents and deaths
  • Number of children engaged in prostitution


  • Proportion of waste water that is treated
  • An estimation of the annual withdrawals of fresh water by usage type
  • Income per small-scale fishing household


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Dated: 26Jan1999