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Empowerment Through Knowledge: GlobalStat database available soon on the EPRS website

Written by Laura Bartolini and Gaby Umbach (both GlobalStat)

Statistical data are vital in many domains of our political and societal life. They play a key role in the measuring our societies, they inform policy-making, and empower people by providing knowledge.

The recent proliferation of statistics and the increasing use of indexes and indicators to monitor and evaluate performance at any governance level don’t yet automatically translate into clearer and more transparent access to data. On the contrary, the mushrooming of sources generates an increasing demand for guidance through publicly available statistical sources, to select and compare reliable statistics from different sources.

A reliable access point to data is even more important in the current era of globalisation, in which not only the number of sources grows daily, but also new areas, issues and processes to be traced emerge and increase in relevance to policy-makers and citizens. In particular, as globalisation constitutes a phenomenon that goes far beyond global economic interrelations and integration, the need for information on environmental, societal and cultural developments grows.

To meet this growing need, the European Parliamentary Research Service, in cooperation with GlobalStat, aims to offer the best available gateway to statistical data and independent sources of information to Members of the European Parliament, their staff and the staff of Parliamentary Committees and others. GlobalStat, a project of the EUI’s Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation, presents data as diverse as income distribution, water resources, housing, migration, land use, food production, nutrition, or life expectancy, which contributes to a better understanding of the interrelations between human living conditions and globalisation trends.

GlobalStat is easily accessible, intuitive to use, and free of charge. In just three clicks it offers data from 1960 onwards for 193 UN countries, five continents and 12 political and regional entities – including the European Union – gathered from over 80 international sources. Its particular structure allows for comparison across time and between countries or regions. At the time of its official launch it offers over 500 indicators and is designed to grow over time. The source is structured in 12 thematic areas (such as Economic Development & Trade; Environment; Food, Agriculture & Fisheries; Human Mobility) and three horizontal areas which offer insight into cross-cutting aspects of sustainable livelihood, human well-being and quality of life.

Every single indicator is accompanied by metadata to better explain what the figures exactly represent. Definitions of concepts, the methodology adopted by the original sources, the statistical operation to produce data, notes on data relevance, on specific years and countries are provided alongside the data table, together with the original data and web source. In this way, GlobalStat gives an accurate picture of the ‘story’ behind every indicator, to help users understand the context and access the original source for further information if desired.

In the next weeks and months, EPRS will work closely together with GlobalStat’s team to enhance access to statistical information for Parliament staff, with updated indicators in tabular and graphical formats, allowing comparisons of situations in EU countries with other nations and communities all over the world.

Start exploring GlobalStat.


Laura Bartolini, GlobalStat Research Associate, Global Governance Programme, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute (Florence).

Gaby Umbach, Director of GlobalStat, Global Governance Programme, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute (Florence).

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