The IMF's work on data dissemination standards consists of two tiers: the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS), which applies to all IMF member countries, and the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), for those members having or seeking access to international capital markets. The GDDS framework provide governments with guidance on the overall development of the macroeconomic, financial, and sociodemographic data that are essential for policymaking and analysis in an environment that increasingly requires relevant, comprehensive, and accurate statistical data. This Guide explains the nature, objectives, and operation of the GDDS; the data dimensions it covers; and how countries participate. It provides national statistical authorities with a management tool and a framework to foster sound statistical methodology, professional data compilation, and data dissemination. The Guide supersedes the version updated in March 2002 and incorporates the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as specific elements of the GDDS sociodemographic component, which was articulated with the collaboration of the World Bank.