Statistics are a vital tool for economic and social development, including our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
New York, 18 October 2010 — World Statistics Day, celebrated globally for the first time on 20 October 2010, will pay tribute to the outstanding work statisticians produce and disseminate daily. While statistics are an integral part of national and international life and policy-making, the global community is dedicating 20-10-2010 as the first international day to pay tribute to Official Statistics. Over 100 countries and areas and some 40 international agencies will mark this Day with special events and activities.
Through resolution A/64/267, the General Assembly formally acknowledged the indispensability of reliable, timely statistics for making informed policy decisions and monitoring the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. Official statistics are data produced and disseminated by national statistics offices, other statistical units within governments and by many United Nations, international and regional statistical divisions.
“Statistics are a vital tool for economic and social development, including our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. For development to succeed, we need data collection and statistical analysis of poverty levels, access to education and the incidence of disease,” states Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his Message on World Statistics Day.
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang stresses that there is much to celebrate after more than 60 years of work on official statistics at the United Nations: “That official statistics from countries around the globe are produced in a reliable, accurate, scientific and comparable manner is a great collective accomplishment. It is the result of the service, professionalism and integrity demonstrated on a daily basis by dedicated experts in the national statistical systems across the world.”
“The notion of a global professional statistical family, that transcends political, economic and cultural differences among countries, is perhaps the biggest achievement of all,” says UN Statistics Division Director Paul Cheung, in his own Message for the Day. “We, at the UN, are committed to assisting countries so that every citizen in the world can rely on a well-functioning system that regularly produces, analyses, and disseminates relevant and quality statistics — statistics that respond to users’ needs and concerns, statistics that can help us respond to new challenges and bring about policy changes,” he adds.
Key activities scheduled to mark World Statistics Day:
- Public events such as conferences, seminars, round-tables, lectures, press briefings, messages by senior officials (including Heads of State), TV quizzes, school information sessions on upcoming Census, commemorative stamps, exhibits, etc. are being organized in over 100 countries and territories (see annexed list), by national statistical offices, international organizations, civil society organizations and universities.
- The World’s Women 2010: Trends and Statistics will be launched at UN Headquarters in New York and at the World EXPO in Shanghai (at a joint UN-China ceremony). This report illustrates the direct contribution of Official Statistics to social progress. The World’s Women 2010 presents both successes and shortcomings on the path to gender equality, from health and education to decision-making and gender-based violence.
- Many international entities and UN agencies are organizing joint conferences or roundtables to mark World Statistics Day, notably in Geneva, Santiago, Vienna and Washington. In Barbados, UNICEF will brief school children on its statistical work. In Brussels, Eurostat will brief the media on how the European statistical community supports statistical institutions in developing countries.
For the Message of the Secretary-General on World Statistics Day, along with other messages, please visit the WSD website: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/wsd/. The website also includes information on activities planned country by country, a promotional video and other useful materials.
On 20-10-2010, UN Radio programmes marking the Day will be aired in:
United Nations Information Centre Pretoria
For more information, contact:
Ms. Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, UNIC Director
Mobile: +27 (82) 727 7784 or Tel: +27 (0)12 354 8505
or Mr. Sudeshan Reddy, National Information Officer
Mobile: +27 (82) 563 5286 or Tel: +27 (0)12 354 8507