It is one of the most important times in history for statistics and statisticians, according to organizers and attendees of the 41st Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission.
The Commission met at United Nations Headquarters in New York from February 23 – 26 to discuss a wide range of statistical matters.
Under-Secretary-General of DESA Sha Zukang said in his welcome remarks that the Commission “was an important example of how all UN members can act in unison, especially at times where the ability of the international community to act together is sometimes questioned”.
Mr. Sha stressed that statistics will play an extremely important role in the recovery of the global financial and economic crisis.
“This crisis has highlighted the importance of reliable high frequency information, such as quarterly and monthly data not only to accurately assess the status of the economy, but also to monitor the impact and, thus, adequacy of policy measures taken,” Mr. Sha said.
“It is important at this point to assess the broad spectrum of economic, social and environmental impacts of the crisis, especially in the most vulnerable countries and population groups. For this we need an adequate information infrastructure [in the form of] strong national statistical systems that provide consistent and reliable data on all aspects of economic and social development.”
Director of the DESA’s Statistics Division (which supports the Commission) Paul Cheung said that heads of national statistical offices from more than 140 countries and chief statisticians from about 50 international and regional organizations analysed such matters at the meeting.
Mr Cheung said that other matters debated by the delegates of the Commission included “the harmonization of global statistical systems, emerging trends on data dissemination and communication, the effectiveness of national statistical systems, census information and inventory of global statistical standards”.
The session also saw Member States discuss the first World Statistics Day which will take place on October 20, 2010.
The Statistical Commission first met in 1947 and is credited for laying the foundations of the global statistical system.