Kenza Sallier present her winning YSP paper to an ONS audience

Congratulations to Ms Kenza Sallier from Statistics Canada for winning first place with her paper “Toward More User-Centric Data Access Solutions: Producing Synthetic Data of High Analytical Value by Data Synthesis”. Kenza presented her paper to the UK Office of National Statistics in June 2020.
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New international statistical snapshot on impact of Covid-19 released

New international statistical snapshot on impact of Covid-19 released

 

Throughout the current crisis, the international statistics community has continued to work together, in partnership with national statistical offices and systems around the world to ensure that the best quality data and statistics are available to support decision making during and after the crisis.

 

 

How Covid-19 is changing the world: a statistical perspective, a report compiled jointly by 36 international organisations, and coordinated by the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities (CCSA) - gives a small flavour of that cooperation.

 

It provides a snapshot of some of the latest information available on how COVID-19 is affecting different aspects of public and private life, from economic and environmental fluctuations to changes that affect individuals in terms of income, education, employment and violence and changes affecting public services such as civil aviation and postal services. It also puts a spotlight on the affects for some sub-population groups like women and children as well as geographical regions.

 

The report is available at https://unstats.un.org/unsd/ccsa/documents/covid19-report-ccsa.pdf

President's message April 2020

President’s message

April 2020

 

This is a great time of challenge for everyone, demonstrating just how connected we are across the world both in our vulnerability and in our strength.

 

The first priority at such a time is to keep safe and to continue to support our colleagues and their families. Despite the inability to travel, I have seen an upsurge in contact between IAOS members. Many are extremely busy in high pressure situations providing the evidence necessary for their governments and communities to make good decisions in the face of uncertainty and high risk to life as well as economic and social upheaval. The breadth and depth of our support network will be of critical importance in the weeks and months ahead.

 

A wide range of resources has been developed for use by official statisticians. The UN resource (https://covid-19-response.unstatshub.org/) provides a good way in to explore what is available alongside regional and local hubs such as the Africa UN knowledge hub for Covid-19 (https://knowledge.uneca.org/covid19/ ) and professional gateways such as the one developed by the ISI (https://www.isi-web.org/index.php/covid-19 ) . A very challenging issue for many countries is how to proceed with census plans (https://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic-social/census/COVID-19/).

 

Whilst in some countries official statisticians are in high demand and actively engaged in supporting their governments (such as New Zealand and UK) in others the NSI is shut and there is a risk of gaps in critical data (such as CPI) as the crisis develops. The position in parts of Africa is especially difficult.

 

As far as the activities of the IAOS are concerned, despite the postponement of the Zambia conference ( https://iaos-isi.org/index.php/latestnews/265-2020-iaos-isi-conference-in-zambia-postponed ), we are proceeding with a special Africa issue of the Journal. The June issue will highlight the statistical response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have also started a discussion on official statistics in the context of the Covid-19 crisis  ( https://officialstatistics.com/news-blog/crises-politics-and-statistics ). This discussion will help us gather ideas about the wider implications for official statistics in terms of the statistical service needed, use of emerging data sources and coordination at the international level. Encouragement for our community to step up has come from the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed in her address to the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data Board (  http://www.data4sdgs.org/news/un-deputy-secretary-general-participates-data4sdgs-meeting-board ).

 

Since my last message we have been able to continue our activities in one way or another. Our strategy for 2019-21 was agreed and published following consultation (https://iaos-isi.org/index.php/about-us/strategy ); a moving tribute to Jorge Todesca, former Chief Statistician of Argentina, who died in February, was written by our founding President, Jean-Louis Bodin (https://iaos-isi.org/index.php/latestnews/266-in-memoriam-dr-jorge-todesca ); and many IAOS members attended the United Nations Statistical Commission (one of the last meetings to take place before so many of us have been locked down). Former IAOS President, Shigeru Kawasaki was elected as Chair ( https://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/51st-session/bureau/ ) and did a great job steering the meeting through a long and complex agenda. In addition, I had the opportunity in January to join Prof Samuel Annim and his team for the launch of the Ghana Statistical Service corporate plan (https://statsghana.gov.gh/gssmain/storage/img/GSS%20Corporate%20Plan%202020_2024.pdf )

 

IAOS friends will also be interested to see the attached report published on 20 March by the US State Department on human rights practices for Greece ( https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/greece/ ) which helpfully highlights the still ongoing case of Andreas Georgiou in the section related to respect for the integrity of the person: denial of fair public trial. The American Statistical Association has also once again drawn attention to the continuing concerns about his case ( https://www.amstat.org/ASA/News/Appeal-Hearing-Delayed-for-Greeces-Andreas-Georgiou.aspx ).

 

We had hoped to showcase our Young Statisticians Prize winners at the Zambia conference. Along with so many other things, that opportunity is now delayed but I would like to take this opportunity to announce who they are and be the first to offer congratulations to the prize winners:

 

  1. Kenza Sallier (StatCan): Toward More User-Centric Data Access Solutions: Producing Synthetic Data of High Analytical Value by Data Synthesis
  2. Johannes Gussenbauer and Mr. Gregor de Cillia (Statistik Austria): The R-Package surveysd: Estimating standard errors for Complex Surveys with a Rotating Panel Design
  3. James Bailie (Australian Bureau of Statistics): Big Data, Differential Privacy and National Statistical Organisations

Also, congratulations to the winner of the special commendation for a paper from a developing nation:

 

  • Madi Mangan (The Gambia Bureau of Statistics): Household Consumption Allocation and the Collective Household Model: Children Share of Household Resources in The Gambia

 

Finally, a big Happy Birthday to Florence Nightingale who remains, 200 years since her birth, such an inspiration to all who work in nursing and in statistics.

 

The IAOS Annual report for 2018-19 is available here. The report will be discussed at the Annual General Meeting which will be scheduled once the position with Covid-19 is clearer. In the meantime, if you have comments on it please email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

John Pullinger

In Memoriam: Dr Jorge Todesca

In Memoriam: Dr Jorge Todesca

Dr Jorge Todesca, at the service of statistics and of democracy Our sister society, IASI (the Inter-American Statistical Institute), announced in the March issue of its newsletter that Dr. Jorge Todesca passed away on 21 February at the age of 73, just two months after the end of his four-year term as director of the Argentinean INDEC (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos).

He was appointed on 21 December, 2015 by the newly elected President of the Nation, Mauricio Macri, after eight years of manipulation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by INDEC under governmental pressures. These manipulations affected by a domino effect all of INDEC's statistical production: growth of real GDP was largely overestimated and the evolution of the number of people living below the poverty line was underestimated. During these eight years, Dr. Todesca's consultancy firm Finsoport remained firm in the decision to publish figures that belied official data. As a result, Finosport was fined and Dr. Todesca himself suffered a criminal complaint.

The main task assigned to Dr. Todesca upon his appointment was therefore to recover the credibility of Argentine's official statistics and reintegrate INDEC at international level. During his successful term, the international statistical community supported Dr. Todesca in this difficult but important task. For instance, Dr. Todesca was one of the invited speakers in the IAOS Special Meeting on “NSOs Professional Independence: Threats and Responses” prior to the IAOS 17th Conference organized at the OECD premises in September 2018.

In the name of its members, the ISI and IAOS assured the Argentine statisticians of their sympathy and expressed their condolences to them and his family.

Dr. Marco Lavagna was appointed Dr. Todesca’s successor on 21 December, 2019. Dr. Lavagna was one of the members of the Congress Committee which published from 2008 to 2015 the so called “Indice Congreso” (one idea supported by Dr. Todesca) in opposition to the fake index published by INDEC at that time. Dr. Lavagna promised to keep his predecessor´s policy. We wish him all the best in this post.

Jean-Louis Bodin