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Improving Official Statistics

Message from the President

Dear Friends

The COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have dramatic effects on people all over the world. There has been devastating tragedy in term of loss of life and there will be longer term consequences for economies and societies that will emerge over the years ahead. I cannot recall a time when statistics have been so much the currency of debate as people, governments and businesses have tried to work out what is going on and how they should act.

The global community of official statistics has stepped up in an extraordinary way to meet the challenge of providing the information needed to guide the decisions that must be made whilst coping with personal anxiety and sadness as well as the restrictions that have come from lockdowns on themselves, their colleagues and their work. Official statisticians have rightly received praise for providing a most essential public service in difficult times.

The International Association for Official Statistics has played its part. Whilst important planned activities have not taken place, notably our conference in Zambia, we have managed to deliver well against our strategic goals by adapting our work to the current environment. The role our Journal has played over the last year has been especially noteworthy. I would like to play tribute to our Editor-in-Chief, Pieter Everaers, his energetic and committed team of volunteer helpers and IOS Press for their support in finding a strong voice for official statistics during this period. I would like to commend in particular the work to issue a special issue of the Journal celebrating the work of official statisticians in Africa and the establishment of the official statistics discussion platform.

As I hand over the Presidency to Misha Belkindas, I look back on my term with great fondness. It has been a joy to work with so many wonderful people and to share and celebrate the work that is done, often without great recognition, by the community of official statistics. Our work helps guide decisions that make our lives more safe, prosperous and fulfilling, our communities more just and secure and our world more sustainable for our children. There can be fewer more vital roles in society.

I would like to thank the members of the IAOS Executive Committee over the last two years who have worked hard to keep the show on the road and adapt to the rapidly changing environment. I am particularly grateful to those Executive Committee members who have got up in the middle of the night to attend virtual meetings. I would also like to give my heartfelt thanks to Nancy McBeth and Jo Green who have advised and supported me throughout my term.

If you are not already a member of the Association, join us. Our voice is stronger with each new member.

John Pullinger