Logo International Association for Official Statistics

Improving Official Statistics

UN Statistical Commission 2022: Side Event “Ethics, trust, governance and use of data: Enhancing Official Statistics Capacity to address these issues” – 8 February 2022

Organized by the International Association for Official Statistics

Date: Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Time: 9:00 – 10:00 AM (New York time)

Format: Virtual

Background and Objectives:

Official statistics are, as many describe it, in the midst of a data revolution1 where data is the new oil2.

However, official statistics do not operate in isolation. Official statistics are one actor in an ecosystem of actors responding to the data needs of a complex and crowded international agenda including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Official statistics are also one actor in national ecosystems where competition for more timely and more relevant data is increasing at the same time as issues of trust, misuse, governance and ethics.

Official statistics should not act alone and must engage with these other actors. We also need to be forward looking and anticipatory, not reactive. To take leadership where appropriate and stand ready to act when needed.

The International Association for Official Statistics was founded in 1985 as an international non-government organization and a specialized section of the International Statistical Institute (ISI). It is an Association of physical and legal persons who have scientific or professional interest in the field of official statistics promoting the understanding and advancement of official statistics and related subjects, and focused on the development of effective and efficient official statistical services, particularly in developing countries.

The Association has focused in recent years on ethics, trust, governance and misuse of data and is considering the creation of a small reflection group to give more prominence and focus to these issues. The group may, for instance, map issues related to data misuse, trust, governance and ethics and set out possible responses and actions for official statistics in relation to these matters.

This session provides an opportunity to explore issues of ethics, trust, governance and use of data and reflect on the Association’s proposal.

In 2012, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a High Level Panel to advise on the global development agenda after the 2015 millennium development goals (MDGs).  The Panel was the first to express the need for a data revolution.

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data | The Economist. (2017)


  • Misha Belkindas, IAOS President
  • Martine Durand, Retired OECD Chief Statistician, Member of the French Statistical Authority
  • Jan Robert Suesser, Member of IAOS Executive Committee and Member of ISI Advisory Board on Ethics
  • Walter Radermacher, Retired Director-General, Eurostat, President of Federation of European National Statistical Societies, Chair of ISI Advisory Board on Ethics
  • Gemma Van Halderen, Member of IAOS Executive Committee and Focal Point for IAOS Young Statisticians Prize

For more information about the side event, please visit the United Nations Statistical Commission website. To register click HERE.