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Improving Official Statistics

President’s message August 2022

Dear IAOS Members:

Since I last wrote to the community in December 2021 many things happened.  A war broke out in the middle of Europe brining many casualties and floods of refugees.  Our conference was held in Krakow in April which is one of the major sites where refugees arrive after fleeing Ukraine. Many of us who participated in the conference visited the train station and supported the refugees as much as we could.  IAOS together with the International Statistical Institute (ISI) issued a statement condemning the war and offering help and support to the statistical agency of Ukraine as well as to Russian statisticians.

In December I had a pleasure to sit down with SJIAOS Editor-in-chief for an interview which was published in March 2022 in SJAIOS volume 38, where among other things, I tried to articulate the main actions of importance for the IAOS.  We are following these paths in our work.

I also have had the pleasure of informing our young statisticians and their supervisors of the outcomes of the 2022 Young Statistician Prize. Congratulations to Dr. Erin Lundy from Statistics Canada for winning first place, and for submitting a winning submission from Statistics Canada for the third successive year in a row.

IAOS is doing well by expanding its individual and institutional membership bringing, in addition to official statisticians, data scientists, statisticians from private sector and most importantly data users, policy makers, academia and civil society at large.

We have repeatedly contacted all the NSOs, international organizations, private sector companies, data providers and those active in providing technical assistance to NSO’s, as well as learning institutions, inviting to join IAOS.  The efforts have borne fruit.

A few weeks ago, the ISI Director Ada van Krimpen, and a member of IAOS ExCo retired. Ada has been an active and enthusiastic supporter of IAOS and we will miss her guidance and advise on institutional and organizational matter. We welcome the new ISI Director Conchita Kleijweg to the ExCo and are looking forward to fruitful cooperation.


The 18th IAOS conference in Krakow, Poland

Back to an in-person attendance, the IAOS conference in Krakow was a very welcome moment for our community of official statisticians. While some countries were not able to attend, a rich programme of more than forty invited papers’ sessions was held on 26-28 April, 2022, allowing the discussion of issues reflecting the title given to the conference: Worthy Information for Challenging Times. We can only reiterate our thanks to the Polish colleagues of the GUS (Central Statistics Office of Poland) who ensured the optimal conditions for hosting this event.

Our thanks too to the sponsors, especially Eurostat, who enabled a number of delegates to attend from developing countries. We also appreciate the support of UNSD.

On April 25th, the day before the Krakow conference started two events were held – a Special IAOS Meeting on Fundamental Principles, Population Censuses and Misuse of Statistics and IAOS Training Course on Small Area Estimation (SAE). The participation at the special session was by IAOS President’s invitation only and gathered a group of about 80 colleagues who actively participated in the discussions. The training session was by registration only and brought together more than 50 participants from NSOs and research institutions from all the continents.

The 17th IAOS conference in Livingstone, Zambia

Zambia was due to host the 2020 IAOS-ISI Conference from 19 to 21 May 2020 in Livingstone. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was postponed.

The 17th IAOS world conference and the 3rd ISI Africa Regional Statistics Conference will now be held, 4-6 April 2023 at the same venue under the theme: Better Lives 2030: mobilizing the power of data for Africa and the world. The conference will cover the seven themes below:

  1. Future of Statistics for Africa: statistics that leave no one behind
  2. Skills for Africa in the era of data
  3. Official statistics in society: they matter to all of us
  4. Big data. Opportunities arising from the new data ecosystem.
  5. Statistics making a difference: public health, prevent and cure
  6. Statistics making a difference: environment and climate
  7. Statistics making a difference: from data to progress

Preparatory ExCom meetings are being held every two weeks since May 2022. A new-looking website has been developed: https://www.zamstats.gov.zm/iaos-conference and a new call for papers is expected to be sent out by end of July 2022.

Key dates:

  • Conference date: 4-6 April 2023
  • Deadline for proposals submission: 30 September 2022 (link: https://www.zamstats.gov.zm/call-for-papers/)
  • Announcement of the outcome: end of October 2022

IAOS General Assembly

The 2022 IAOS General Assembly was held on April 28, 2022, as part of the 18th IAOS conference in Krakow, Poland. This year the General Assembly was organized in a hybrid format, allowing colleagues unable to attend the conference to join virtually. The Assembly reviewed the 2021-2022 activities, confirmed the IAOS Strategic Plan for 2021-2023, and confirmed the minutes of the 2021 General Assembly meeting. The GA meeting notes are available on the IAOS website.

Webinars and Workshops

IAOS conducted three events in February – June 2022, including:

  1. “Writing manuscripts for Official Statistics journals: Guidelines for practitioners and researchers” workshop organized under the auspices of the ISI, and on the initiative of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS, five international journals on statistics and their publishers on February 8-15, 2022. The objective of this workshop was to prepare Official Statisticians and researchers to draft and submit manuscripts to Official Statistics journals. The workshop was attended by 236 participants.
  2. “Ethics, trust, governance and use of data: Enhancing Official Statistics Capacity to address these issues” side event at the UNSC 53rd Session on February 8, 2022. The event aimed to provide an opportunity to explore issues of ethics, trust, governance and use of data and reflect on the IAOS’s proposal to create a small reflection group (Krakow Group) to give more prominence and focus to these issues.
  3. Building strong Integrated National Data Systems to transform people’s lives” webinar organized in collaboration with the World Bank’s Development Data Group on June 15, 2022. Bringing together a diverse group of discussants, the session focused on building an integrated national data system (INDS) and the critical role NSOs can play in this process, which the World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives (WDR2021) extensively discusses. 104 participants attended the webinar.

Preparations are underway for other webinars in the second half of the year.

If IAOS members have suggestions for IAOS sponsored webinars, please contact me at ContactIAOS@gmail.com.

Young Statisticians Prize

Congratulations to the IAOS Young Statistician Prize winners for 2022 are from Canada, Spain, the USA and Indonesia. The winners are

  1. Dr. Erin Lundy (Statistics Canada) for her paper Predicting the quality and evaluating the use of administrative data for the 2021 Canadian Census of Population
  2. Mr. Juan Carlos Galvez Sainz de Cueto, Mr. Jorge Fernandez Calatrava and Mr. Lasai Barrenada Taleb (Statistics Spain) for their paper Timeliness reduction on industrial turnover index based on machine learning algorithms
  3. Dr. Andreea Luisa Erciulescu (Westat, USA) for her paper Statistical data integration models to reconcile health official statistics

The special commendation for a paper from a developing nation is

  • Ms. Atika Nashirah Hasyyati (Badan Pusat Statistik –Statistics Indonesia) for her paper Imputation for subsampling in Indonesian National Socioeconomic Survey

The winning papers focused on administrative-based population censuses, machine learning and data integration.

Several notable achievements occurred in 2022

  1. Statistics Canada received first place for the third year in a row
  2. 2022 was the first year Statistics Spain and Westat, USA have received prizes
  3. BPS-Indonesia received a special commendation for the second year in a row

Thank you to the 43 young statisticians who submitted 33 submissions and made the task of the international selection committee so challenging once again. My thanks also to the National Statistical Offices, departments of regional statistical offices, the statistics unit of a government department, central bank, African Legal Support Facility, high commission for planning, Statistical Centre for the Gulf Cooperation Council, and Westat for supporting young official statisticians and the IAOS.


SCORUS organized two webinars jointly with Eurostat in June 2022 under the theme “City statistics – Results, challenges and opportunities”. The webinars highlighted recent results and lessons learned in city statistics as well as challenges and opportunities in integrating traditional and new data sources for city statistics.

For more information on SCORUS please visit our website: http://www.scorus.org.

If you wish to get involved or follow our events join our LinkedIn group.

Krakow Group

Official Statistics are directly affected by the on-going “data revolution”. To fulfill their fundamental mission of informing the general public about social, economic and environmental developments, and assist in the development and evaluation of public policies, Official Statistics must avail of multiple data sources while ensuring quality and preventing misuse. Doing so however requires innovation, engagement with other actors and compliance with strict ethical rules both as regards methodological processes and adherence to democratic principles.

At its 2022 General Assembly, the IAOS has established the “Krakow Working Group” whose aim is to contribute to the collective reflection on the challenges that our “datafied” societies pose to Official Statistics. The Group is co-chaired by Jan Robert Suesser, member of the IAOS Executive Committee and of the ISI Advisory Board on Ethics and Martine Durand, member of the European Statistics Governance Advisory Body, of the French Statistics Authority and former OECD Chief Statistician. A work plan is under construction, and it is expected that the Group will be able to present recommendations to be disseminated in the second half of 2023.

Statistical Journal of the IAOS (SJIAOS)

The June issue of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS (Volume 38, issue 2) contains 31 contributions covering seven themes. The background manuscript for the Krakow Reflection group by Martine Durand and Jan Robert Suesser (fast-evolving landscape for Official Statistics: how to respond to the challenges) is the first theme. The second theme contains five manuscripts on the impact of Covid-19 on Official Statistics. Then four themes follow based on contributions from the ISI WSC: ’The Governance of Official Statistics: The Funding’ with three contributions; four contributions, and an introduction on ‘Statistical and Data Literacy in Policy-Making’; seven contributions and an introduction on ‘Standards, guidelines and recommendations and three manuscripts on ‘Nowcasting’. Finally under the theme  ‘Data sources and methodology’, four rather varied manuscripts are positioned. 

The September issue of the Statistical Journal of the IAOS (Volume 38, issue 3) will be a special issue, fully dedicated to contributions from the International Statistical Organisations (ISO’s), members of the Coordination Committee for Statistical Activities (CCSA).  Some 32  manuscripts describe the role and position of the ISO’s and the manifold of topics these organizations are involved in, ranging from the collection of statistical data, setting of standards, developing methodologies and supporting countries and regions as well as in the governance of international and regional statistical systems. These manuscripts cover topics relevant to these organizations and are distributed over four themes: The role of the international statistical organizations in the Governance of Official StatisticsThe involvement of the international statistical organizations in measuring the impact of COVID-19;  The involvement of the international statistical organizations in measuring the SDG’s;  Methodological activities and projects at the international statistical organizations. 

SJIAOS Website and Discussion Platform 

With the June issue of the SJIAOS also the 12th SJIAOS discussion on the Official Statistics discussion platform on ‘The positive and negative aspects of ‘standardization’ in official statistics’ was launched. This 12th SJIAOS discussion is triggered by the section on ‘Standards, guidelines and recommendations’ in the June 2022 issue of the SJIAOS. The discussion aims to contribute to a reflection by the international community of statisticians on the principles behind and the role of standards and specifically on the validity of cross-national comparisons considering the deficiencies in implementation and use of the internationally harmonized standards. 

With the September issue, the 13th SJIAOS discussion will be launched. This discussion ‘The roles and position of International Statistical Organizations’ will build on the manuscripts in the September special issue with contributions from the International Statistical Organizations. The discussion will especially focus on the global governance of official statistics and the role and position of the International Statistical Organisations. The statements will invite the readers to reflect on the role and value of (statistical) data, their role as a public good and to the role of the UN  member states, the International Statistical Organizations and the UN Statistical Commission in the development and management of official statistics. 

In parallel, a Special SJIAOS discussion will be launched on the .challenges that our “datafied” societies pose to Official Statistics. This discussion follows the establishment in April 2022, during the IAOS bi-annual Conference, of the “Krakow Working Group”.  The main points arising from this discussion will constitute useful inputs to the deliberations of the Group. The Krakow Working Group will report on the advancement of its work at the IAOS Conference in Zambia in April 2023 and the ISI Congress in Ottawa in July 2023.


Vacancy of SJIAOS Editor in Chief position 

In January 2022 the vacancy for the Editor in Chief position of the Statistical Journal was announced. Several colleagues expressed their interest in this interesting role. It is planned that the selection procedure will result in autumn 2022 in the selection of an incoming Editor in Chief who will formally take over the role of the current Editor in Chief, Pieter Everaers, in July 2023, during the WSC in Ottawa. 

Finally, on behalf of the IAOS Executive Committee, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support for the IAOS. I like to encourage all to contribute to IAOS work and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the IAOS conference in Livingstone and ISI congress in Ottawa.


Misha Belkindas

IAOS President