UNCTAD marks World Statistics Day: 'Better Data, Better Lives'

20 October 2016

Effective new policies that create jobs, improve wellbeing and drive social development will depend on reliable, timely and impartial statistics, the head of UNCTAD's statistics and information branch said in a statement marking World Statistics Day.

"But it will also be necessary to cultivate an appreciation or recognition of data as an asset and an essential part of the infrastructure necessary to support modern public administrations and decision making," UNCTAD's Steve MacFeely said.

"The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has demanded that 'no one gets left behind'," Mr. MacFeely said. "For statisticians this means, in the words of former UN General Assembly president Mogens Lykketoft, 'no one gets left uncounted'."

On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN summit - officially came into force. During the next 15 years, with new goals that apply universally to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change.

"To achieve this ambitious target, additional resources will be required to strengthen national statistical capacity, particularly in developing countries," Mr. MacFeely said.

Goal 9 of the SDGs addresses the need to "develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all."

"This is precisely what data infrastructure aims to do," Mr. MacFeely said. "UNCTAD has studied how this can be done in its Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures online report for 2016."

UNCTAD works as a key partner within the United Nations Statistical System, with member States and international organisations to provide a targeted, professional statistical service that provides the best quality statistics on trade and the interrelated fields of foreign direct investment, information economy, creative economy and maritime transport.