“Statistics are a vital tool for economic and social development, including our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. For development to succeed, we need data collection and statistical analysis of poverty levels, access to education and the incidence of disease. Statistics are a central consideration in justifying almost every aspect of budgets and programmes that enable hungry children to be fed or that provide shelter and emergency health care for victims of natural disasters.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
While statistics may not make the world go round, they do tell us what happens when it does: how many people are born, how many die, how many are in school, or how many are working. More important, they tell us where people live and how their lives are changing.
The United Nations General Assembly declared October 20, 2010, as the first World Statistics Day. The World Bank, along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) joined statistical agencies around the world in arranging special programs to mark the event to recognize the importance of statistics.
“It’s important to make the data and knowledge of the World Bank available to everyone," World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said. "Statistics tell the story of people in developing and emerging countries and can play an important part in helping to overcome poverty.”
Over the course of two days, a distinguished panel of speakers that included Dr. Pronab Sen, former Chief Statistician of India; Dr. Eduardo Sojo, Chief Statistician of Mexico; and Dr. Angus Deaton, Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics at Princeton University engaged in a lively discussion on the challenges ahead in making better use of statistics. Panel discussions were also held on the International Comparison Program and the Virtual Statistical System, an internet portal geared towards helping statisticians in developing countries access information about the production of official statistics was also launched.World Statistics Day 2010
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