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

Announcement for the 2021 IAOS General Assembly virtual meeting

The 2021 IAOS General Assembly will be held on Thursday 8th July, 2021 at 2.00 - 3:00 pm (CEST) in virtual format.

If you wish to attend, please email Jo Green ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) to receive a link to join the meeting.

The agenda for the meeting will be:

  1. Minutes of 2020 General Assembly: for agreement
  2. IAOS Annual Report 2020-2021: for agreement
  3. SJIAOS
  4. Young Statistician Prize
  5. Formal introduction of new President and Executive Committee 2021-2023
  6. IAOS Strategic Plan 2021-2023
  7. Conference plans
  8. Other business

Please also advise Jo Green if you have any other items for discussion.

ISI AND IAOS EXPRESS CALL FOR AN END TO THE PERSECUTING OF ANDREAS GEORGIOU

The ISI and IAOS have followed with growing concern the continued persecution through the justice system in Greece of Andreas Georgiou, former Head of the Greek Statistical Office, ELSTAT.

Also see the previous ISI Statements and Letters Concerning Statistical Ethics.

A Greek appeals court has found Andreas Georgiou liable for slander. The slander charges relate to a public statement Georgiou made in his official role as President of ELSTAT while fulfilling his responsibility to defend the official deficit and debt statistics for Greece produced under his leadership. These statistics have been fully validated by Eurostat — the statistical office of the EU. The UN’s Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics give statistical offices the right to comment publicly on criticisms and misuse of statistics.

Greece’s legal actions and decisions against Georgiou on several closely related cases is now in its tenth year with the initial legal proceedings against him having begun in September 2011.

We restate our grave concern that these continued prosecutions have damaged the scientific integrity of highly regarded work addressing Greece’s problematic fiscal statistical reporting from the 2000s. This case has implications for the international statistical system, and the rights of government statisticians to defend their statistics, as allowed under the UN Principles.

In September 2018 Georgiou was awarded a special commendation by the ISI, the American Statistical Association, the Royal Statistical Society and other statistical societies to acknowledge his upholding of the highest professional standards in his public service in the pursuit of integrity of statistical systems.

Defending official statistics, as required by the UN Fundamental Principles of Statistics and the European Statistics Code of Practice, should not lead to legal prosecution.

We join with other statistical associations in:

  1. Urging the end to the now 10-year persecution of Andreas Georgiou and his full exoneration, thereby signalling Greece’s commitment to accurate and ethical government statistics.
  2. Calling on the international statistical community to express their support for Andreas Georgiou in media outlets throughout the world.

John Bailer
President
International Statistical Institute

John Pullinger
President
International Association for Official Statistics

31 March 2021

Announcement of Results of 2021 Young Statistician Prize

The International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) is pleased to announce the results of the 2021 IAOS Young Statisticians Prize.   Once again, the standard was very high and we would like to thank all those who entered.  

The winner will present their paper at a mutually agreed international conference.  Winning papers are also eligible to be published in a future issue of the SJIAOS.

The IAOS would like to congratulate the winners and thank all entrants. We would also like to thank the International Judging panel for their efforts.

 

The three winning papers and their authors are:

  1. Elham Sirag and Mr. Gautier Gissler (Statistics Canada): Estimating excess mortality in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic: Statistical methods adapted for rapid response in an evolving crisis 
  1. Kevin Kloos (Statistics Netherlands (CBS): A new generic method to improve machine learning applications in official statistics 
  1. Mr Caio Gonçalves (João Pinheiro Foundation) and Luna Hidalgo (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE)): Model-based single-month unemployment rate estimates for the Brazilian Labour Force Survey

 

The special commendation for a paper from a developing nation is: 

Mr. Muhammad Fajar and Mr. Zelani Nurfalah (Badan Pusat Statistik –Statistics Indonesia): Hybrid Fourier Regression-Multilayer Perceptron Neural Network for Forecasting

 

John Pullinger

IAOS President 2019-2021

More information on the 2022 IAOS Conference in Krakow

International Association for Official Statistics Conference 2022

Krakow, Poland - April 26-28, 2022

Worthy Information for Challenging Times

Information Note

The responses of societies and economies to the short and long term consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic are taking place within the challenges of climate change and the international commitments to leave no one behind. Data, and in particular Official Statistics, are key to these responses.

Yet with multiple sources and providers, it is often difficult to differentiate the good from the bad, the trustworthy from the unreliable, the relevant from the noise.

In these times, achieving relevance and enhancing trust in information is a fundamental challenge facing Official Statistics. It requires a multi-strand approach.

The seven strands for the conference reflect this approach, recognising that Official Statistics needs to respond to:

-    the need to build shared data governance in a time of the data deluge

-    ethical challenges that go with the booming role played by data in societies and economies

-    producing valuable information for policy-making and for public debate, in ways that bring value to users

-    new and emerging statistical methodologies and technologies able to provide good statistics

The strands are:

1 - Integrating available Data Sources for Official Statistics: Challenges and Opportunities

This strand will include challenges in dealing with “not-statistically oriented” data sources, and integrating these across the different domains (economic, social and environment).

2 - Backbone of Official Statistics: Critical Sources, Infrastructure, Resources

This strand will examine challenges and responses in ensuring that the unique assets of Official Statistics can take advantage of the data deluge.

3 - Official Statistics Addressing Global Objectives (SDGs, Climate change…)

This strand will focus on interactions between Official Statistics outputs and global agendas.

4 - Official Statistics and Covid-19: key takeaways

This strand will review how the responses to the major disruptions experienced by Official Statistics due to the pandemic have been relevant and how they might have positive long-lasting benefits.

5 - Abundance of Data for Official Statistics’ Uses: Meeting the Ethical Challenges

Availability and possible use of new data sources is raising ethical challenges for Official Statistics. The pandemic has highlighted some of them. This strand focuses on understanding these challenges and responses.

6 - Statistics in a Time of Distrust and Misuse: The Communication Challenge

This strand will examine challenges in communicating Official Statistics at a time of data desire but also data rejection. It will review the respective contributions played by reputation, independence, reliability and relevance.

7 - Official Statistics Contribution for a Global Data Governance

In an ever-expanding data ecosystem, Official Statistics aims at taking a pivotal role in Data Governance. This strand will examine the implications for Official Statistics from local, national and international perspectives.

More information, including deadlines for proposals, will be available soon.