The role of an international statistician
FREE PUBLIC LECTURE: The 36th Maurice Belz Lecture, brought to you by the Statistical Society of Australia (Victorian Branch), and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics
by Denise Lievesley
This paper explores how statisticians can exploit their skills and expertise effectively to ensure that development strategies are pro-poor and pro-equity. Many papers in statistical journals have addressed the work of national official statisticians but few have examined the work of statisticians in international, supra-national or bilateral agencies. This paper attempts to redress this imbalance by highlighting some of the dilemmas facing international statisticians. It aims to raise consciousness of the role of statisticians employed in an international context, to explain some of the constraints under which they work, to address principles which ought to govern the activities of statisticians generally and to evaluate the relevance of such principles to international statisticians in particular.
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) was established in 1999 in order to foster a culture of evidence-based policy both nationally and internationally through the collection and use of high quality, timely data in education, science and technology, culture and communication. The UISís role includes:
(a) the collection, validation and timely dissemination of policy-relevant cross-national statistics, indicators and related documentation;
(b) the development of methodology to underpin the collection and estimation of reliable data which can be compared cross-nationally, and the development and maintenance of international classifications;
(c) providing support for building the statistical and analytical capacities of Member States; and
(d) the analysis and interpretation of cross-national data.
Denise Lievesley will discuss how these functions sit within the context of international data organisations and will outline ways in which users might contribute to the work of the UN. Denise will describe some of the challenges international statisticians face in improving the quality of cross-nationally comparable data, and will outline the impact of the increasing emphasis on indicators to monitor progress towards international goals.
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