The RSS will mark the second ever World Statistics Day on 20 October with a number of initiatives, including a statement, a reception in London for RSS fellows, statistics training for MPs and a special edition of our flagship magazine Significance.
The inaugural World Statistics Day back in 2010 was organised by the United Nations to recognise the importance of statistics on a global scale. Five years on, the campaign will focus on the importance of statistics both nationally and internationally, particularly in relation to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have just been adopted by the United Nations.
The RSS has issued a statement with the International Statistical Institute (ISI) and the American Statistical Association (ASA), to which more than 40 other organisations have signed up. It calls for 'a true data revolution' in order to properly be able to measure progress against the UN's ambitious new SDGs. The statement urges that the opportunities provided by new technology and big data are properly utilised, emphasising that national statistical systems are central to this effort. To this end, the statement continues, 'systems must be properly financed, the development of statistical skills and expertise must be supported, and access to new tools and technology must be provided.'
On the evening of WSD, the RSS is hosting a reception for members and supporters of the society, as well as from partner organisations we have worked with throughout the past year. The event will include short speeches by the national statistician John Pullinger and Claire Melamed from the Overseas Development Institute who wrote a recent report for the UN Secretary General on a ‘data revolution’ for international development. A number of local events are also planned for the day - one in Aberdeen and one in Edinburgh.
October 20 also happens to be the day that our training for MPs will take place in parliament following our Parliament Counts campaign. The campaign saw thousands of messages sent to candidates around the country during the election campaign earlier this year, resulting in 324 candidates across the political spectrum signing up to the campaign, of which 55 are now elected members of parliament.
Finally, the RSS will publish a World Statistics Day issue issue of Significance magazine, with six articles, all focusing on the importance of measuring sustainable development, all being made open access for a limited time from 20 October onwards. Claire Melamed will talk about how close we are to achieving a 'data revolution', while other articles focus on how statistics have been employed to examine issues as diverse as undernourishment, slavery and trends in travel.
Follow these and other WSD events as they happen by following the hashtag #StatsDay15.