World Statistics Day

Statistics: Illuminating the path to sustainable decent work and development

Statement by Director-General Guy Ryder on the occasion of World Statistics Day 2015.

Statement | 20 October 2015
Today we celebrate the second World Statistics Day under the motto “Better data, better lives” as decided by the UN General Assembly, acknowledging the “fundamental importance of sustainable national statistical capacity to produce reliable and timely statistics and indicators measuring a country´s progress”.

In the world of work, sound data collection is vital for effective policy-making. Without reliable statistics policy-makers are working in the dark. Similarly, employer and worker organizations and other stakeholders need good statistics to back their efforts to influence policy directions. In September the world adopted the ambitious and challenging “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, and so there could not be a better time to celebrate this day. These 17 goals and 169 targets on key aspects of well-being will be monitored by a parallel set of indicators to be adopted in 2016. Delivering on this agenda poses a major challenge for official statistics.

After the Millennium Development Goals process, the 2030 Agenda will once again require enhanced statistics systems at the national, regional and global level in both developing and developed countries. This offers us a unique opportunity that we must seize.

Doing so will mean embracing the so-called “Data Revolution”. We will need to have a broad outreach to gain a better statistical picture. To guide policy-makers we must think innovatively of ways to better capture data, lift the skills of data producers and analysts, and make best use of emerging technologies to bolster their capacities.

Today the ILO commends the huge progress made by many institutions producing labour and decent work statistics around the world, particularly national statistical offices and ministries of labour..

The ILO has long been engaged in efforts to ensure the availability of sound labour statistics to back evidence-based policies, especially by setting international standards through the International Conference of Labour Statisticians. It is a responsibility that requires us to strive constantly to improve. Since the first World Statistics Day in 2010, we have moved forward in adopting new important standards in the core measurement of work, consolidated many databases into a new and expanded corporate database: ILOSTAT , and worked hard to strengthen capacity in all regions. We are playing a key role in defining the monitoring indicators for the 2030 Agenda.

In line with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics approved by the UN General Assembly last year – a milestone accomplishment, the ILO promotes a policy of open data and supports the coordination of statistical efforts with the UN family and the other main actors in the international statistical system.

The ILO stands ready to engage in global partnerships to support this revolution in data, and also to join efforts in mobilizing resources that countries will need to make this new system work.

Today, the ILO celebrates this day with a clear conviction that better labour market data will guide the creation of better jobs leading to better lives.