For Georges-Simon Ulrich, World Statistics Day 2020 is closely connected to the UN World Data Forum.


by Georges-Simon Ulrich,
Director General of the Swiss Federal Statistical Office

15 October 2020

World Statistics Day on 20 October is particularly important to me this year. The theme of this year's edition, “Connecting the world with data we can trust”, is without doubt closely connected to what the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO) had originally planned for this occasion - to organise the UN World Data Forum, which is now a virtual event that starts on the 19th and finishes on the 21st October.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, and in agreement with the United Nations, Switzerland has postponed organisation of the forum in Bern to next year. As organisers of the event, we see new opportunities in this postponement; for this reason, a virtual forum has been organised to connect all the countries who would have come to Bern, to strengthen their ties.

In a time of fake news and coronavirus, official statistics need such events to find the best possible solutions to today’s challenges, making data we can fully trust more important than ever. You could even say that without reliable data, decision making is impossible. Covid-19 has shown us that all countries need to be closely connected to face this challenge.

In this period of great uncertainty, alongside the role mentioned above, it should be pointed out that official statistics have to play a greater part in data management and the understanding of methodology in the development process of data generated products. A better communication and explanation of this knowledge to the public is also essential. This is the best remedy for uncertainty!

It is with great interest, therefore, that my Office and the entire federal administration will take an active part in this virtual edition of the World Data Forum with the goal of preparing the UN World Data Forum 2021, which will be held from 3rd to 6th October 2021 in the Swiss capital. I am also impatient for the big day to arrive. In the meantime, the FSO and the federal administration will continue to organise a number of activities at Swiss and international level, in the “Road to Bern” project.