"There are lies, there are half truths but there are also transparent clean honest statistics" says one of the posters on display at the Vienna International Centre in an exhibition just opened in advance of World Statistics Day.
Three of the United Nations agencies based in Vienna including United Nations Information Services (UNIS) Vienna along with Statistics Austria have teamed up to mark the forthcoming World Statistics Day, which will be observed on 20 October 2010. World Statistics Day highlights the importance of statistics in shaping our societies. Mr. Fedotov spoke of the importance of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) statistics to understand how the illicit drug market evolves and to measure criminal activity around the world. “The information we provide drives national, regional and international debates and policies on tackling drugs and crime,” he said.
The exhibition showcases the variety of statistical information, publications and services produced by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and UNODC, together with Statistics Austria, the Austrian national statistical office.
The Director-General of UNIDO, Kandeh K. Yumkella, reminded staff of the Charter of the United Nations and the philosophy behind it, saying “We are here to push for prosperity, to create stability, to create a world without poverty.” He continued, “The data we collect about poverty, is not to keep poverty, but to finish the fight against poverty. We are not here to secure our jobs.”
Mr. Yumkella also spoke about how the Vienna-based UN organiz-ations and agencies were trying to harmonize their efforts and integrate their work. At a recent meeting of the heads of the Vienna-based organizations he had joked that if UNIDO and the IAEA did not do their work properly then it would mean more work for UNODC in terms of fighting crime.
The Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Power, Jong Kyun Park, on behalf of the Director-General of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, said that at the IAEA good statistics was essential for getting things right, whether it was the right radiation dose when treating cancer or excellent quality control at a nuclear power plant. “Good stat- istics and the men and women who produce them deserve to be celebrated,” he said. Around 100 staff, diplomats and statisticians agreed with this sentiment by attending the opening of the exhi- bition. Their support was appreciated by the Chief of Statistics and Surveys Section of UNODC, Angela Me who thanked the speakers for coming and said that it was great to have their endorsement for a profession based on impartiality, relevance and objectivity.