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SOUTH AFRICA HOSTS THE FIRST UN WORLD DATA FORUM The first UN World Data Forum will be hosted by Statistics South Africa from 15 to 18 January 2017, with support from the Statistics Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, under the guidance of the United Nations Statistical Commission and the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Statistics is a conduit of trust that creates the possibility for, and can in fact facilitate, global peace, progress and prosperity. Society in its entirety should understand the value and beauty of statistics, and that without society as collective respondents and purveyors and actors on data, without statistics and measurement, without high-quality statistical evidence, without appropriate indicators to communicate the evidence, without informed issue identification and informed policy action for results and remedy, and without the statisticians themselves, the world would not have an information system the implementation of coherent, sustainable development. Under the auspices of the United Nations, the first World Data Forum, as agreed by the United Nations Statistical Commission, has a number of strengths that can be leveraged to deliver meaningful outcomes. The involvement of the network of national statistical offices that the UN Statistical Commission works with will be significant. We have the support of UN system organisations with large-scale data capacity e.g. the World Bank and UNICEF, and the UN Statistics Division that is acting as the secretariat for the Forum. Many of the major players in the data field are affiliated in some way with the UN. The UN is a major connector among all these players, and the Forum can draw on that. The fact that the Forum arises out of an agreement by the UN Statistical Commission gives us a strong link to the mechanisms to ensure good and appropriate data governance. The UN Statistical Commission is the body that will ultimately decide on how to integrate new data sources, how to protect privacy and confidentiality and how to set the necessary new standards. It also gives us a close link to the Sustainable Development Goals indicator process and the challenges we face to find out-of-the-box ways to use statistics and data and fill in the data gaps to measure progress on all the 169 targets and guide policy decisions needed to achieve them. The link with the UN and the Commission will be a key value-added element in drawing people to collaborate and deliver results in Cape Town, since there is every possibility that those ideas, those initiatives, those solutions will wind up reflected in the UN SDG process. Excerpt from an interview with Dr Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General and Head of Statistics South Africa. For more information and to pre-register go to

PSM December/January Edition 2016/2017