by Martine Durand, OECD Chief Statistician and Director of the OECD Statistics Directorate
This article is featured in the Development Co-operation Report 2017: Data for Development to be released on 17 October 2017. Read the report and find out more about data for development.
In an era of fake news and alternative facts, statisticians have a special responsibility. As the custodians of the evidence base for policy making, they must stand up for the right of all citizens to true, reliable and accessible information.
This is especially the case in the development field, and even more so since world leaders adopted the extraordinarily ambitious and wide-ranging 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. At the heart of this global “plan of action for people, planet and prosperity” are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that “are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental”, with the ultimate objective to leave no one behind. Achieving the SDGs will require informed choices about priorities and strategies, and for this we will need a better evidence base than we have today.
But statisticians – and especially statisticians in developing countries – cannot do this job alone.