Truth in Numbers…

As I write, we are just a week away from the 2018 PARIS21 Annual Meetings, which we are particularly excited about this year.

This year’s meetings will not take place as usual in the conference centre of the OECD, our host organisation, but instead in the Swiss capital of Bern, jointly co-organised with the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. We are very grateful to them for their financial and organisational support. This is especially true for the public conference on 4 April, where we expect some 250 participants. Over the years, Switzerland has significantly increased its engagement in PARIS21, which greatly contributes to the country’s foreign policy objectives.

This year’s meetings standout because of the topic. The 4 April conference, entitled “Trust in numbers….”, will address the role and misuse of data and statistics in today’s attention-focused economies. While the current debate about post-truth, echo-chambers and statistical bullsh*t seems to focus mainly on western nations, it is relevant for all countries, including the developing ones where PARIS21 is engaged. For many of these countries, the digital and data revolution are changing every aspect of society at a rapid pace. And while many opportunities arise, so do risks.

When it comes to privacy, confidentiality, quality of information and the handling of misinformation, many of our client countries have even more difficultly than developed economies due to rudimentary institutional and legal frameworks coupled with the limited capacity to counter and fight the spread of fake news. The risk of societies becoming increasingly polarised is real.

Trust in data and information is fundamental for our work. We hope this year’s conference will serve as an opportunity for the statistical community to re-affirm its role, alongside others, in combatting the misuse of data, facts and information. For those who can make it, see you in Bern!

Johannes


To join us for the conference, please register at: "Truth in numbers: the role of data in a world of fact, fiction and everything in between"

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