ESCWA opened the ninth session of its Statistical Committee at the UN House in Beirut. The end of the Committee's deliberations on Friday 15 October, with celebrations of the first World Statistics Day, at the UN House under the patronage of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Opening statements were delivered by Director of ESCWA Information and Communication Technology Division Youssef Nusseir, representing Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf, and Representative of Sudan, which chaired the eighth session of the Committee, Marial Mabeny Bawuor. Bawuor announced that the chairmanship of the ninth session will be handed over to Iraq, represented in the meeting by Deputy Minister of Planning and Head of the Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology, Mahdi Alaq.
"We live in the information age and statistics is in the centre of information flows," Nusseir said in his statement, adding that demand for reliable and timely information increases fast, while resources are more or less stable. He added that new methods and techniques for data capture, processing and dissemination help us to address the growing challenges. Nusseir went on to say that the ESCWA Statistics Division plays a dual role, serving two distinct groups of clients "The first role is to build statistical capacity in member countries. This involves assistance in building institutional frameworks of national statistics, in the implementation of international statistical standards and in the exchange of experience and expertise. The other role is to serve the data users. These users are other ESCWA divisions, other international organizations and the readers of ESCWA publications."
The Statistical Committee elected Qatar as first vice-chairman, while Egypt was chosen for the position of second vice-chairman and Palestine for Rapporteur.
The Committee gathers experts in statistics, and concerned officials from member countries who will discuss strategic issues related to statistics in the ESCWA region, capacity-building in this area, the follow-up to the implementation of statistics-related activities in the context of the ESCWA work programme, and other matters.
ESCWA holds a special session to celebrate the World Statistics Day on Friday 15 October 2010 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The session features statements by representatives of ESCWA Executive Secretary, Lebanese Prime Minister, and official statistics users and producers in the ESCWA region. Awards will be handed during the session to representatives of statistical offices in member countries.