Two days of discussion between the users and the producers of statistics in the ENP-South countries
The workshop took place in Athens on 22-23 March 2017 and was a unique opportunity for high level statisticians from the statistical offices of the ENP-South countries to confront the tools they developed to reach out their users with the needs and requirements from these users.
Journalists, researchers and programmes officers from EU-MED programmes and initiatives told the statisticians their part of the story, illustrating the relations they experienced with statistics and statisticians with concrete examples. They called for more open and transparent relations and for more easy-to-read, easy-to understand statistical products. They militated for developing collaborative works and for multiplying “co-productions” between them and the statisticians, each partner bringing in a common outcome its own perspective and technicality, thus enriching this outcome.
The statisticians answered with promises to engage more with their users, to improve their capacities for attractive dissemination and genuine dialogue and to re-think their production process at the light of the demand from the users. They also acknowledged the dramatic changes that have been brought to traditional dissemination and data accessibility tools with the rapid development of the social media. They asked the MEDSTAT IV project to support their efforts in designing and implementing more comprehensive and articulated communication strategies that could encompass the various aspects of the relations with the users discussed during the workshop. They also highlighted their need for better mastering new techniques of data visualisation that may be useful for various dissemination channels such as interactive web-sites and mobile applications.
Both partners acknowledged the importance of this type of meeting which allows a useful sharing of experiences and of perspectives regarding statistics and their role in our democratic societies. An initial step in bridging the gap.
Statistics on external trade are in high demand as they reflect the comparative advantage and the competitiveness of countries in our highly interconnected world. But, in order to be useful in international comparison, external trade statistics must comply with international norms and when these norms change, the statistical system must react and adjust as quickly as possible.
New concepts and definitions for the International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) have been discussed and adopted by the UN-Statistical Commission in February 2010. New guidelines have been issues and circulated for adapting the statistical production to the new standards and countries have started implementing them. If some of the recommendations are straight forward other may cause some troubles to the statisticians. The ENP-South countries have decided to share their experience in this area in a workshop, organised by the MEDSTAT IV project, which will be held in Brussels on March 28-30, 2017.
Representatives from the statistical institutes and from other institutions involved in the compilation of external trade statistics from the ENP-S countries will meet and work around technical presentations made by a representative from the UN Statistical Department, in charge of the international harmonisation of practices in this area, and by a representative of the “Office des Changes” in Morocco, a country where the compliance with the new standards is already very high.
MEDSTAT IV: towards a fruitful dialogue between the producers and the users of statistics. A workshop to exchange views and bring them closer from each other.
What does this statistical data mean exactly? How far can I trust it?
Using statistics often implies asking yourselves this kind of question as the work of a statistician is based on conventions that may result in complex concepts, methods, tools and processes and, as a consequence, is largely unknown by the neophytes whom most of the users are. Producers and users of statistics speak different languages but they need to talk to understand each other and to better collaborate for the benefit of all.
This is the objective of the workshop that will be organised in Athens by the MEDSTAT IV project on March 22-23, 2017, to make these two groups talk to each other. Representatives from specific groups of users of statistics, such as researchers, journalists, experts from EU-MED programmes and initiatives will be asked to tell their stories regarding the relations they developed with statistics and statisticians. On the other hand, the statisticians will be asked to explain what they do to engage with their users and to reach them out. From this dialogue should emerge concrete recommendations for the identification of activities that the project could carry out in order to make the relation better between the users and the producers of statistics in the ENP-S countries and to improve the quality and relevance of the statistical data that are produced and disseminated.
Will participate in the workshop experts from the ENP-S statistical offices, from the statistical institutes of EU member states (ELSTAT-Greece, HSK-Hungary, Statistics Lithuania), Turkstat-Turkey and Eurostat as well as representatives from the Luxembourg Income Studies (LIS), the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMET), the European Training Foundation (ETF), the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the EuroMed Transport Support Project and the OPEN Media Hub.