On the World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy in Istanbul (June 2007) the Istanbul Declaration has been adopted by the representatives of the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.
This declaration creates a dynamic to measure societal progress through statistical indicators.
Excerpt from the Declaration:
“A culture of evidence-based decision making has to be promoted at all levels, to increase the welfare of societies. And in the “information age,” welfare depends in part on transparent and accountable public policy making. The availability of statistical indicators of economic, social, and environmental outcomes and their dissemination to citizens can contribute to promoting good governance and the improvement of democratic processes.”
“Official statistics are a key “public good” that foster the progress of societies. The development of indicators of societal progress offers an opportunity to reinforce the role of national statistical authorities as key providers of relevant, reliable, timely and comparable data and the indicators required for national and international reporting.
We encourage governments to invest resources to develop reliable data and indicators according to the “Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics” adopted by the United Nations in 1994.
To take this work forward we need to:
• encourage communities to consider for themselves what “progress” means in the 21st century;
• share best practices on the measurement of societal progress and increase the awareness of the need to do so using sound and reliable methodologies;
• stimulate international debate, based on solid statistical data and indicators, on both global issues of societal progress and comparisons of such progress;
• produce a broader, shared, public understanding of changing conditions, while highlighting areas of significant change or inadequate knowledge;
• advocate appropriate investment in building statistical capacity, especially in developing countries, to improve the availability of data and indicators needed to guide development programs and report on progress toward international goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals.”
Here is the Istanbul Declaration (full text).
Several presentations provide some more insight into this:
So OECD’s Chief Statistician Enrico Giovannini, The Way Forward
And from the same author: The future of statistical offices in the knowledge society
From “statistique” to “sociestique”.
Closing the conference. The speech of Enrico Giovannini