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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

07 November 2022


Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to deliver the opening remarks to the 7th International Conference on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics.

At the outset, I would like to begin by expressing my sincere appreciation and gratitude to our colleagues in the Statistics Division of the  UN DESA and to Badan Pusat Statistik Indonesia for organizing this important Conference and the ongoing strong collaboration with ESCAP.

This meeting is held at an important time when our world faces many global and local challenges across a wide range of topics, including economic recovery, climate change, health and the environment.

Coordinated action to address shared challenges and to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has become even more important over the last few years, and new and emerging issues demand increasingly timely and flexible data.

'ESCAP'sSDGs Progress report showed widening disparities in the region, and COVID-19 has been a huge challenge for all countries in the Asia-Pacific region and for us all as individuals and communities.

Progress towards the SDGs in the region has slowed as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have exacerbated development challenges. And the region is not progressing well in achieving any of the 17 SDGs.

As the statistical community, we can be proud of our work which makes it possible to not just measure the SDGs but, more importantly, to achieve them.

I am very pleased to see that the availability of data in Asia and the Pacific has sharply increased since the first SDG benchmark report in 2017 – indeed, the number of indicators with sufficient data has almost doubled since then.

This trend testifies to the tremendous effort which has been made to strengthen national statistical systems in the region to respond to the monitoring demands of the 2030 Agenda.

However, there are still very significant data gaps, especially where traditional data are missing. Big data can be part of the solution to help to monitor the SDG indicators.

Big data already permeates many aspects of people’s lives, from daily communication and interactions to shopping and consumption and the medical treatments they receive.

Big data is also transforming the way people and businesses make decisions and measure things. With an invaluable continuous flow of digital information about activities and their impact on society, the economy, and the environment, big data holds tremendous potential for official statistics.

I have been pleased to see the statistical community increasingly turning its attention to new data sources despite numerous legal, technological, and financial challenges.

As it is constantly being collected and generated, big data provides timely, frequent, and granular insights - crucial attributes in critical situations. These timely and detailed data can inform policy and help assess crises' immediate impact on society and the economy.

I am hopeful this Conference will provide an important opportunity to exchange the newest practices in countries and share knowledge of emerging methods and standards for using big data and data science for official statistics.

I am sure your discussions on the way forward to incorporate big data and data science into the standard business processes of statistical organizations will provide an important stepping stone to faster data and statistics and, therefore, responses to the challenges we are currently facing and will be facing in the years ahead.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I wish you a very successful and productive discussion during the Conference.

Thank you for your attention.

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