President's Column

Blog by ISI President Xuming He – February 2024

29 February 2024

This week I had the privilege of attending the 55th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC), alongside ISI President-Elect Fabrizio Ruggeri and ISI Director Conchita Kleijweg. On Monday, February 26, the ISI hosted a side event in the UN Headquarters to deliberate on the state of the ISI Academy. I am delighted to report that the event was a great success by all measures, drawing a diverse audience of almost 50 attendees representing various stakeholders.


Fabrizio chaired the meeting, and Conchita gave a compelling presentation on the vision and guiding principles of the ISI Academy, emphasizing the importance of partnership in our efforts to accomplish more in statistical capacity development. Representatives from the World Bank and the Statistical Capacity Management Section at the UN voiced their endorsement of the ISI Academy and challenged all of us to identify priority areas where we can make tangible changes in capacity building with limited resources. The event concluded with a lively discussion among delegates from many parts of the world. My takeaway from the event is that many potential partners of the ISI Academy view the ISI as a frontrunner in regional and global statistical capacity development. The resounding support for demand-driven and interdisciplinary ISI Academy activities underscores a clear mandate for action.


As we know, capacity building is a strategic priority of the ISI. We need to redouble our efforts in securing sponsorship, mobilizing our human and intellectual resources, and fostering collaboration with all stakeholders to amplify our impact. I would like to thank the ISI Capacity Building Committee, under the leadership of Oliver Chinganya and Mathew Shearing, for their hard work in driving our mission forward, one step at a time.


Photo 1: Fabrizio Ruggeri and Conchita Kleijweg at the UNSC side event on ISI Academy 



Returning to the ongoing session at the UNSC, I am eager to share the ISI’s contribution to the discussion and the drafting of the "Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics: Report of the Secretary-General," Document E/CN.3/2024/2. Notably, several ISI members have been nominated to serve on the proposed Independent Advisory Board on the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics.


For many years, the ISI has been a partner of institutional statistics at global and national levels, playing a crucial role in fostering, advocating, and managing professional ethics and best practices. This partnership is explicitly expressed in the Terms of Reference of the document.


I delivered oral comments at the plenary session of the UNSC on February 27 on behalf of the ISI. I reaffirmed our support for the establishment of an independent advisory board on the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and highlighted the complementary work being carried out by the ISI Advisory Board on Ethics currently chaired by Walter Radermacher. When addressing the imperative of implementation and compliance with the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, I made a specific reference to a strategy centered more on empowerment than enforcement because empowerment will foster better compliance. Empowerment includes the dissemination and promotion of ethical values and principles through statistical education and training in the spirit of capacity building, as well as collaborative efforts with stakeholders such as Paris21, the UN, and the ISI Academy. This is the approach the ISI is and will be taking.


Photo 2: Xuming He at the 55th Session of UNSC



There is a lot more to report from New York City, and we will keep our members informed through various channels in the days and weeks to come. Stay tuned.


Xuming He
ISI President