The global COVID-19 crisis is affecting critical operations across the entire global statistical system. National and international statistical organizations need to take immediate action to ensure the continuity of key statistical compilation activities and the continued availability of data to inform emergency mitigation actions by governments and all sectors of society.
Senior management in statistical organizations are working together with their own front-line managers and IT teams, and with partners at the national and global levels, to deal with the current emergency. This includes:
Stakeholders from across the global statistical community are ready to support National Statistical Offices to address multiple challenges of the current crisis. As part of this effort, the United Nations Statistics Division is leading a collaborative effort with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and Open Data Watch, to develop this website to share guidance, best practices, information resources and tools to help statistical organizations function during an emergency situation in which most of their staff is suddenly unable to work on-site.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out, national statistical offices (NSOs) around the world acted to suspend face-to-face interviews and asked staff to work from home, even though many lacked adequate technology for remote work.
South Korea’s success in combating COVID-19 certainly has many lessons to offer to the rest of the world, so has its national statistical system. When the first shock of COVID-19 hit the country between early March to mid-April in 2020, Statistics Korea (KOSTAT) was at its busiest time preparing for a number of household surveys such as the household finances and living conditions survey and employment survey.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a major challenge for household survey programs, as the health risks posed by the virus and associated restrictions disrupted traditional face-to-face survey operations in many countries. According to a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on national statistical offices conducted by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the World Bank in May 2020, 96 percent of National Statistical Offices (NSOs) had partially or fully stopped face-to-face data collection.
As various global restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic continue, so do disruptions to the operations of National Statistical Offices. This comes at a time when data remain key to inform evidence-based policymaking that addresses the manifold public health, economic, and social challenges countries face.
The World Bank and the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD), in coordination with the five UN Regional Commissions, are conducting a global online survey to assess the impact of the coronavirus crisis on statistical offices, and to identify needs for financial and technical support.
The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage countries across the world taking a heavy toll, with more than 25 million cases and over 750,000 deaths globally as of this writing. Most countries are still under some restrictions to limit the spread of the virus and continue to operate in emergency mode. National statistical systems also continue to face tremendous challenges as a result of the crisis at a time when data are more urgently needed than ever to inform critical interventions to save lives, restart the economy and address the long-term impact of the pandemic.
Jenna Slotin, from the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, discusses with Dr. Awad how the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) is coordinating national COVID-19 data collection, production and dissemination efforts while responding to the operational challenges of the pandemic. Dr. Awad underlines the importance of working with stakeholders within and outside government to set priorities and to ensure that the National Statistical Office is fully integrated into policy making.
In an effort to support national statistical offices and partners around the world during the outbreak of COVID-19, the United Nations Statistics Division has launched a conducting a series of interviews with representatives at the front lines of national statistical systems responding to the pandemic. Professor Samuel Annim, in conversation with Deirdre Appel from Open Data Watch, shares his thoughts and experiences on the response of Ghana Statistical Service to the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
As the world tackles the spread of COVID-19 and its unprecedented impacts on economies, societies and the environment, we are all stepping into unknown territory. Everybody, from politicians to parents, from newly unemployed workers to nurses, from supermarket cashiers to schoolchildren in front of computer screens, faces great uncertainty. But not everything is unknown. We can arm ourselves with facts to navigate through this uncertainty, guiding decisions and informing plans.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has exacted a heavy toll, with more than 6 million cases worldwide and nearly 400,000 deaths from COVID-19 as of this writing. Much of the world remains on lockdown, adding loss of livelihood and financial suffering to the grave health impacts of the virus.