Statistics and Data Directorate

Statistics, Knowledge and Policy: Key Indicators to Inform Decision Making


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In today's rapidly changing, increasingly interdependent world, productive debate and policy decisions require trustworthy, comparable, and understandable statistical information. As the number of data sources, both official and unofficial, is increasing dramatically, there is a clear need to centralise reliable and high quality information from the governmental, scientific and commercial sectors, making it easily accessible and interpretable.  While there are numerous national efforts to develop and sustain indicator systems for developing countries, there exists no co-ordinated worldwide effort to study their implications for OECD countries.

The Statistics, Knowledge and Policy Forum was policy-oriented, rather than technical in nature. It brought together high-level statistical policy makers from governments, experts from academia and international organisations, journalists, and decision makers from the business community. The objective of the Forum was to compare various approaches towards the development of key indicator systems which would provide reliable information spanning the social, economic and environmental domains. Beyond implementing an indicator system, the main challenge appears to be the way such a system is used by policy makers and the public at large and how decisions can be made based on this information.

This publication contains the proceedings of the World Forum on Key Indicators held in Palermo in November 2004.  In it, statisticians from governmental statistical offices, international organisations, and academia explain why indicator systems are useful and how statistics can be used, how to implement systems related to different kinds of statistics, and what systems are already in place.  This conference was the first co-ordinated world wide effort to study the development and implications of large-scale systems of public information for developed countries.

Table of contents

  • Keynote Speeches
  • National Case Studies
  • Improving Economic Indicators
  • Measuring the Environment
  • Statistics for Society
  • The Information Society: Measurement Issues and the Impact on Policy Making
  • Measuring the Effectiveness of Public Services
  • Regional Indicators and Fund Allocation
  • Planning for the Future
  • Indicators and Benchmarking
  • Cross Country Comparisons
  • Politics and Statistics
  • The Role of Central Banks
  • The Role of Civil Society
  • Making Governments Accountable
  • Advocacy, Numeracy, and the Role of Media

Additional Resources including the Knowledge Base are available Online


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