PARIS21 held its 2019 Cross Regional Forum from 28 to 29 October, with this year's edition exploring the multifaceted, multidisciplinary issue of trust in official statistics.

The Forum, titled “Building Trust in Official Statistics: What’s New for National Statistical Systems?”, brought together more than 50 participants from around the globe representing national statistical offices (NSOs), academia, journalism and media, civil society and the private sector to discuss the methods, challenges and importance of building trust in statistics. The two-day event was also streamed live online by around 600 viewers in 40 countries.

Featured keynote speakers included International Association for Official Statistics President and former National Statistician of the United Kingdom John Pullinger, as well as University of Pennsylvania Professor Sophia Rosenfeld. PARIS21 Executive Head Johannes Jütting introduced Rosenfeld as a welcome guest from outside the statistical community, anticipating that her keynote would provide "some thoughts outside the box" on data, truth and trust in society.

Panelists offered diverse perspectives on what “trust in data” has meant throughout history, what it means today and what it means for the future. NSOs shared experiences of trust-building efforts in their countries and expressed their outlooks on how to increase the resonance of official statistics with citizens.

"In order to enhance trust, we need more and better data."       - Silvina Viazzi                    Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC) - Argentina

Group problem-solving exercises helped reveal some common trends in identifying factors which may lead to a breakdown in trust of official data, such as a lack of statistical literacy training in media and educational institutions, insufficient support for national statistical systems, and the need to communicate statistics in ways which relate to the public and account for subjective characteristics.

The event concluded with the launch of PARIS21’s 2020 Trust Initiative, a country-centric project to incubate and implement innovative solutions in official statistics, supporting national statistical systems in low- and middle-income countries in building and maintaining trust.

The livestream recording, presentations and a photo gallery from the 2019 Cross Regional Forum are available here.

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