Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    12 October 2010

    The importance of statistics to be marked by United Nations Organizations in Vienna for the first Observance of World Statistics Day

    VIENNA, 12 October (UN Information Service) - Tomorrow (13 October 2010) the United Nations agencies based in Vienna along with the Austrian national statistics office will begin the celebrations to mark the forthcoming World Statistics Day (20 October 2010) with the official opening of an exhibition on statistics at the Vienna International Centre (VIC).

    Designated by the United Nations General Assembly, World Statistics Day which will be internationally marked for the first time on 20 October 2010, highlights the importance of statistics in shaping our societies.

    At the Vienna International Centre (VIC) on 13 October the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Office for Drug and Crime (UNODC) together with Statistics Austria, the Austrian national statistical office, will unveil an exhibition which presents a variety of statistical information, publications and services produced by these institutions.

    The exhibition will be officially opened by the Executive Director of UNODC and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, Yury Fedotov, the Director-General of UNIDO, Kandeh K. Yumkella, the Director of the IAEA's Division of Nuclear Power, Jong Kyun Park (on behalf of the Director General the IAEA, Yukiya Amano) and the Director of "Population Statistics" at Statistics Austria (STAT) and President of the Austrian Statistical Society, Werner Holzer. The Chief Statistician of UNIDO, Shyam Upadhyaya and the Chief of Statistics and Surveys Section of UNODC, Angela Me will also be taking part in the event.

    The media are invited to the opening of the exhibition and reception at 11am on Wednesday 13 October in the Rotunda, Vienna International Centre.

    The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message for the day, stresses the crucial role of statistics in fulfilling the UN's global mission of development and peace. Statistics permeate modern life, he says, and provide information and insight about the trends and forces that affect our lives.

    "Statistics are a vital tool for economic and social development, including our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. For development to succeed, we need data collection and statistical analysis of poverty levels, access to education and the incidence of disease. Statistics are a central consideration in justifying almost every aspect of budgets and programmes that enable hungry children to be fed or that provide shelter and emergency health care for victims of natural disasters," said Ban Ki-moon.

    For the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) Member States, authoritative energy statistics are essential for successful policies to expand energy access while reducing costs and environmental impacts. For countries interested in nuclear power, statistics such as those in the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS) of the IAEA help ensure well informed evidence-based choices.

    Examples of IAEA statistics

    • There are 441 nuclear power reactors in operation worldwide with a total net installed capacity of 375 GW(e) and 60 nuclear power reactors are under construction.
    • Nuclear power generated 13.8 per cent of the world's electricity in 2009.
    • In North America there are 2559 radiotherapy centres for cancer treatment, compared to 114 in all of Africa.

    The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) maintains an industrial statistics database and disseminates high quality data on industrial growth and structure worldwide. Access to UNIDO databases has helped many countries around the world to set their industrial development agenda and to compare their performance with other countries. UNIDO industrial statistics which measure progress on productivity, innovation and technology, are used globally by research institutes and others working in the field of industrial development.

    Examples of UNIDO statistics

    • Although industrialized countries still produce more than two-thirds of world manufacturing output, the share of developing countries has grown significantly due to their high growth rates. The average annual growth rate of developing countries for the last 15 years was six per cent compared to little more than one per cent in industrialized countries.
    • The recent economic crisis caused severe decline in industrial production of industrialized countries. Its effect was relatively mild in developing countries in terms of industrial production. However, both group of countries were equally affected by the job losses in the manufacturing sector.
    • Closure of a manufacturing plant producing one million United States dollars net output in an industrialized country would result in the loss of eight jobs, but in a developing country it could layoff as many as 67 people.

    The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) regularly publishes statistical information on the situation of illicit drugs and crime worldwide. Its statistics are essential to understand the evolution of illicit drug markets and the level of drug use in the world. UNODC data is also a unique source for measuring the level of crime worldwide. This knowledge continues to drive the national and international debates and policies on how to combat drugs and crime. UNODC also supports countries to strengthen their capacity to improve the quality and availability of their drug and crime statistics. Examples of statistical products developed by UNODC include survey reports on the cultivation and production of illicit drugs such as the recently published Afghan Opium Survey 2010 Summary Findings, corruption, crime victimization surveys; analysis of trends in the world drug situation (included in the annual World Drug Report), and a global database on conventional crimes.

    Examples of UNODC statistics

    • The total number of homicides in the world is about half the number of suicides.
    • The area under coca cultivation in 2009 (158,800 hectares) was as big as the area of Greater London (157,900 hectares).
    • Between 16 and 38 million people were problem drug users in 2008.

    Statistics Austria, the leading provider of information services in Austria, produces high quality statistics as well as analyses which give a comprehensive and objective picture of the Austrian economic and social situation. Its work, used by policymakers and the Austrian Government, includes statistics on population, labour market, education, agriculture, trade, transport, environment, national accounts and prices (for example the Consumer Price Index and inflation figures). Statistics Austria's work or publications like the 'Demographic Yearbook', the monthly magazine 'Statistische Nachrichten' and the annually published booklet 'Austria. Data. Figures. Facts' will be on display at the exhibition. Statistics Austria which has been celebrating 'Official Statistics Day' for several years, will be holding a symposium on 'Flash Statistics - Statistics between velocity and quality' on 20 October.

    Examples of Statistics Austria statistics

    • 8,375,290 people were living in Austria at the beginning of 2010, about 17.8 per cent of the population are first or second generation immigrants.
    • In the first half of 2010, both Austrian imports and exports rose by about 12 per cent compared to the same period in 2009. Seventy two point six per cent of imports to Austria come from other European Union countries.
    • According to results of the Time Use Survey 2008/09, 92 per cent of Austrian women and 72 per cent of Austrian men spend time on household activities during an average weekday. For leisure activities and social contacts, four and a quarter hours daily are used during the week, and six and a half hours at the weekend.

    The exhibition in the VIC to mark World Statistics Day will highlight the many achievements of official statistics and the core values of service, integrity and professionalism in providing unbiased, transparent and relevant statistics to the public and the policy makers. It runs from 13-19 October and can be viewed as part of the guided tours of the VIC, organized by the United Nations Information Service Visitors Service.

    The three United Nations agencies and Statistics Austria will also be holding an interagency seminar on contemporary statistics topics on 14 October in the VIC with speakers from all four organizations.

    * *** *

    Media interested in attending the event need to register by writing to: by 11 am Tuesday 12 October 2010.

    For further information contact:

    Anne Thomas
    Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5588