Improving data quality to inform Georgia’s pandemic response

UNDP and Sweden assist National Statistical Office, GEOSTAT, to upgrade its ICT system and data security

March 10, 2021

Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP

Reliable and credible statistics are essential as Georgia fights the COVID-19 pandemic and addresses the economic and social consequences of the crisis. Aiming to assist the National Statistical Office of Georgia, GEOSTAT, in adjusting to new realities, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a ten-month programme focused on the key areas that require priority support.

The programme will help GEOSTAT to improve digital data collection, enhance data security, increase public trust in official statistics and provide easy access to information across all social groups, including vulnerable and marginalised populations.

The initiative is funded by the Government of Sweden under broader support to democratic reforms in Georgia.   

“GEOSTAT is responding to the emerging challenges by reforming its operation and introducing new approaches to data collection,” said GEOSTAT Executive Director Gogita Todradze. “A robust national system of statistics will assist Georgia in finding timely solutions to pandemic challenges and move forward in implementing the sustainable development agenda.”

During the COVID-19 lockdown, GEOSTAT moved data collection online, replacing face-to-face interviews with online surveys. Working in emergency mode has heightened pressure on the infrastructure related to Information and Communication Technology (ICT), revealing an urgent need to modernise digital systems, retrain staff, introduce new analytical tools for big data processing and enhance data security.

With UNDP support, GEOSTAT will develop new ICT and data security policies and launch a training programme for up to 40 employees. A Georgian speech recognition software will be integrated into the public website to adapt it to the needs of people with visual impairments.

In addition, GEOSTAT will conduct a series of discussions with representatives of state agencies, local governments, academic institutions, business and media to build public trust in official statistics.

“Reliable data are more urgently needed than ever to save lives, restart the economy and address the long-term impact of the pandemic,” said UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “With our support, GEOSTAT will be able to continue its vital work, responding to national data needs and helping Georgia to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Support provided by UNDP and Sweden builds on the achievements of a previous initiative in 2019 when GEOSTAT introduced a sweeping package of reforms shaped around quality, relevance and professionalism in data collection, processing and dissemination. UNDP and Sweden continue to assist GEOSTAT in implementing Georgia’s first four-year strategy for the national statistics systems (2020-2023) that incorporates comprehensive recommendations received from international partners, including the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

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