Interview: Butti Ahmed Mohammed bin Butti Al Qubaisi
How can Abu Dhabi improve its statistical system to put it on par with those in developed countries?
BUTTI AHMED MOHAMMED BIN BUTTI AL QUBAISI: SCAD is eager to develop its statistical system and expand its best practices to all stakeholders. This is done by constant communication and coordination with major stakeholders in the emirate, and by conducting various workshops with our partners to improve awareness of statistics and its critical role in decision-making. This requires implementing IT tools that improve efficiency among numerous organisations when collecting data and administrative records. The recent creation of the International Advisory Committee within SCAD will improve our global presence and enhance coordination with foreign partners by setting standards, procedures and practices within our own entities. Ensuring that we have shared methods with major stakeholders will improve communication and the flow of statistical information.
How is the concept of “eStatistics” being developed? How does a mechanism of this nature impact online integration and the dissemination of data?
AL QUBAISI: We are now embarking on an ambitious programme to streamline the collection of data and the production and dissemination of statistics within Abu Dhabi. On completion, this eStatistics initiative will provide decision-makers in the emirate with relevant, high-quality statistical data in a timely manner. It will involve installing automated systems to collect data from over 65 Abu Dhabi government entities, creating a “single source of truth” for all statistical data related to the emirate and enabling us to produce relevant dashboards. The main objective of the eStatistics project is to centralise, streamline and automate data-collection from all Abu Dhabi government entities. It will involve high-performance data exchange and transformation between enterprise platforms, using extract, transform and load processes to provide continuous access to timely, trusted, heterogeneous data and support both analytical and operational data integration. The end product will deliver consistent, trusted, verifiable information when and where it is needed.
What measures are being taken to ensure the protection of data and the privacy of citizens?
AL QUBAISI: SCAD is charged with providing reliable information for sound decision-making and an understanding of the economic and social status of the emirate. At the same time, it is accountable to the public and to businesses in protecting their identities. Their trust and goodwill in supplying accurate information is crucial to the business of statistics.
We consider privacy and data protection a major issue. We have therefore taken several steps to ensure the confidentiality and integrity, as well as the availability, of data. These include a wide range of initiatives including, but not limited to, the following: implementing information security policies at the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre; adopting ISO 27001, a new leading information security management system; creating and executing SCAD-developed security policies; carrying out backup polices with sophisticated technology; putting in place a business continuity management and disaster recovery plan; and improving necessary network security measures such as intrusion detection, firewalls, data leakage prevention, antivirus software and virtual private networks.
Is there a need for more statistical awareness among the public? What can be done to achieve this?
AL QUBAISI: There is a very strong need to raise statistical awareness within Abu Dhabi and the UAE. It is crucial that we increase the general public’s ability to interpret and critically evaluate statistical information.
Data and statistics are part of everyday life, informing all aspects of the working world. Decisions made on the basis of data can have a major impact on people’s lives.
It is therefore important that we hold constant communication with various stakeholders to conduct programmes to improve public awareness of statistics.
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