Reading the numbers for development

Census taking in Sudan (UNPhoto/Tim McKulka)

The UN Statistics Division (UNSD) within DESA is engaged in the work of collecting, analyzing and presenting the data from which many of the policy decisions which affect our lives are made. While the operations of the UNSD often relate directly to UN activities, it also works closely with national governments and addresses regional development aims. This week we draw attention to two such initiatives in Sri Lanka and Ethiopia.

Held on 19-23 September in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the Workshop on National Adaption of CensusInfo is organized by UNSD and the Department of Census and Statistics of Sri Lanka. CensusInfo is a software developed by UNSD in collaboration with UNICEF and UNFPA, to facilitate effective dissemination of census data. 

The event will demonstrate CensusInfo’s capabilities, and a number of training activities will be organized. Participants will learn various processes involved in the adaptation of CensusInfo, including the preparation of CensusInfo template and database, importing data, language translation and customization of the software package.

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the UN Regional Seminar on Census Data Archiving meets on 20-23 September, bringing together more than 30 participants from 21 countries in Africa. Working with the UN Economic Commission for Africa, UNSD is providing this forum as a way of sharing of national practices and experiences in archiving census data.

The Seminar provides a basis for assessing existing national archiving strategies and technologies used. The major issues in archiving census data, and the challenges to designing and maintaining a national archive plan will be also discussed.

Recently describing the importance of this ongoing work, Sha Zukang, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General, said that “strengthening national statistical capacity worldwide so that all countries have reliable data on economic and social issues must remain our highest priority.” The coming weeks continue to be busy for UNSD, as throughout September and October meetings are being held across the world, in Vilnius, Baku, New York and Beijing.

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