DESA News Vol. 12, No. 09 September 2008

Technical cooperation

Ageing in the Kyrgyz Republic

Workshop in Bishkek starting 15 September to focus on operationalizing newly-minted national policy on ageing

Experts from DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development will head to Bishkek from 15 to 19 September to assist the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection in finalizing a draft national policy and law on ageing for the Kyrgyz Republic. Organized as a workshop, the initiative sees representatives from various government agencies and NGOs providing input on timetables, partnerships, and resources required to operationalize the policy with an implementation plan. The draft policy is the result of a four year effort that began with a needs assessment by DESA in 2004 and included a lengthy consultative process involving national ministries and civil society organizations.

The countries of Central Asia face particular challenges in addressing demographic shifts principally due to the continuing transition to democratic political systems and a market economy. The population of the Kyrgyz Republic is expected to increase in coming decades, and consequently will see an expansion of its national labour force. This in turn should make a comprehensive old-age pension scheme more viable than in some other countries of the region. Nonetheless, the extent of the informal economy in all transition countries, including the Kyrgyz Republic, is such that the ratio of pension beneficiaries to contributors is relatively high, which can put undue stress on the working age population and the pension schemes they support.

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Earthquake safety in Asia-Pacific

DESA regional development centre holds September awareness-raising workshops for communities in Fiji and Uzbekistan

The DESA Division for Public Administration and Development Management, through its UN Centre for Regional Development office in Hyogo, Japan, will hold two workshops in September on school earthquake safety in the Asia-Pacific region. The first will take place in Suva, Fiji on 9-10 September, and the second in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from 18-19 September.

Like other infrastructure, school buildings are subject to damage and collapse in the event of an earthquake. An unsafe school in a seismic region can incur the loss of the lives of hundreds of school children in addition to the potential damage to the property. On the other hand, a safer school can save valuable lives of children, provide a safe haven for the local community, serve as a temporary shelter and help to bring normalcy back to society in times of disaster. In addition, the process of making schools safe against earthquakes propagates the seismic safety message to communities. The initiative to make schools safer against earthquakes not only protects school children, but also educates local communities to protect themselves.

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Census experts talk technology with Asian statisticians

Innovations in statistical data collection will be highlighted at Bangkok workshop from 15 to 19 September

The DESA Statistics Division will hold a regional workshop on census data processing in cooperation with ESCAP from 15 to 19 September. The training event will be held in Bangkok. Those attending will hear about international standards for conducting population and housing censuses and explore the significant capabilities of contemporary technology for data capture and editing. Optical character recognition, internet data collection, and the use of handheld devices will be featured.

Population and housing censuses are one of the main sources of data for effective development planning and objective decision- making. Recognizing the value of reliable demographic data, the Economic and Social Council is encouraging every country to conduct a census at least once between 2005 and 2014.

The Statistics Division is supporting the Council’s initiative, formally known as the 2010 World Population and Housing Census Programme, by developing census methodological guidelines, facilitating exchange of experience, and assisting countries in improving their statistical capacity in census-taking. The Bangkok session is the fourth in a series of workshops held this year. The first took place in Noumea in February, the second in Doha in May, and the third in Dar es Salaam in June.

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