Census preparation consultations with global census experts in Nay Pyi Taw
Approximately 26 officials representing the UNFPA, the Department of Population, Department of Immigration and a team of international census experts attended the 3rd International Technical Advisory Board (ITAB) meeting on census preparations in Nay Pyi Taw on 22-24 January 2014. The purpose of the two day meeting was to provide advice to the Government of Myanmar on technical, logistical and administrative issues concerning the implementation of the upcoming census as well as to ensure that the census complies with international standards including the reliability of the process and the outcome of the census result. The International Technical Advisory Board (ITAB) consists of a group of 15 global experts in the field of statistics, demography and census taking.
H.E. U Khin Yi, Minister for Immigration and Population gave the opening remarks and thanked the ITAB for their support by saying that “I would like to assure you that the Government of the Union of Myanmar values the importance of the ITAB, particularly in ensuring that the Myanmar census benefits from the diverse knowledge and expertise that exists in the ITAB member countries and that the census itself is carried out to the highest possible internationally acceptable standards.”
The Minister outlined that due to more than 30 years having passed since the last Myanmar census took place the amount of preparatory work required for the forthcoming census has been “enormous”. He went on to say that there are still challenges that are specific to Myanmar’s socio-economic context and they will continue to “work hard to address these, so that they do not compromise the quality and credibility of the census exercise” and that it is vital to clear any misconceptions and to motivate people to participate in the census. “We want to ensure that people in Myanmar understand what the census is and how important it is for our country.”
Ms. Janet Jackson, UNFPA Myanmar Representative emphasized the importance of the census for the country and that it should comply with international standards in order to “reinforce the legitimacy of the census” as it sends a “strong signal to the population of Myanmar for everyone to participate.”
“Myanmar has come a long way since the last the last census took place, and it is crucial that it is seen as a national exercise to ensure a success outcome,” said Ms. Jackson.
Over the two day meetings the issues discussed focused on updates relating to the preparations of the census such as training of enumerators, mapping of enumeration areas and consultations with ethnic group leaders, community leaders, armed group leaders and conflict advisors, including the possible inclusion of international observers during the data collection, how the data processing would be carried out, the analysis and dissemination of collected census data and the plans for the country-wide planned census publicity and advocacy campaign.
The Minister concluded by thanking the ITAB members, the international community, other development partners and UNFPA for their technical, financial and advisory support. “With this support we are confident that the 2014 census will be a success.”
The ITAB also undertook at field trip to a nearby township where they had to opportunity to meet with enumerators and villages to get a first-hand impression of how the census would be carried out in practice.
It was the third time the International Technical Advisory Board met to share their expertise with the Government prior to the Myanmar census. They previously met twice in January and in July 2013.
The Myanmar population count will take place from 29th March to 10 April 2014.