20 October 2020; Baghdad, Iraq - A statistic is not only a number – it tells a human story. It speaks of people’s health and well-being, problems and prospects, and socio-economic circumstances. When collected and analysed well, statistics can advance the sustainable development of a country.
Today, the Ministry of Planning, the Central Statistics Organisation, and the Kurdistan Region Statistics Office with the support of UNFPA, the Iraqi Statistical Association and Al-Rafidin University and funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), organised the fifteenth conference on statistics, commemorating the third World Statistics Day.
In Iraq, the need for data is immense. It is needed for improving the living conditions of people, by identifying population size, resources available, pockets of the underserved and vulnerable population. Census is the primary tool to collect such data at the national level.
The event focused on the importance of data and the need to use them to help people improve their lives and realise their rights rather than use them for political gains. Discussions presented the steps that need to be taken to ensure that data are accurate, consistent, and complete. The participants also highlighted the statistical achievements done in Iraq in the last few years.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Planning, Dr Khaled Battal Najm, emphasised on the role that data in the recovery phase: “ Relying on statistics and data for the development of plans and policies is the effective way to face the repercussions on the crises that faced Iraq and to swiftly respond to the challenges. Indicators and data can identify the gaps in the economic and social levels”.
UNFPA Representative to Iraq, Dr Rita Columbia added: “Throughout the years, UNFPA has supported the efforts with the Government of Iraq and the Government of Kurdistan to strengthen the national capacities to collect and analyse statistical data including census. More recently, UNFPA facilitated the exchange of knowledge and expertise between Jordan, Egypt and Iraq to tailor the E-census to the Iraqi context.”
“UNFPA will continue working with the Governments and partners to strengthen reliable data, develop evidence-based strategies and plans for improving livelihoods of people, especially women and youth. Our goal remains ensuring that no one is left behind and that all women and men, girls and boys have equal opportunities to reach their life goals,” she concluded.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
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