UN, Myanmar Agree on Support for First Census Since 1983
NAY PYI TAW – At the invitation of the Government of Myanmar, the United Nations will provide technical assistance and help mobilize financial support for the country’s first census in 31 years, under an agreement signed today in the nation’s capital. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Myanmar’s Vice President Sai Mauk Kham witnessed an exchange of letters signed by their representatives, setting out principles for conducting the proposed 2014 population and housing census in accordance with international standards.
Speaking at the signing, the Secretary-General said he was “very encouraged by the Government’s strong commitment to the project”, and urged donors to support it.
The Government is developing census plans with support from UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, including expertise on listing households, making enumeration maps, training enumerators, setting up information technology infrastructure, processing data, and analysing and disseminating the results.
Under-Secretary-General Vijay Nambiar, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, presented a letter to U Khin Yi, the Minister of Immigration and Population, stating that the census “will provide important benchmark data for national development planning and assessment, including on the impact of the launched reforms”, and facilitate donor support of development priorities.
Mr. Nambiar’s letter stressed that a credible census would need to adhere to several key principles:
U Khin Yi signed a letter in response confirming the Government’s commitment to these principles.
The Secretary-General observed that training people to conduct the census will be challenging, given Myanmar’s lack of recent experience. Another challenge will be to gain access to the whole country. “I hope that current and future ceasefires will make this possible. The involvement of minorities and civil society will be crucial,” he added.
Vice-President Sai Mauk Kham said the 2014 census is a priority for Myanmar and thanked the Secretary-General for his support. He said the Government “will cooperate closely with UNFPA to oversee the quality of the census so that the result will be accurate and up to international standards.”
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