Keep census on track: UNFPA urges Liberian government
By Jonathan Browne
The Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ms. Bidisha Pillai has stressed the need for Liberia to keep track of its ongoing population census.
According to her keeping her, keeping track of ongoing process for the conduct of the National Population and Housing Census is at this time as the world’s population turns 8 billion in November.
She says the 2022 Census will not only help to know the present size of the population of Liberia, its spatial distribution and location among Counties, Districts, Cities, Clans, and rural and urban areas, including data disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability and geographic location, but also the characteristics of the population.
Mrs. Pillai made the call here on Friday, July 15, 2022, at the Monrovia City Hall during official celebration of World Population Day, which is observed annually. The commemoration was held in collaboration with the Population Policy Coordination Unit of the Government of Liberia on the theme: “A world of 8 billion: Towards a resilient future-Harnessing opportunity and ensuring rights and choices for all.”
The global population is expected to hit 8 billion by November amid serious economic challenges, including food and petroleum shortages that have led to rise in global commodity prices, as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
The 54th Liberian Legislature has set March 2023 for the conduct of the National Population and Housing Census prior to Presidential and General elections in October.
“As the global population reaches 8 billion in November 2022, what is Liberia’s population within this 8 billion? The Government of Liberia has planned is implementing the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PADP) plan, to reduce poverty and achieve incredible advancements in health care, infant and maternal mortality, education, gender equality, access to social services, employment, etc. How do we measure the milestones and indicators after five years? This provides a compelling reason for the conduct of the 2022 NPHC”, the UNFPA Resident Representative continues.
She notes that census is not only about counting people but will also provide data for planning and empowering the people.
She says World Population Day offers a moment to celebrate human progress, and that world, despite its challenges, is one where higher shares of people are educated and live healthier lives than at any previous point in history, adding that societies that invest in their people, in their rights and choices, have proven time and again that this is the road to the prosperity and peace that everyone wants and deserves.
However, she says keeping focus on only the number of human beings and scaremongering over “too many” people would be a mistake, as
focusing only on population numbers and growth rates often leads to coercive and counterproductive measures and the erosion of human rights such as women being pressured to have children or prevented from doing so.
“It looks beyond the numbers. When people have the power to make informed choices about whether and when to have children and exercise their rights and responsibilities, they can navigate risks and become the foundation of more inclusive, adaptable, and sustainable societies.”
According to her, achieving this demographic resilience starts with a commitment to counting not just numbers of people but also opportunities for progress and barriers that stand in its way, which calls for transforming discriminatory norms that hold individuals and societies back, saying “It leads us to economies that work for all people instead of just a few and to a fairer use of resources so that we can mitigate risks and meet the needs of current and future generations.”
Mrs. Pillai: “We are each much more than a number, as is the human family. A resilient world of 8 billion, a world that upholds individual rights and choices, offers infinite possibilities – possibilities for people, societies, and our shared planet to thrive and prosper.”
However, she observes that a great deal has been achieved together with the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, including the mapping of the entire country into small enumeration areas and the deployment of State of the Art technologies for data collection, and thanked the Government of Ghana for supporting Liberia’s census with twenty-one thousand tablets for data collection.
Meanwhile, the Chair of the Liberia Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development, Representative Larry P. Younquoi, is calling for the celebration of World Population Day to be taken out of Monrovia to other counties with the involvement of more youth and students.
Your sources seem reliable. Keep up the good works as Liberia Marches on towards 2023, the real time to define where the nation goes.