Data for Development

Learning in the field of population and development has been spurred by research analyzing links between population phenomena and reproductive health, human rights, gender equality and poverty, among other issues. These linkages underpin the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action, which guides UNFPA's work.

ICPD called upon governments and development agencies to support a wide range of research to inform public policy and improve programming strategies. Women's roles and status, spatial mobility of populations and differentials in morbidity and mortality within population subgroups were singled out as pressing concerns. The implications of changing population age structures for countries' development also need to be taken into account by planners.

A more recent, important aspect of research is to identify determining factors for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to track progress toward their achievement.

For the past 30 years, UNFPA has played a lead operational role in helping to build countries' capacities for data collection and analysis. A current focus of UNFPA support is successful implementation of the 2010 round of population and housing censuses (2005-2014). The data collected will be crucial for measuring progress toward achievement of the MDGs and for providing an evidence base that can guide national policymaking.

At the global level, UNFPA encourages population studies knowledge-sharing and networking through its support to institutions, such as the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP). In addition to its work in the area of census, UNFPA supports qualitative and quantitative surveys, and population and development-related research at global, regional and country levels.

To further this work, UNFPA has also initiated an interactive, online tracking tool that provides access to a wide range of information about the data collection activities of reporting countries. more

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News and Updates

15 April 2014

Harnessing the potential of Africa’s youth

UNITED NATIONS, New York – The growing number of young people in Africa could offer enormous potential gains to the continent, but only if their needs are met and their rights are fulfilled. This was the central message of leaders and public health experts at an 11 April meeting on Africa’s ‘demographic dividend’ at the United Nations Headquarters. more
31 March 2014

Making Sense of Myanmar's Census

UNITED NATIONS, New York – At midnight on 30 March, Myanmar conducted its first census in more than 30 years. The country has changed dramatically since the last census was held in 1983, with some areas seeing significant progress and others going underserved, yet it has been challenging for the Government or civil society to gauge or respond to the changing needs of the population. This challenge will soon be tackled. It is an enormous undertaking, but the exercise – by the Government with support from UNFPA – will help policymakers become better informed, promote the country’s development, and help ensure people’s rights and needs are met.   more