UNITED NATIONS — Reliable information is essential for governments to formulate policies that would meet people’s needs and improve their lives, according to Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. “With quality data, we can better track and make greater progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and promote and protect the dignity and human rights of all people,” she said in her statement for World Population Day, which falls on Sunday, 11 July.
‘Everyone counts,’ the theme of this year’s Day, highlights the compelling stories that numbers tell us about people, said Ms. Obaid. “On this World Population Day,” she added, “UNFPA asserts the right of everyone to be counted, especially women, girls, the poor and marginalized.”
In a separate message, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that access to good data is a component of good governance, transparency and accountability. “This year, some 60 countries are collecting data and counting people as part of the 2010 census process,” he said, adding that a census is “the only statistical operation that covers the whole population and all areas of a country.”
UNFPA is supporting the global 2010 round of censuses, which will produce crucial data on the various aspects of population dynamics, including population growth, fertility, mortality and migration, as well as age, sex, migration and other information needed for charting a country’s progress.
“To be counted is to become visible,” said Mr. Ban. “On this World Population Day,” he added, “I call on decision-makers everywhere to make each and every person count. Only by considering the needs of all women and men, girls and boys, can we achieve the Millennium Development Goals and advance the shared values of the United Nations.”
Since 1990, governments all over the world, working with UNFPA and national partners, have been observing World Population Day with a variety of activities and events focusing on the Day’s theme and the importance of population issues to overall development strategies.
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