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World Population Day celebrated

Jul 13, 2010, 2:20 PM | Article By: Abdourahman Sallah

The Gambia over the weekend joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Population Day.

This year’s theme is "Every one counts," thus underscoring the importance of data for development.

In a statement to mark the day, the Vice-President Dr. Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy said World Population Day was established to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. She said the focus for this year's celebration is on the 2010 round of population and housing census, data analysis for development and UNFPA lead role in population and development.

According to the Vice-President, in The Gambia the day would be marked to bring attention to the significance of valid, reliable, timely, culturally relevant and internationally comparable data for policy and programme development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

She said population and housing census is the primary source of information on the number and characteristics, distribution, processes and structure of the population.

"It takes stock of the most important asset of countries, human capital and therefore, one of the most important tools for policy makers," she said. She noted that good demographic data is critical for planning schools, health system and public transportation, for designing policies based on future population projections, for monitoring the effectiveness service delivery, and assessing the socio-economic situation of women and men.

Vice-President Njie-Saidy stated that good data is indeed critical for evidence-based policies and programmes for improving peoples lives.

He said in celebrating World Population Day 2010, The Gambia government and its people would like to join the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), other UN agencies, development partners and the rest of the world to assert the right of everyone to be counted, especially women, girls, the poor and the marginalised.

She said census and population data plays a critical role in development and humanitarian response and recovery. "With quality data, we can better track and make progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Vision 2020 and promote and protect the dignity and human rights of all people," she added.

For his part, UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid  said UNFPA actively supports countries in the 2010 round of census, noting that census are central to UNFPA mission to support countries in using population data for polices and programme to reduce poverty.