Representatives of Arab national statistical offices,
Representatives of the United Nations Population Fund,
Thank you for your valuable participation in this workshop. I would also like to thank our colleagues at the United Nations Population Fund for their continued collaboration in conducting population and housing censuses in Arab countries, which are a key source of data for many sustainable development indicators. The workshop aims to develop national and regional plans on using technology in conducting censuses in line with international recommendations, in preparation for the 2020 Round of Population and Housing Census. In that context, the Task Force on Population and Housing Census for Arab Countries convened a meeting in Cairo from 29 to 31 January 2018, which concluded with a set of recommendations on holding specialized training sessions on conducting censuses, especially for countries facing difficulties in that regard. Moreover, a workshop was held in Iraq on the use of technology in censuses, which highlighted the importance of preparing a comprehensive framework for conducting censuses and of using geographic information systems and tablets for data collection.
Despite global efforts to adopt a systematic framework on population and housing censuses, the United Nations and its member States continue to face challenges in adapting to the use of digital technologies for data collection. Furthermore, in the Arab region, statistical work and data quality are hampered by various obstacles, which can only be overcome by providing technical support to national statistical offices and adopting new data collection methodologies. ESCWA is working with regional partners and statistical offices to provide support and ensure coordination in carrying out quality censuses. I wish you every success in your discussions towards a viable framework.