Message of the Rwanda UN Resident Coordinator on the world population day
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today Rwanda joins the world in celebrating the World Population Day. World Population Day was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989 as a way to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. It was an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 July 1987
This year World Population Day highlights the importance of data for development. The theme is "Everyone counts". The focus is on the next round of the population and housing census, and as you know, Rwanda will organize its forth census in 2012. It is thus, for the entire UN family together with the Government of Rwanda, a time to sensitize the community on the importance of such an event which occurs once every ten years.
Today, on 11 July 2010 the world population is estimated to be 6.8 billion. Counting everyone is an integral part of ensuring that we take everyone into account. To be counted is to become visible. If people and their characteristics aren't counted, governments can't plan. If identification is not granted, it is impossible to track progress over a lifetime. If a birth certificate indicates a need for schooling, that informs the education system. If death records specify, to the extent possible, cause of death, health systems can be oriented to meet actual needs. If death records specify causes related to HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, pregnancy and childbirth, specific health services can be prioritized.
Chapter XII of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action highlights the importance of valid, reliable, timely, culturally relevant and internationally comparable data for policy and programme development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Further, research is instrumental in order to increase people's access to a wider range of safe and effective methods for regulation of fertility.
It is why, during this whole week, with the Government and other partners of civil society, many activities will be carried out to remind the population on the importance of data.
Data that is sorted by gender and age can foster increased responsiveness by national decision-makers to the rights and needs of their intended beneficiaries, especially women, adolescents and other less empowered groups, and it helps build a more equitable and prosperous society.
The numbers that emerge from data collection can illuminate important trends. What striking situation does research reveal in Rwanda? What do the numbers tell you about progress toward meeting the Millenium Development Goals? Are certain groups getting left behind? Only by considering the needs of all women and men, girls and boys, can we achieve the MDGs and advance the shared values of the United Nations. Availability of data and public access to it contributes to transparency and accountability.
I thank you and wish you an excellent commemoration of the World Population Day.