CENSUS 2011 – I’m here, I count”

By | 1 September 2011

Pretoria – It’s just over a month to Census 2011, a once in a decade opportunity for all South Africans and those living within the country’s boarders to say “I’m here, I count”.  Under the leadership of Statistics South Africa, the Census 2011 will be conducted 10-30 October 2011 to provide an exhaustive account of the national population that the rest of Government will draw from for the next decade to better inform and respond to  developmental needs.  The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, is providing technical support to successful undertaking of the census, and asserts the right of every person to get counted as part of the national population in this round of census.

UNFPA Census 2011 banner outside the UN offices in Pretoria

UN Remarks on the Occasion of Census Consultation with the Diplomatic Community

Delivered by UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Agostinho Zacarias

The UN family in South Africa appreciates the opportunity to participate in this very important consultation as part of national build up towards census 2011, we are very excited to see the country prepare to embark on this operation which will help answer pertinent questions about the state of the SA population.

The census outcome will bring us to a point of reflection on what we’ve done very well and accelerate that, what we need to improve on in our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of lives and socio-economic status of the South African people.

We note with appreciation the level of national leadership, political commitment and extensive human / financial and other forms of investment on this important initiative. Let us build on the momentum of the census to underscore the importance of generating and utilising policy relevant data to rally the public service, NGOs, private sector and other formations of society towards achievement of MDGs.

The census is meant to count everyone within the borders of South Africa, which implies that all of us as partners in development can serve as carriers of census messages through encouraging our fellow countrymen and colleagues to get counted.

Statistics South Africa has proven to be more than ready for the count, I see cars telling me to stand up and be counted, posters in neighbourhoods where we live and the Statistician General himself sending the same message through various media. I can tell you the UN family is ready for the census too, our Information Centre in Schoeman Street, has a yellow poster reaffirming our commitment to the national housing and population census.

On 11 July we met under the leadership of the Minister of Social Development to commemorate World Population Day 2011, the main question we were seeking to answer as a collective on that day was: “What would it take for South Africa to achieve full prospects of the demographic dividend”, we had young people share their thoughts on the issue. As we meet here today I believe that the census will help us answer this question as well as many more on the socio-demographic characteristics of the national population.

In the period 10-31 October 2011, the United Nations reaffirms the right of every person within the borders of South Africa to get counted, let everyone say to their enumerator: I am ready to be counted, count me in!

Thank you very much, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.

UNFPA Statement on the Occasion of Census Consultation with the Diplomatic Community “The 2010 round of Census”

Delivered by Mr. Edwin Huizing, UNFPA Director for East and Southern Africa, 22 September 2011

UNFPA is pleased to have partnered with Statistics South Africa and the Mail and Guardian to convene this consultation, to provide a platform for sharing of ideas with Your Excellencies towards successful conduct of Census 2011 in South Africa.

South Africa has delivered two major events recently with utmost success, the Soccer World Cup in 2010, and the Local Government elections early this year. We believe that the census 2011 will be yet another major addition to the list of successes the country records.   And it will be a success that can be shared and replicated with other countries in the region.

The region is still in the 2010 round of censuses, it is pleasing to note that some countries have done well conducting these. South Africa is today at a 6-day countdown before the census begins. The major benefit of a census operation is that it provides an exhaustive account of the population, which Government and its partners can utilize to make informed development decisions and thus improve service delivery.

UNFPA is committed to continue its support to Stats SA and the ASSD in promoting south-to-south cooperation on Census, and the promotion of data for development.  We also commend and support the Stats SA priority to invest in development and grooming of young statisticians in the country and region.

The global population is projected to reach 7 billion on the 31st October 2011, according to global population prospects released by the UN Population Division. This major population milestone is opportune for South Africa as it comes during census month, the outcome of which will define the country’s exact contribution to the 7 billion global population. UNFPA encourages every South African and those residing and present in the country, to get counted in October as part of the national and global population, let every person say “I am here- I count”.

Census data can reveal striking situations in countries. Teenage pregnancies may be on the rise, the HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) Campaign might have reached more half of the population and higher rates of contraceptive use and skilled birth attendance may show progress towards improving maternal health, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals. This data is crucial as we strive for universal access to education, HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and reproductive health and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

If people and their characteristics are not counted, the Government cannot plan effectively. If identification is not granted, it is impossible to track progress over a lifetime. A birth certificate indicates a need for schooling in time that informs the education system.  If death records specify, to the extent possible, causes of death, health systems can be oriented to meet actual needs. Just a number of  examples of how data can serve development.

Census data makes it possible to meet real needs of communities we serve. As we approach census, we are confident that Statistics SA will exceed their own and national expectations on quality and accuracy of data collected for as we say: “The South Africa I know, the home I understand”

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen I thank you for your attention. And I wish Statistics South Africa a successful census 2011.

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