Home Editorial Reiterating Thee Need for National Population and Housing Census

Reiterating Thee Need for National Population and Housing Census

by newsmanager

Over the weekend, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), Ms. Bidisha Pillai, underscored the need for Liberia to keep track of its population census.

According to Ms. Pillai, keeping track of the ongoing process for the conduct of the 2022 National Population and Housing Census is essential, especially at this time as the World’s Population turns 8 Billion in November this year.

Speaking at program marking the annual celebration of the World Population Day held at the Monrovia City Hall in Sinkor, Ms. Pillai stressed that the Population and Housing Census will not only help to know the present size of the population of Liberia, its spatial distribution and location among counties, districts, cities, clans and rural and urban areas including data disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability and geographic location but also the characteristics of the population.

The commemoration of the World Population Day was held in collaboration with the Population Coordinating Unit of the Government of Liberia on the Theme: “A World of 8 Billion: Towards a resilient future-Harnessing Opportunity and ensuring rights and choices for all.”

Frankly, experts believe that the global population is expected to hit 8 billion by November amid serious economic challenges, including food and petroleum shortages that have led to rising commodity prices, as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine among other debilitating factors.

Though the 54th Liberian Legislature has set March 2023 for the conduct of the National Population and Housing Census prior to the crucial Presidential and Legislative elections in October, 2023, the UNPF official asks prudently: “As the global population reaches 8 billion in November 2023, what is Liberia’s population within this 8 billion?”

Ms. Pillai also acknowledged that the Government of Liberia is implementing its flagship national development agenda styled: “Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, (PAPD)” which, among others, aimed at reducing poverty and achieving incredible advancements in healthcare, infant and maternal mortality, education, gender equality, and access to social services, employment, etc.

However, she apparently asks rhetorically: “How do we measure the milestones and indicators after five years?”

Nevertheless, she stressed that this provides a compelling reason for the conduct of the 2022 National Population and Housing Census (NPHC).

Moreover, she made it loud and clear that “Census is not only about counting people but will also provide data for planning and empowering the people.”

As if the above salient points were not enough, the UNPF resident representative in Liberia asserted that “World Population Day offers a moment to celebrate human progress, and that the world, despite its challenges, is one where the higher shares of people are educated and live healthier lives than at any previous point in history.”

She maintains that “societies that invest in their people, in their rights and choices, have proven time and again that this is the road to prosperity and peace that everyone wants and deserves.”

This is why, among others, we, at THE INDEPENDENT, concur with the UNPF official that keeping focus on only the number of human beings and scaremongering over “too many” people would be a mistake, as focusing only on population numbers and growth rate often leads to coercive and counterproductive measures and the erosion of human rights such as women being pressured to have children or prevented from doing so.

Honestly speaking, and without any exaggeration, it looks beyond the numbers. Indeed, “when people have the power to make informed choices about whether and when to have children and exercise their rights and responsibilities, they can navigate risks and become the foundation of more inclusive, adaptable and sustainable societies.”

We are also in full agreement with Ms. Bidisha Pillai that “achieving this demographic resilience starts with a commitment to counting not just the number of people but also opportunities for progress and barriers that stand in its way, which calls for transforming discriminatory norms that hold individuals and societies back.”

“It leads us to economies that work for all people instead of just a few and to a fairer use of resources so that we can mitigate risks and meet the needs of current and future generations.”

It is in this direction that, we, at THE INDEPENDENT, are reiterating our previous call for the Government of Liberia, led by President George Manneh Weah roll off its sleeves and ‘walk the assurances’ by putting into place the necessary mechanisms to ensure the successful conduct of the crucial Population and Housing Census, especially as the much-heralded 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections fast approach.

This is our candid view that we think, deserves a thinking thought and should not be brushed aside or swept under the carpet for anyone or group’s apparent political and self-seeking appeasement but in the best interest of the Liberian nation

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