Zambia has called for strategic focus on improving the reliability, timeliness and accessibility of demographic data to strengthen national statistical systems for monitoring the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ministry of National Development Planning Permanent Secretary Dr Simon Miti delivered Zambia’s statement at the 49th Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD49).
“The Zambian Government acknowledges the distinct needs and importance of different types of data, including census, birth and death registration, and other health data which are all vital for the implementation of the Programme of Action for the International Conference on Population and Development and the achievement of sustainable development,” Dr Miti said.
The Permanent Secretary said civil registrations, especially birth and death registration, deserve special attention given the implications they have for the citizenship, identity, and schooling.
He said it was important to have accurate information for analysing critical demographic trends such as fertility and mortality.
Dr Miti said these data could help inform decision makers about the factors that were contributing to changes in mortality and fertility rates, and help Government make the right interventions.
He said in the 2020 national census Zambia plans to electronically collect data through the use of technologies such as tablets and Personal Data Assistants (PDA) to replace the paper questionnaire based method.
He noted that Zambia’s Civil Registration System (CRS) remained underdeveloped, rendering the usage of this data for merely administrative purposes with limited statistical manipulation due to incompleteness of registration as well as accuracy of information.
“Notwithstanding these limitations, Zambia sees CRS bedrock for future and stronger national statistical systems,” he said.
“Zambia has initiated a number of steps aimed at strengthening CRS within the framework of the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics whose objective is to provide a holistic, coherent and comprehensive framework for improving the National Statistical System and developing official statistics in the country in a suitable manner.”
He said CRS would help ensure availability of data for tracking progress during the implementation of the forth coming Seventh National Development Plan and indeed the 2030 Agenda.
He said Zambia has been successful in conducting the Living Condition Monitoring Surveys and the Labour Force Survey that provided a number of socio-economic indicators.
“Zambia, with support from UNFPA, conducted a national study on the Demographic Dividend whose findings will provide valuable input in the formulation of the seventh National Development Plan which is the main document for the domestication of the SDGs,” Dr Miti said.
The Permanent Secretary said Zambia has been part of the 2012 African Ministers responsible for Civil Registration group, which recommended strengthening planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics.
Dr Miti said, to this effect, a National Action Plan to reform and improve civil registration and vital statistics in Zambia was produced and was currently being implemented.
Zambia is the chair of the 49th Session of the CPD.