Local News

Political and Financial Obstacles Postpone Implementation of Census

Asma al-Mohattwari

On November 10th, the Central Statistics Organization (CSO) in Partnership with the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) hosted a meeting to update the progress of Yemen’s 2014 population, housing and establishment census.

Dr. Hassan Farhan, the CSO head, said that it was expected that the census would be finished on December 2014 but the financial, political, and security challenges postponed it. “We will have a meeting with Finance and Planning Ministries and determine another date for the census.”

Farhan noted that they accomplished approximately 75% of the census process, and pointed out that the census for this year is characterized by a quantum leap in the census process, including the payment of dues to staff and enumerators process.

He pointed out that the census’s basic and preparatory stages were almost finished and the most important stage, which is the numbering and inventory, will be done by three thousand people and the counting stage will be done by approximately 40,000 people.

“The most important obstacle we faced is the financial side. The budget of the census is nine million dollars and the government has committed to 70% of it but it could not adhere to its promise,” Farhan added.

For her part, Lene Christiansen, UNFPA representative to Yemen, said that census is not only a landmark count of its population but it is also a way to provide the government, private sectors, academics, and development partners with critical once-a-decade benchmark information about the state’s population, its demographics, and socioeconomic characteristics, providing a base for estimates, projections and forecasts.

In Yemen, preparations for the 2014 Census have been in full swing since 2012. This landmark event comes in a very challenging time.

According to Christiansen in 2012, UNFPA supported Central Statistics Organization in developing the Census Project document which stipulated the important phases of the Census and corresponding budget and in 2013, during the preparation phase, UNFPA, with funds received from DFID and Netherlands, supported Central Statistics Organization with required high-tech equipments including scanners for Census completion.

This year, with support of UNFPA, Central Statistics Organization successfully completed the demarcation and pre-test and pilot Census. “The Central Statistics Organization completed the administrative work of the listing and numbering phases. However, unfortunately, the field work has been halted due to the recent financial and political challenges,” she added.

“The remaining work seems small, but it is the most critical one. It would be a pity to stop here at this stage. Therefore, we encourage the Government of Yemen to renew its commitment and carry out the remaining phase of the Census,” Christiansen added.