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Upon the request of the Iraqi government, UNFPA in cooperation with UNSD organized the first meeting of the International Technical Advisory Board for Iraq Census (ITAB-IC), 8-9 July 2009 in Amman, Jordan. ITAB-IC is co-chaired by Paul Cheung, Director of UNSD, and the Minister of Planning and Cooperation of Iraq, represented by Mehdi Al-Alak, Iraqi Deputy Minister of Planning and Development Cooperation, and President of the Central Agency for Statistics and Information Technology (COSIT). The meeting gathered experts from the Arab region, as well as, from developing countries and developed countries, including Australia, Indian, Morocco, Palestine, Egypt, and representatives of EUROSTAT, UNESCWA, League of Arab States (LAS), and Arab Institution for Training and Research in Statistics (AITRS). The meeting discussed a number of items covering all census stages, in particular the meeting considered the following issues: a) adoption of ITAB-IC terms of reference, b) progress on census detailed by census stage, c) progress on capacity building and technical backstopping by UNFPA, d) census tools and methodology, e) fieldwork plan, d) training plan, and f) quality control procedures.
The participants appreciated the creation of the ITAB-IC, which shows the commitment and professionalism of the Iraqi government in its preparation of the census. The board congratulated the COSIT and the UNFPA Chief Technical Advisor and his team for the quality of the documentation provided. Experts made recommendations based on their professional experience. They recommended in particular that the pilot census, conducted last May, be fully processed in order to test the complete process, including scanning, edits and tabulation. They identified three areas that need special attention before the census date, currently scheduled for 25 October: the preparation of maps; the deployment of training for the huge number of trainees, and data capture and processing. In addition, they recommended paying great attention to the media campaign and logistic issues.
The President of the COSIT expressed his deep appreciation for the valuable contribution and recommendations of the ITAB-IC, and assured that the Census Higher Commission will examine them carefully, and review the census plan in consequence to ensure to the census at least the same as of the previous ones.
The next meeting of the Board is tentatively scheduled for September.
For more information, consult the website of the COSIT: http://cosit.gov.iq/english/index.php