This paper has been issued without formal editing.
Table 1 summarizes
the current status of implementation of the
project on Application of New Technology to
Population Data, being implemented by the secretariat
of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) with funding
support from the United Nations Population Fund
(UNFPA). The first meeting of the Working Party
was held in September 1997. During 1997-1998,
four meetings of the Working Party were expected
to be held, but only two could be convened;
the third meeting is being held in January 1999.
UNFPA and ESCAP conducted a Mid-Term Review
(MTR) of this and other projects during 13-14
July 1998, while an evaluation by outside experts
is expected to be undertaken in February 1999.
A visit by the experts to Bangladesh, China
and Viet Nam is scheduled in that connection.
While recognizing that the project had been
designed and approved as an applied research
activity, the MTR expressed a desire to see
it have a greater eventual impact. It was agreed
that the MTR provided an excellent opportunity
to sharpen the focus of the project activities
on capability building in the countries in the
particular areas of new technology identified.
During the MTR, the review team added one major
output to the project: a two-week training workshop
to be held as a final activity in 1999, most
likely in October. UNFPA has already approved
adequate funds for implementing this additional
The MTR suggested that, to enhance their relevance,
the guidelines on the application of information
technology to be developed under the project
should be prepared more in the manner of manuals.
The two-week training workshop, mentioned above,
is envisaged as a forum "where the applicability
of such manuals could be tested".
to focus on final outputs
The Working Party has made notable contributions
by successfully establishing a constructive
and profitable process sharing specialized,
technical and practical information. It has
helped tap a resource which otherwise remains
with each national statistical office (NSO)
as part of its institutional memory. The Working
Party plays an important role in identifying
priorities and guiding the activities of the
The meetings of the Working Party nevertheless
remain as intermediate activities contributing
to the final outputs of the project. With the
addition of a new output, as discussed above,
the attention of the Working Party is drawn
to need the need for delivering within 1999
the following three major groups of outputs:
Completion and publication
of three guidelines;
Completion of three
pilot applications and publication of their
Two-week training workshop.
In view of time constraints, the Working Party
is requested to formulate a strategy utilizing
a mix of resources available to the project.
The members of the Working Party and the support
from their institutions remain as the most valuable
and major resource available to the project.
The Working Party meetings and other seminars
and conferences organized by ESCAP and other
institutions have generated some useful documentation
which can be used as reference material, for
example, in preparing the guidelines. The project
has some modest funds for consultancies which
make outsourcing of certain tasks possible,
as and when felt necessary. Given the nature
of the project, it is possible that outsourcing
may help only in a limited way; rather it is
the personnel in NSOs who have an intimate knowledge
of the issues involved and the pros and cons
of various strategies.
and focus of future meetings
It is apparent that the timing and agenda
of the next meeting(s) of the Working Party
will play a crucial role in ensuring that the
major outputs of the project are produced on
schedule. For example, before all the outputs
are presented in the training workshop, the
Working Party should review them prior to a
first revision. This scheudle will also impose
deadlines on the completion of the manuscripts
and other products by a certain date, e.g. by
the mid-May 1998 if the fourth meeting is to
be held as scheduled in May/June (in Manila).
The Working Party is requested to carefully
review the progress of the project, and formulate
and adopt a strategy for the timely delivery
of outputs in 1999.
1: To formulate and disseminate recommendations
and guidelines on the application of computer
technology in data capture, analysis, storage,
presentation and dissemination of population statistics.
1.1 Establishment of the Working Party on the application of new technology
to population data.
Working Party consisting of eight selected experts from the Asian and
A Working Party was established
in Jan. 1997.
Based on the recommendation
of the Working Party, New Zealand was admitted
as its 9th member.
1.2 Organization of four meetings of the Working Party in 1997 and 1998.
Four meetings and meeting reports; outlines and reviews of guidelines.
The first meeting was
held from 24 to 26 September 1997 in Bangkok
(report was produced).
The second meeting was
held from 1 to 3 April 1998 in Singapore (report
The third meeting is
currently scheduled to be held from 7 to 9
January 1999 in Bali.
The fourth meeting will
be held in 1999, probably in Manila.
1.3 Development of guidelines on the application of computer technology.
At least three set of guidelines, for example on data capture and processing,
data analysis and presentation, and data dissemination.
Focal points were identified
c) Data entry, capture,
processing and archiving
Samples of guidelines
have been sent to the coordinators.
The coordinators are
preparing an outline of the guidelines.
1.4 Publication and dissemination of the above guidelines as three (or
more) separate reports.
Average of one set of guideline per year to be published and disseminated.
In progress; see 1.3.
2: To develop modern technology systems to
be applied in the field of population statistics
by three pilot countries.
2.1 Contact countries to find out their interest and needs. Selection
of countries for different applications.
Assessment of the stages of country development in computerization, infrastructure,
interest and needs. Assistance from CST advisers is needed in selection
of the countries.
Initial contact was made
with selected countries to solicit ideas for
The topics and sites
of the 3 applications were selected at the
first meeting of the Working Party as follows:
Use of GIS for
census operations and dissemination -
Use of GPS for
preparation of census enumeration area
maps - Bangladesh.
A questionnaire on "Application
of New Technology to Population Data Collection,
Processing and Dissemination", designed by
the secretariat and reviewed by the Working
Party in its second meeting, was sent to 56
NSOs in the ESCAP region in April 1998.
29 questionnaires have
been sent back so far. A paper was submitted
to the Committee on Statistics based on the
results; that paper has been revised for submission
to the third meeting of the Working Party.
2.2 Engagement of suitable institutions for undertaking country level
Three institutions ready to
develop / adapt applications identified by the Working Party
Country proposals and agreements for the pilot countries were finalized
and signed by Indonesia and Philippines; response from Bangladesh is still
2.3 Implementation of various applications and their dissemination.
Newly developed, refined or
adapted applications (GIS,
database, data capture, etc.) in three countries.
The Statistics Indonesia, National Statistics Office of the Philippines
and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics have commenced implementation.
2.4 Preparation of reports on the experience and
progress by countries'
Reports of the country
Not yet applicable.
2.5 Review of the progress reports by the Working Party.
Finalized reports of the experiences in three pilot countries.
Not yet applicable.
2.6 Dissemination of reports on country activities to
Increased knowledge of NSOs with IT applications in population statistics
in three pilot countries.
Not yet applicable.
3: To increase the awareness of the role of
computerization in producing population data,
and especially of information technology in sharing
information and experience gained in the region.
3.1 Issuing newsletter on applications of new technology for population
About five issues of a newsletter on applications of new technology for
The Working Party decided
that an issue of the newsletter will include
the results of the survey described under
The first 3 issues of
the newsletter are under preparation. Much
of the information to be included in the 3
issues has been collected.
A Web Page has been established
for the Working Party, which is likely to
be accessible in January 1999.
3.2 Development of a training package on effective applications of new
A widely-distributed training package, intended to raise awareness of
technological applications for population data among senior and middle level
A proposal by SIAP was reviewed at the second meeting of the Working Party.