Workshop on Population
Data Analysis, Storage and Dissemination Technologies
Bangkok, 27-30 March
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION
FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Workshop on Population Data Analysis, Storage
and Dissemination Technologies
27-30 March 2001
Opening remarks by the
Executive Secretary of ESCAP,
Mr Kim Hak-Su
ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to
welcome you to this Workshop on Population Data
Analysis, Storage and Dissemination Technologies.
I know that recently many of you have been extremely
busy in managing census enumeration and data capture.
Yet, you have found time to attend this Workshop
and contribute your experience.
This meeting would not have
been possible without the support of the United
Nations Population Fund. In fact, this is
the concluding event of a multi-year project funded
by UNFPA since 1997. It is also one of ESCAP's
"flagship" projects in the area of information
and communication technology. I would like
to convey my sincere appreciation to UNFPA for
the generous support given to the project, and
I am very glad indeed that the collaboration between
UNFPA and ESCAP will continue under a number of
multi-year projects scheduled to start later this
The wide participation in this
Workshop is gratifying for many other reasons.
I should like to mention three of them.
First, the members of the ESCAP Working Party
on Application of New Information Technology to
Population Data have again played a significant
role in putting together the programme for the
Workshop. During the rest of the week you
will see the Working Party in action making presentations
and moderating discussions. We will, I am
sure, want to draw on their help in drafting recommendations
for this Workshop. My sincere thanks go
to all the members of the Working Party for the
extra-ordinary efforts they have made.
Second, you will have the benefit
of hearing other highly-qualified experts from
the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the United
States Census Bureau, the UNFPA Country Support
Teams in Bangkok and Kathmandu, the United Nations
Statistics Division and the Statistical Institute
for Asia and the Pacific. We appreciate
very much your personal efforts in preparing for
and participating in this Workshop and the prompt
willingness of your organizations to release you.
Third, I should like to address
words of appreciation to the representatives from
the private sector, many of whom will join us
later in the week to make demonstrations of state-of-the-art
software applications for analysing and disseminating
census data. In accordance with the Secretary-General's
Guidelines on Collaboration between the United
Nations and the Business Community, ESCAP sees
the private sector as an important partner in
development, and we hope to collaborate with private
sector organizations more frequently in our projects.
I am sure that I do not need
to convince you of the importance of population
censuses and surveys. They lay a foundation
for socio-economic statistics, and they are essential
for timely and targeted policy action by governments.
The point that I should like to emphasize is to
encourage you in your invaluable work of making
census data as easily available as possible to
your clients. That goal cannot be achieved
without application of modern information technology.
The technology allows census and statistics offices
to capture data accurately, to cross-tabulate
and analyse it flexibly, and to create attractive
and readily usable statistical products in printed
and electronic form.
This meeting is a follow-up
event to a workshop that was organized in October
1999 within a similar framework and setting.
At that time the focus was more on data collection
and data capture technologies than on data storage,
analysis and dissemination. While the outcome
of the previous Workshop was highly appreciated
by participants, they felt that it would be well
worth having another Workshop concentrating on
data dissemination technologies. Consequently,
the secretariat scheduled the Workshop for October
last year. However, due to the unexpected
absence of key personnel in the Statistics Division,
we have had to postpone the Workshop by a few
As many of you know, ESCAP has
been organizing a number of technical meetings
like the present one over the past several years,
and will no doubt continue with this modality.
When you consider the specific recommendations
emanating from this workshop, therefore, I would
encourage you to use the opportunity to give fresh
ideas on how the secretariat could make its assistance
even more effective in future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The new technologies displayed
in this Workshop are a reminder of how rapidly
IT evolves. It is evident that this evolution
creates enormous challenges for all users, and
in particular for those who handle large volumes
of data and information, including demographers
and census statisticians.
The same challenge is felt also
by the ESCAP secretariat. We need to make
better use of the opportunities that information
technology offers for development in the whole
sphere of our economic and social development
mandate. What we have started to do at ESCAP
is to mainstream the response to the development
challenge created by information technology.
Initially, this has meant ensuring that our programme
planning always incorporates IT considerations
when the technology can add value to the projects.
We have also initiated larger programmes that
can address sectoral and national development
goals. After the upcoming fifty-seventh
session of the Commission next month, we intend
to analyse whether any organizational adjustments
within the secretariat might be warranted in order
to respond more effectively to the challenges
and opportunities that IT creates in the region,
particularly at the policy level.
From what I have seen in the
time schedule in front of us, I am convinced that
you will have four very interesting days ahead.
I would encourage you to make maximum use of the
expertise gathered here, to participate actively
in discussions and to examine critically what
you see and hear. Information and communication
technology is here to serve us; irrespective of
each organization's current technology level,
we should use IT to make better use of our resources,
to serve our clients more effectively and, on
the human side, to make our work more interesting
and our working environment more comfortable.
I wish you a pleasant stay in
Bangkok, and I hope to see all of you at tonight's