Conducting Censuses under Challenging Situations, Crisis and Post Conflict
Rogelio E. Fernandez-Castilla
Independent Consultant; e-mail:, San Fernando del V. de Catamarca, Catamarca, Argentina

Conducting censuses under challenging conditions, crisis and post conflict.

Population and housing censuses should produce statistics that are relevant to data users, as core statistical objective of censuses, indeed of any statistical exercise. Under situations of crisis and emergencies quality data are more difficult to obtain. Population upheavals and massive movements, usually associated with crisis and conflict, tend to quickly render data obsolete. At the same time the situation on the ground become complex and logistics more difficult. Urgent humanitarian situations require information to guide interventions and make the use of scarce resources more efficient.

In situations of post crisis and post conflict, every part of the territory presents characteristics that are unique and require differential interventions; this is true for census planning and implementation as well as in using the collected data in planning for crisis and emergencies response. Accurate, updated and disaggregated data by small areas, gender, social groups and local administrative districts is needed. Conducting censuses in post conflict, crisis and emergency situations pose special challenges that go beyond the usual challenges of census taking.

Responding to requests from countries and UNFPA Field Offices in those Programme Countries, the UNFPA Executive Director launched a Special Initiative on Census, in order to provide a more systematic response to special needs during the 2010 International Round of Census. This Initiative worked with other units of UNFPA specially UNFPA Regional and Country Offices, to help National Statistical Offices to conduct their 2010 Population and Housing Censuses. This paper presents an analysis of some operations, focussing on lessons learned and good practices.

The paper will analyse specific demands of census taking under challenging situations, identify common elements encountered in different countries and try to elaborate a number of possible strategies and effective responses to guide future census operations under similar circumstances.

Keywords: Population census; Crisis and conflict; Strategy; Planning

Biography: Ph.D. Medical Demography, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, 1985.

Executive Coordinator –Population Census- UNFPA Office of the Executive Director. International Advisory Board member for censuses of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and technical adviser in the preparation, execution and analysis of Population and Housing Censuses in several contries (2008-2010).

Director of UNFPA Technical Division, overseeing technical work of UNFPA at global level (2005-2008).

Director UNFPA Technical Support Latin America (2003-2005).

UNFPA Representative (Mozambique, Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico (1987-2002).

Professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil (1985-1987).

Consultant World Fertility Survey Programme, London (1983-1985).

Consultant Committee on Population of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., member of the Panel on Latin America (1979-1980).

Latin American Demographic Center (CELADE), United Nations Economic Commission (UN-ECLAC) (1978-1979).

Senior Lecturer National University of Catamarca, Argentina (1976-1977).

Associate Professor National University of Río Cuarto, Argentina (1973-1976).