United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) yesterday handed over IT equipment to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) while it is preparing for the 12th National Population and Housing Census (NPHC) scheduled to take place in June, 2021 – the first census to be conducted under the new Constitution and federal structure.

The IT equipment, worth $609,873 (NRS 72 million) and procured by UNFPA with UKaid funding, comprises of 2,250 tablets with power-banks and accessories, 35 laptops, 47 desktop computers, five mobile work-stations, one server, three high-resolution printers and relevant software licenses.

It will enable CBS to produce census data that meets the highest technological standards.

The need for high-quality and reliable population data has been underscored by the global COVID-19 pandemic and is also essential to measure Nepal’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, with their strong commitment of leaving no one behind.

The use of innovative technology in the 2021 NPHC – including tablets in selected census enumeration areas, will ensure that CBS captures detailed data on how many people are living in the country – disaggregated to the lowest administrative level ¬– and how they are living – their health and well-being, problems and prospects and socio-economic circumstances, UNFPA said in a press statement.

The 2021 NPHC data will be invaluable for policymakers and planners to understand the situation across the country, development needs and where or how to invest in everything from schools to health care to roads.

“We commit to undertake the census to address the data gaps at the lowest administrative level while ensuring that the health and safety precautions of our personnel and the respondents is in compliance with government guidance,” said Nebin Lal Shrestha, Director General at CBS.

The IT equipment will strengthen the CBS’s infrastructure and capacity and complements its efforts to modernise the census operation through a multi-method approach of data collection.

UNFPA is supporting Nepal Government to undertake the 12th NPHC, recognising that reliable and timely data is the foundation of sustainable and inclusive development in Nepal.

“The census is the cornerstone of the statistical infrastructure – it provides a numerical profile of the country hence is of great value to the public and government alike. UNFPA is proud to offer technical and financial support to the Government to ensure that the census is of high-quality, upholds international standards, and produces data that are widely disseminated and utilised for development gains”, said Lubna Baqi, UNFPA Country Representative in Nepal.

“The UK’s support to Nepal always aims to be based on data that is reliable and which includes everyone. The census is one of the most important chances to capture data so that any number of organisations – from the government through to development partners and community organisations – can direct their assistance in the best way. In turn, this will help improve the services provided to women, men, children, the poor, the vulnerable and other groups of people,” said Lisa Honan, Development Director at the British Embassy Kathmandu.