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NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar — Today, the Central Census Commission of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar organised its third meeting to discuss preparations for the 2014 Population and Housing census.

At his opening address, Vice President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and Patron of the Central Census Commission Dr. Sai Mauk Kham urged all concerned parties to take the census as a national task.

U Khin Yi, the Minister of Immigration and Population and the Chairperson of the Commission reiterated Myanmar’s close cooperation with UNFPA to provide technical assistance and to ensure that the census is conducted according to international standards.

Mr. Mohamed Abdel-Ahad, UNFPA Representative highlighted the technical assistance provided by UNFPA thus far in a number of areas including design of census questionnaire, identification of data processing technology, mapping and development of publicity, advocacy and communication campaign. Chief Technical Advisor has been recruited to oversee the implementation of the census, transfer knowledge, establish quality control mechanisms and ensure adherence to international standards.

He placed emphasis on the role of UNFPA in capacity development of census staff through on the job training, technical assistance and study visits. “Technical preparations for the census are on track, but there is a significant funding gap of $ 38.5 million” he said.

The Commission agreed to intensify resource mobilization efforts.

At his concluding remarks, Dr. Sai Mauk Kham said: “We urge international development partners to support the census as a national development priority”.

The Central Census Commission is the highest organization structure of the census. Other structures include Census Technical Committee, Census Advisory Committee and Census Budget Committee. The Government agreed to UNFPA’s advice of forming a Technical Advisory Board of prominent experts on census and other related disciplines to participate at key milestones of the census and provide advice and oversight to the Government. A pilot census is scheduled on 30 March to 10 April 2013, while the actual census will take place during the same period in 2014. The preliminary result of the census is expected to be released in July 2014, while final results will be released in early 2015. The census is estimated to cost $58.5 million, of which the Government and UNFPA have committed $20 million, leaving a funding gap of $38.5 million.