Census is the life blood and most predominant catalyst of economic growth and development of any nation. Hence, it is indispensable for the United Nations’ newly adopted 17 sustainable development goals.
Sustainable development goals have just been inaugurated just as Nigeria is at the verge of conducting another census. Therefore the whole essence of this article is to expound the importance of census in pragmatic pursuance of these 17 SDGs for poverty alleviation and rapid economic development of our nation so that international organisations, government, groups of individuals, and individuals can give every support to the National Population Commission to conduct another reliable census.
However, the real meaning of SDGs needs to be understood before we relate it with census.
SDGs can be described as meeting the present needs without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs. According to the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP), people around the world demand leadership on poverty, inequality and climate. To turn these demands into action, world leaders gathered on 25th September, 2015 at the United Nations office in New York to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals or global goals which will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years beginning with a historic pledge to end poverty everywhere permanently are
- No poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good health and Well being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent work and Economic growth
- Industry innovation and Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequalities
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life below Water
- Life on Land
- Peace, Justice and strong Institutions
- Partnership for the Goals
A cursory look at each of the SDGs would reveal that the ultimate of each is to better the life of every human being worldwide. This is why the only way to monitor and evaluate the extent of achievement of each goal is by measuring the extent of its impact on the greatest proportion of the population. Hence, census is the crux of the 17 SDGs.
In this regard, there is no denying the fact that meaningful and positive change can be achieved in Nigeria and other developing nations with the SDGs through only reliable demographic data from census.
SDGs emerged at this time when Nigeria is preparing for another census possibly in 2018. This is a very good omen and good opportunity for the present government at Federal, State and Local levels to pursue the 17 SDGs with pragmatic approach to have significant impact on the whole population. This is because census figure is required for the realisation of each of the target of the SDGs as can be seen from the analysis below:-
GOAL 1:- End poverty in all its forms everywhere. Globally more than 800 million people are still living on less than $1.25 a day, many lacking access to adequate food, clean water and sanitation.
This situation is not unconnected with Nigeria. For instance, out of 28,197, 085 of regular households captured by 2006 Census only 1,762, 974, that is only about 6 per cent of regular households are with pipe borne water, whereas in Ghana figure is 14.5 per cent. Hence, it is the next census that will enable Nigeria to know the present position to serve as baseline and devise various interventions to meet the targets of the Goal 1 and indeed other 16 Goals.
As IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, stated during her visit to Nigeria, there is poverty in the country, therefore the coming 2018 census is of great importance for Nigeria, and really the census is most crucial for the realisation of Goal 1 and indeed other SDGs. For instance, from the Housing Characteristics and Amenities Table, which is one of the many tables produced from 2006 census by the National Population Commission (NPC), we can get the following data: types of housing units, number of sleeping rooms available to household; material used for roof finish; tenure status of dwelling units; ownership state of dwelling units; water supply for domestic use; toilet facilities for household use; cooking fuel for household use; lighting fuel for household use. All these statistics have to be put in place for the monitoring and evaluation of the Goal 1 and Goal 6 of SDGs.
The targets of the Goal 1 of SDGs are as follow:-
- By 2030 eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.
- By 2030 reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all dimensions according to national definition.
- Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.
- By 2030 ensure that all men and women in particular the poor and vulnerable have equal rights to economic resources as well as access to basic services, ownership and control own land and other forms of property inheritance, national resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance.
- By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to eliminate related extreme events and other economic, social, and environmental shocks and disasters.
- Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing Countries in particular least developed Countries to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions.
- Create sound policy frameworks at National, Regional and International levels based on pro-poor and gender – sensitive, development strategies to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication action.
Census that will provide all demographic data is the tool to attaining all the targets of SDG Goal 1. The data would be needed to set benchmark or baseline and for monitoring and evaluation of every target.
GOAL 2:- Zero Hunger, to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030 making sure all people especially children and the more vulnerable have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round.
The targets for this Goal are as follow:-
- By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
- By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets stunting and wasting in children under
5 years of age and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.
- By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small scale food production in particular women, indigenous people, family, farmers, pastoralists, and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.
- By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production that help maintain ecosystems that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.
- By 2030, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and formed and domesticated animals and their related wild species including through soundly managed and diversify seed and plant banks a the national, regional, and international levels and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge as international agreed.
- Increase Investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research, and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock agric banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity and in developing countries in particular least developed countries.
None of the targets of Goal 2 can be achieved without census figure. It is with the census figure that we can know the present situation. For instance, it is from the census figure that we can know the total population of farmers, pastoralists and fishers that need to be supported and it is with census figure that we can know the total population of the people in vulnerable situation.
Goal 3, which is about promoting health and well being, has 12 targets to be met by 2030 and census figure is necessary for all the 12 targets. For instance, for us to devise various interventions to reduce maternal mortality ratio to 70 per 100,000 live births and to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1000 live births and under 5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1000 live births, data on present mothers and potential mothers need to be collected. This can only be made available through census figures.
In the same vein, Goal 4, which is to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning, has 10 targets. It is with census figure that the present school age population can be made known so as to make adequate provision to meet these targets.
So, from Goal 1 to Goal 17 the role of census is non-negotiable. Therefore, it can be seen from the above that the census is most crucial catalyst that will propel the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In light of this, it goes without saying that very strong and unfailing support should be given to the National Population Commission of Nigeria in its quest to conduct reliable census.
- Komolafe is an Assistant Director (Census and Statistics) with Oyo State Office of the National Population Commission.
Discussion about this post