Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, January 21st, 2018

World Population Day

July 11th was celebrated as the World Population Day around the world. Basically the day was adopted in 1989, after the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) recommended it. The purpose of the day is to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year the theme of the day was, ‘investing in teenage girls’.
One of the most important factors that guarantee proper management of the population within a society and address the issues pertaining to it is the comprehensive and detailed record or enumeration of the population, which is termed as population census. Population census includes not only numbering of the people but also certain attributes attached to them like, gender, age, profession and other necessary attributes. A detailed census also includes the information regarding the distribution of population and the number of houses. Population census must be carried out for a particular period of time and it must be recurring. Mostly, a period of ten years is considered suitable for the census to be repeated.
The data produced as a result of a census can prove to be an asset for the governing authorities in particular and the nation as a whole in general.
It is believed that reliable information is of utmost importance for policymaking, planning and decision making and administration. So, the authorities relevant to public administration can receive valuable information from census data, which makes them capable of making better decisions and design effective policies and arrangements.
Without reliable census data, the deficiencies and the shortcomings in different administrative and governance areas cannot be ascertained and the authorities cannot carryout effective decisions on how and where to allocate resources and how often to do so. One of the most important uses of the census data is in the demarcation of constituencies and the allocation of representation to governing bodies. This use of census data can be helpful in providing just government system, which is one of the most basic requirements of a democratic society. Proper representation of the people in accordance to their number and their constituencies strengthens the grass root democratic patterns and provides a platform to resolve conflicts and to give every member of a society representation in the government. This concept is the true demand of diverse societies, like that of Afghanistan, which is composed of various races and ethnic groups.
The developed countries of the world are very serious about carrying out population and housing censuses. They make sure that the census process should happen regularly; i.e. after every ten years, with some of the countries even opting for repetition after every five years. This is one of the reasons of effective management of their countries. There are countries in the world that are yet to have their first population census. Such countries are mostly the third world countries that suffer from intense economic problems and continuous waves of clashes and wars. The socio-political and socio-economic conditions in such countries have never given them an opportunity of having detailed population census as peace has been one of the main pre-requisites of a detailed population census. Afghanistan is one of the same kinds of countries. Its first comprehensive and scientific census is yet to be carried out.
The country's first census carried out in 1979-80 could not be completed because of the political changes in the region. For almost thirty years the country depended on the same data, which contained major errors.
The census scheduled 2008 and further postponed for 2010 has not been conducted yet. Estimations that are available as that of 2010 are also with many controversies. They are derived from the incomplete census of 1979. These estimations are not considered true representative of the people of Afghanistan. The circumstances prior to first presidential election in 2005, were most suited for this purpose, but the insincere considerations of political groups spoiled everything. The diverse and suffering people of Afghanistan have been in dire need of such census. So much fund and support have poured in Afghanistan for the last few years but because of no detailed data available for its population, the deficiencies have not been identified appropriately and the funds and supports have not been able to be used effectively and for the required areas.
Furthermore, the structure of Afghan society has been very diverse. The estimations depicted today about Afghanistan's demography by many statistical sources are overwhelmingly opposed by different ethnic groups in the country. They believe that these estimations tend to misrepresent different ethnic groups. Such controversies in the country can serve as severe blow to democratic evolution and can discriminate the people from their true representation in the government.
The solution lies in the comprehensive, detailed, scientific and unbiased population census in the country. The relevant authorities in the country must take practical measures in order to facilitate such a census. World Community along with UNFPA, that are determined to carry on population census in all the countries of the world that have been suffering in this regard, can cash the opportunity in Afghanistan to inculcate in the minds of the concerned authorities and common people the importance of a detailed population census. The government, simultaneously, must make sure that all efforts in this regard are facilitated in the best possible way and with complete devotion and sincerity.