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As Somalia makes a political and economic transition, credible and timely official statistical information on population, social, economic, and environmental conditions will play a fundamental role in effective policy making, planning, and monitoring for economic growth, poverty reduction, and attainment of such development targets, as the NDP9 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A Population and Housing Census allows for the examination of small and special population groups, as well as the acquisition of information on small geographic units, such as localities and neighborhoods. Similarly, a census provides the most reliable picture of the country's population, including age and sex distribution, as well as its characteristics. Census information is therefore vital for Somali planners to determine the needs of different segments of the population.

UNFPA plays a key role in census globally and is therefore looking to support SNBS in the Somali Population and Housing Census (SPHC)

To date, the census was carried out twice in Somalia: the 1975 Population and Livestock Census, of which the population was adjusted and limited data released, and the 1986 Population and Housing Census whose results were not released. Consequently, there is a need to conduct a census. It is against this backdrop that the focus of the Somalia National Bureau of Statistics (SNBS) is on planning the census and its related activities. The National Census Plan (NCP) is being prepared to be presented to the parliament for political commitment and a Census committee will be set up to spearhead the census planning. The committee will comprise of the members from the SNBS census board and Director Generals of the Ministries of Planning of the Federal Member States (FMS).

During the Somali Donor Group meeting, it was proposed that an expert group from the UN, donor and international community be set up to discuss and provide solutions to topical issues relating to the census. 

UNFPA plays a key role in census globally and is therefore looking to support SNBS in the Somali Population and Housing Census (SPHC). Similarly, UNFPA is committed to support the government’s ambition to conduct a census.

Other anticipated partners for the census technical support include UNECA, UK statistics (ONS), US Census Bureau and ESRI. In addition, UNFPA and other statistical offices in the Region may provide south-to-south triangular collaboration.

Undertaking a census of this scope will require substantial funding. Therefore, there is a need to reach out to all potential donors, including the non-traditional donors. Multiple donors and development partners of Somalia have already expressed their interest to provide technical and/or financial support.

UNFPA will provide both financial and technical support. UNFPA will also play a convening role and will commit to being a cheerleader to gather stakeholders around the table to ensure that this project does not fail, but become a driver for human and economic development for all Somalis.