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United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA ). Iraq Ministry of planning and Development Cooperation (MoPDC). Iraq Population and Housing Census (IPHC09) Census under Fire and Politicization Dr. Luay SHABANEH, UNFPA-CTA. Census Current Status. Joint COSIT-UNFPA Presentation.

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United nations population fund unfpa

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Iraq Ministry of planning and Development Cooperation (MoPDC)

Iraq Population and Housing Census (IPHC09)

Census under Fire and Politicization


United nations population fund unfpa

Census Current Status

Joint COSIT-UNFPA Presentation

Justifications of Census undertaking

Role of UNFPA




Lessons learned



In wars and conflict since 30 years

About 26-32 million inhabitant

Fragile political process

Federal government in Baghdad and regional government in KRG

Control on boarder is fragile

800,000 internally displaced

2-3 million externally displaced

Conflict on controlling some areas

ID system fragile, registers not exist

16 Governorates, 15,000 communities

And 320,000 fieldworkers

Strong leadership for COSIT

High Political support for IPHC09

COSIT is credible institution

Strongly committed team

Ali Baban Minister


Chairman, CNC

Mehdi Al-Alak, President of COSIT, Chairman, COR



Justifications of iphc

Justifications of IPHC



Launching IPHC is a MUST ASAP


Taking the Risk by International Organizations is very much Justified

International Technical and financial Support is rationally placed

Supporting collective effort is much needed


The census should have been launched in 2007- each 10 years


Lack of accurate population statistics

Irrelevance of 1997 census

Population mobility and displacement after 2003

Lack of small area statistics for planning


Lack of sampling frames

Inaccurate population projections


IPHC09 is a potential peace making tool

United nations population fund unfpa

Nationally Owned by MoPDC

Nationally led by COSIT

Internationally Supported by UNFPA

Operational Financing is mostly national

Financing TA through UNFPA

Budget cut by 40% after crisis

Role of unfpa

Role of UNFPA

  • UNFPA intervention come in line with Iraq’s NDS 2007-2010

  • UNDG established ITF & mandated item C-23 to UNFPA

  • The national counterpart at the Iraqi side is COSIT

  • Development objective: To facilitate availability of data to help seven out of eight goals of MDGs

  • Immediate objectives: to increase capacity of COSIT, to plan, implement, analyze and disseminate census, and to strengthen the capacity of national partners, to monitor, advocate and communicate census results

Role of unfpa1

Role of UNFPA

  • O1: Capacities are increased to plan and implement high quality and internationally recognised population and housing censuses and other large-scale surveys.

  • O2: Capacities are enhanced to conduct disaggregated analysis

  • O3: Capacities of line Ministries to utilize census data is increased

  • O4: Increased compliance of IPHC09 with international standards

Role of unfpa2

Role of UNFPA

UNFPA was keen to approach this project from capacity building point of view intervention forms

  • Facilitation for COSIT to reach and conclude the outsourced services and goods

  • On-job training of Iraqi census team in different fields

  • Technical backstopping to Iraq team in all census stages

  • Quality assurance to make sure that outsourced goods and service

Iphc progress legal basis

IPHC ProgressLegal Basis

  • Completed

  • June 2008, Council of Ministers Decree to Conduct IPHC

  • October 2008, endorsement by Legislative Council

  • November 3, 2008, presidential decree number (32) of IPHC law number (40) for 2008 published in Official Gazette

  • September 2009 – rescheduling of population counting

United nations population fund unfpa

Census Plans


Master Plan - completed

Data collection - completed

Training Plan - completed

Security Plan – completed

Data Processing Plan - ongoing-80%

DisseminationPlan - ongoing-30%

Publicity Campaign – ongoing-50%

Quality control Plan – ongoing -75%

Contingency Plan- not completed-30%

United nations population fund unfpa


On going

Designing Census Tools

Questionnaires- completed

Manuals- completed

QC forms-completed

Classifications- completed

Testing - completed

Pilot Census– completed

Cartography ongoing-70%

United nations population fund unfpa


On going

Pre-Testing - completed

Pilot Census– completed

Training of Field Staffongoing-80% for 1st stage

Numbering &listing98% completed

IT environment

Re-doing maps

Updating Numbering and Listing

Population counting

Remaining Tasks

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Transfer of know-how

Obstacles Facing IPHC09

Risk Challenge Difficulty

Overlapped boarders

Compliance with Int. Standards

Security Situation

Launching nationwide


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Census Politicizing

There is high level of politicizing the census in Iraq.

The direct reason of politicizing comes from the fact that the legislative council (House of Representatives) linked solving a numbering of political problems with the census results.  This includes:

  • distribution of wealth (oil revenues)

  • reconciliation conflicting boarders/counties.

    Distribution of electoral seats by ethnicity in the mixed counties. 

Census politicizing

Census Politicizing

Some politicians tried to link the census with elections.

The direct implication appears at three levels:

  • more pressure on COSIT regarding the on census date,

  • more pressure (intervention) on the content of census questionnaires,

  • more quality assurance and anti-fraud measures were requested from COSIT to ensure credibility of the outcomes.

Census politicizing1

Census Politicizing

The challenges facing COSIT are

  • creating a national consensus on the census date and content

  • launching the census in a freely professional manner.

    The risks on the census launching

  • repeated postponement of the fieldwork

  • not endorsing the census results

  • undermine the whole statistical system as a result of more politicizing due to political intervention and allowing non statistical actors to intervene. 

United nations population fund unfpa

Challenges Ahead before census team

Population displacement over time

Locality Affiliation

For some communities

Boarder conflict

Violent opposition

Other Challenges:

1. Security Problems

2. Counting Iraqis abroad

3. Endorsement of Census Results

4. Fraud

Strategy to deal with challenges

Strategy to Deal with Challenges

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Lessons Learned

Fragility is not exception any more

Census could be peacemaking tool

Communication strategy is key

International support is very important

Investment in training is a wise strategy

Argumentation with political level is important

Thank you for your attention

Thank you for your attention

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