20 October 2015

World Statistics Day: Better data, Better lives


@ UNICEF Mongolia/2013

Today is World statistics day. This day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010 to recognize the central role of statistics for development and their importance in shaping our societies. With the recent adoption of Sustainable Development Agenda by countries, reliable and timely statistics and indicators have become more important than ever. For that reason, World Statistics Day this year is being observed under the theme “Better data, better lives.”

Better data means better lives: in rapidly changing world, capturing the changes happening in the lives of people with statistics and taking the decisions timely is critically important. Therefore, better data is a timely data from reliable sources, obtained based on sound statistical methods and new technologies. Objective and quality statistics are vital for drawing right conclusions about the development course and taking correct decisions.

Statistics is not only about collecting and presenting data, it also refers to a system of organization of data collection, data analyses and data interpretation. It is also about independence, good governance and transparency that is based on science.

In Mongolia, UNICEF gathers evidence on the situation of children and women in Mongolia in collaboration with partners such as National Statistical Office of Mongolia, through Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), an international household survey programme. Since its first implementation in 1995, MICS has become integral part of national statistical system recognized by national law for measuring indicators for women and children in Mongolia.  

Total of five MICS has been conducted in Mongolia, the last one being Social Indicator Sample Survey, which combines MICS, Reproductive Health Survey (RHS) and Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). The survey was the largest of its kind ever conducted in Mongolia, including 15,500 households.

With almost two decades of data at national and sub-national level on social indicators, MICS provides a picture of our present and reflection on our past. MICS comes out with new kinds of data, which helps draw attention to unseen issues or issues that we were not aware of before MICS. For example, in the Nalaikh district of Ulaanbaatar where UNICEF and the NSO in 2012 undertook a MICS, the under-5 mortality rate was 45 per thousand live births as opposed to Ulaanbaatar as whole where it is 21 per thousand live births. Based on these statistics indicating multiple deprivations and a study of the drivers of inequity, Nalaikh district was selected as one of the target areas where UNICEF supports high-impact, child-friendly interventions in selected disadvantaged communities.

Further to make data work for children and bring improvements to their lives, more focus should be given to the following areas:
     ·         Improve the statistical techniques and methodologies to reveal the inequities to respond to the upcoming new development goals - the Sustainable Development Goals
     ·         Real-time data systems reflecting the fast and changing development
     ·         Strengthen the use of statistical data objectively and meaningfully in monitoring and evaluation of development policies and programs

To fulfill the above needs, UNICEF supports the National Government and national academic institutions in building their capacities by partnering in implementation of different research projects. 

Author

Khurelmaa Dashdorj, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer and Enkhzul Altangerel, Digital Communications Consultant, UNICEF Mongolia


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