“PROTECTING CHILDREN ON the move starts with better data.” Those are the words of a statement recently released by UNICEF. It goes on to say that “reliable, timely and accessible data are essential for understanding how migration and forcible displacement affect children and their families and for putting in place policies and programmes to meet their needs.
”UNICEF is not alone in reaching such conclusions about the importance of data. In 2015, the International Organization for Migration opened a Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, with the purpose of “delivering real-life benefits for migrants and governments.” In October last year, UNHCR and the World Bank announced that they were establishing a joint data centre which will “greatly improve statistics on refugees” and “enable a better informed and more sustainable response to forced displacement.
”Many governments share this enthusiasm for the collection, analysis and dissemination of data about people who are on the move. U.N. member states are currently negotiating two global compacts, one of them relating to international migrants and the other to refugees. The very first objective of the former agreement is “to utilize accurate data as a basis for evidence-based policies,” while the latter asserts that “reliable, comparable and timely data [are] critical for evidence-based measures to improve conditions for refugees.
”The high level of current interest in refugee and migration data should come as no surprise. Innovations in the field of biometrics, the widespread use of digital devices, the popularity of social media and the penetration of internet services to the most remote parts of the world have all allowed information to be collected much faster, more systematically and at far less cost than was previously the case.
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