Job Opening

Posting Title: Establishment of Community of Practice on the Use of Surveys and Censuses for Adult Mortality
Department/Office: Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
Duty Station: BANGKOK
Posting Period: 06 December 2022 - 16 December 2022
Job Opening Number: 22-Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific-196849-Consultant
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Result of Service

This consultancy will lead the initiation and implementation of a sustainable community of practice. This will be through documentation of experiences, convening of regular meetings, outreach and advocacy, and maintenance and curation of the website.

Specifically the consultant will:
• Design the COP structure to helps achieve the overall objectives of the platform, while
having in mind the longer-term needs
• Set up the platform, identify members and invite them to join/contribute
• Identify existing research and case studies to populate the platform
• Organize regular peer-led meetings with the members (bi-weekly at the initial stage),
including preparing agenda, identifying and inviting speakers, advocating for the vent,
managing records/minutes and sharing through the CoP
• Organize and classifying documents
• Prepare summary papers around different topics, based on compiled materials and input in
the CoP and other literatures

Work Location

Home base

Expected duration

1 Feb - 30 Sep 23

Duties and Responsibilities

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes the inclusive and sustainable future for all with a focus on leaving no one behind. Knowing the population of a country and its subdivisions, leading causes of death, fertility rates and life expectancy enhances public administration by informing effective, efficient and directed policies at the national and local levels. However, more than 100 low and middle-income countries lack functional CRVS systems, and, as a result, the registration rate of births and deaths is incomplete, which results in uncertainties of who is being left behind as the relevant disaggregated population data and vital statistics are not available.

Despite continuous efforts, an estimated 64 million children, under the age of five, within Asia and the Pacific have not had their birth registered, and millions of other vital events, including deaths, are not registered. The midterm reports submitted by countries at the midpoint of the CRVS Decade demonstrated the need for greater efforts to accomplish the vision of universal and responsive CRVS systems. Reaffirmed commitment to improved CRVS systems has also been made at the Second Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics, which was organised in November 2021.

Against this backdrop, ESCAP and Bloomberg Philanthropies have collaborated and implemented the project entitled Getting everyone in the picture: strengthening civil registration and vital statistics systems in Asia and the Pacific (Data 4 Health Initiative). The project builds on lessons learned through three phases of projects with the Data 4 Health initiative as well as multiple projects on CRVS implemented by the Statistics Division since the inception of the Asia and the Pacific CRVS Decade (2015-2024). The work supports implementation of the Regional Action Framework on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific and the further commitments made in the Ministerial Declaration on Building a More Resilient Future with Inclusive Civil Registration and Vital Statistic.

More specifically, the project aims to develop statistical capacity and demographic skills within national statistics offices (NSOs) and other line ministries/organizations responsible for the production of vital statistics. This includes various activities at national, subregional and regional levels such as capacity building workshops, technical advisory services, knowledge sharing activities as well as development of knowledge products.

In countries which have well-established CRVS systems, estimates of adult mortality are regularly generated from data collected through death registration. This allows tracking changes in population health, as well as the impact of epidemics and other crises, in near real-time . In other parts of the world however, these systems are often deficient and seldom yield reliable monthly or annual series of vital statistics . In the medium to long-term, continuous efforts and investment to improve the functioning and completeness of CRVS systems for countries where these are incomplete or unreliable are essential.

In the short term, surveys and censuses can help orient strategies for CRVS improvements. They can also help fill key data gaps. Surveys and censuses generate mortality data primarily by asking respondents to report the survival status of (some of) their close relatives . These data are then used to reconstruct periodic snapshots of recent mortality levels. This approach has known limitations. In particular, surveys and censuses are conducted infrequently and do not allow timely and frequently published mortality estimates. The estimates produced from retrospectively collected data are vulnerable to selection bias and reporting errors. Surveys that include questions about adult mortality also often have limited sample sizes.

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, the demand for data has expanded to adult mortality and causes of death. Better coverage of older age groups, documenting risk factors, identifying socioeconomic disparities, measuring short-term fluctuations, and measuring the completeness and gaps in death registration and health information systems have all been identified as emerging data needs. The COVID-19 pandemic most recently brought into sharp focus the need for reliable mortality estimation tools for countries with deficient death registration systems, including those which did not prove sufficiently robust to deal with a health crisis. Finally, as countries move to build strong and integrated statistical systems with a fully functioning CRVS system at its center, estimating disaggregated mortality levels from surveys and census is key to assessing inequalities in CRVS systems. This is essential to adopt the right measures to achieve full coverage of death registration and ensure no death is uncounted, especially since it is likely that those most impacted by the pandemic were those most likely to be excluded from death registration.

To review and discuss possible approaches to improve adult mortality data availability and timeliness for countries with incomplete death registration, an Expert Group Meeting was organized in August 2022 by UN-DESA Statistics Division, in collaboration with the DESA Population Division and New York University Abu Dhabi. Experts at the meeting reviewed innovative approaches for surveys and censuses based on ongoing research and experiments for countries without complete death registration. The meeting was organised under the guidance of the WHO-DESA Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Mortality Assessment (TAG). Work conducted by the Expert Group Meeting was directly guided by Working Group 2 of the TAG, chaired by Professor Stéphane Helleringer.

In this context, a Community of Practice will be established, in response to requests from the Expert Group Meeting, to share and curate knowledge and experiences through peer-to-peer exchanges and learning in collecting adult mortality data through household surveys, censuses and integrated data for countries without reliable CRVS systems. The Community of Practice will also identify areas requiring further methodological development including testing and piloting; and developing guidance.

More specifically, the CoP will
- Share knowledge and experiences through peer-to-peer exchanges on the use of surveys, censuses and data integration for adult mortality estimates, bringing together existing and new research, experiments and lessons learnt in countries on the collection, data quality evaluation, analysis and use of adult mortality data;
- Foster collaborations on the measurement of adult mortality among experts from different communities, including national statistical offices, health ministries and/or other line ministries responsible for death statistics/registration, survey implementers, civil society, academic researchers, and those from the regional and international organisations
- Identify methodological gaps that require further testing/experimentation and promote innovative approaches for advances in data availability and methodologies related to adult mortality, for closing data gaps and improving data availability related to adult mortality;
- Inform further development of guidance to support countries based on ongoing research and experiences gathered during existing and ongoing piloting and experiments.

Qualifications/special skills

Advanced degree in statistics, demography, sociology, public health or related fields
- At least 5 years of experience in demographic or population statistics
- Understanding of official statistics in the Asia-Pacific region
- Familiarity with the issues of working with deficient CRVS systems


- Fluency in English, including written and oral is required.

Skills :
- Strong understanding of demographic methods, especially with regards to mortality is essential.
- Strong drafting skills, including the ability to summarize technical material.
- Excellent coordination, planning, communication and organizational skills
- Ability to collate a vast array of information and ideas, use critical thinking, conceptualize ideas, and articulate relevant subject matter in a clear and concise way

No Fee


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