ESCAP/POPIN Expert Working Group on Development of Population Information Centres and Networks, 20-23 June 1984, Bangkok, Thailand.
An overview of current population information programs at the regional, national, and global level was presented at a meeting of the Expert Working Group on Development of Population Information Centres and Networks. On the global level, the decentralized Population Information Network (POPIN) was established, consisting of population libraries, clearinghouses, information systems, and documentation centers. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Regional Population Information Centre (PIC) has actively promoted the standardization of methodologies for the collection and processing of data, the use of compatible terminology, adoption of classification systems, computer-assisted data and information handling, and improved programs of publication and infomration dissemination, within and among national centers. Among the national PICs, 83% are attached to the primary national family planning/fertility control unit and 17% are attached to demographic data, research, and analysis units. Lack of access to specialized information handling equipment such as microcomputers, word processors, and computer terminals remains a problem for PICs. Recommendations were made by the Expert Working Group to improve the functions of PICs: 1) the mandate and resoponsibilities of the PIC should be explicilty stated; 2) PICs should collect, process, and disseminate population information in the most effective format to workers in the population feild; 3) PICs should be given flexibility in the performance of activitites by their governing bodies; 4) short-term training should be provided in computerization and dissemination of information; 5) research and evaluation mechanisms for PIC activities should be developed; 6) PIC staff should prepare policy briefs for decision makers; 7) access to parent organizations should be given to nongovernment PICs; 8) study tours to foreign PICs should be organized for PIC staff; and 9) on-the-job training in indexing and abstracting should be provided. Networking among PICs can be further facilitated by written acquisition policies, automation of bibliographic information, common classification systems, and exchange of ideas and experience between various systems.