Data to Protect. National Consultation on Data Ecosystem Strengthening for Migrant and Forcibly Displaced Children
A national consultation on data on migrant and forcibly displaced children took place on 4-5 April 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. The consultation was hosted by the National Statistical Office of Thailand in collaboration with the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The consultation allowed key national stakeholders and international agencies to present the state of the art of their work and data collection activities with regards to migrant and forcibly displaced children. It also kick-started the process of mapping data on children on the move in Thailand. In the coming months, an assessment of current databases in Thailand with relevance for child migrants will be conducted with the aim to identify gaps and challenges. For the assessment, UNICEF and IOM have developed an Assessment Toolkit consisting of a general questionnaire that focuses on the overall data collection, sharing and hosting. In addition, the toolkit entails several area-specific modules on themes, particularly relevant to migrant and forcibly displaced children.
Around 60 representatives from a wide range of Thai ministries, including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Education, as well as representatives from the Mahidol University, and multiple representatives from the NSO, attended the two-day meeting.
Some of the main challenges with regards to data in Thailand were mentioned by ministry representatives and statisticians, including a currently siloed approach to data, with little integration across ministries. However, a new Government Information Network has recently been collecting and integrating data on one common online platform.