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Tahdeeth. An Innovative Approach to Tracking the Sustainable Development of Sharjah

Societies seeking advancement must establish fundamental pillars that will carry the weight of progress and enable sustainable development. Integrated databases with comprehensive and recent statistics of the entire population of a district, town, or country functioning in myriad areas of societal life is one of the most relevant examples of a fundamental pillar that provides an almost accurate assessment of ground realities and, therefore, plays a pivotal role in shaping development strategies.

According to the UN statistical data and reports issued by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to grow to 8.6 billion by 2030, 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. With roughly 83 million people added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue. The World Population Prospects - UN’s annual review report focusing on global demographic trends and prospects for the future, for instance, is an essential guide for global policymakers when they approach sustainable development.

Acknowledging the importance and effectiveness of statistical data in the development and advancement of societies and peoples, the UN pays attention to the need to establish, within its structure, a competent statistics bureau (the Statistics Division) to serve as a global center for data and statistics, providing the world with accurate operational recommendations and methodologies in the population censuses and demographic surveys as well as information and statistical databases, compiled by the internationalist programmes, funds and UN-affiliated bodies.

All this is aimed to support the efforts of countries in developing their national statistical systems and enhancing the work of the committees concerned, since they realise that a robust development process depends on utmost precision and substantial efforts in the collection of data, not on speculation and approximation.

The Sharjah Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD) has chalked up organisational plans and strategies reliant on objectivity, honesty and transparency, without compromising the privacy aspect. Their staff plays diverse roles so the wheel of social development in the emirate keeps rolling, they examine the living conditions of Sharjah’s residents, especially the locals, and contribute to drawing up comprehensive development plans that go beyond regulation to really bring about qualitative improvements in standards of living.


In the field of socio-economic development, the various service departments in the emirate have adopted promising plans and strategies to promote this reality. The role played by DSCD has paved the way for the elaboration of a new and sophisticated concept in keeping with the vision and directions of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. 

Since its inception, DSCD has rolled out a series of precise statistical and strategic services concerning the emirate’s population – efforts in line with their focus on integrated business performance, and the employment of accurate and effective strategies at the community level. Through these services, DSCD aims to integrate all government departments serving community on one platform, where they will be able to implement projects and meet future aspirations in a way that drives the development process significantly forward.

To wrap up 2015, the department conducted a comprehensive census of the emirate’s population. In a methodical survey carried out by hundreds of qualified volunteers, the census monitored several markers and circumstances of Sharjah’s populace. The information was made available to relevant stakeholders who benefitted greatly from having access to accurate statistics that they used in the community building process.

Now, after a series of active efforts in the emirate, we find ourselves before a new and more sophisticated project, “Tahdeeth” – the-first-of-its-kind at the level of statistical innovations in the region. Based on the 2015 population census, DSCD strengthened its methods of data collection by involving talented young people, equipping them with the tools required for information collection while maintaining complete confidentiality.

As reflected in its name, Tahdeeth or ‘update’ seeks to provide accurate and latest census data, which will be collected within the present context of demographic changes and living conditions that have altered since 2015, reflecting the statistical makeup ​​of 2017. People's housing changes, their new addresses, updated population count, their characteristics and special composition, will all be reflected by the new project. 

Tahdeeth is programmed to tap into the information that can be accessed digitally – tracking citizens who have registered identities or passports issued by Sharjah, and people whose details were recorded by the 2015 census under the following seven social groups: orphans, widows, divorcees, abandoned women, persons with disabilities, those who have never attended school, who want to complete their education, and those looking for work. The information collected will be shared with relevant stakeholders, who can then contribute to strategic decisions adopted by the emirate in areas of health, society, economics, housing and others.

The project is being executed by a staff of 60 local women who are using a communication mechanism based on both science and psychology to interact with families and extract necessary information with utmost care and accuracy. This team is supported by on-ground field staff – again all females. The team began its mission earlier this month, and will be working through the next months until the completion of the project.

As DSCD makes steady progress into realising the aims and objectives “Tahdeeth”, it makes inroads into another ambitious statistical project ‘Tabadol’. This system is being designed specifically for the collection of administrative data, which will be fed into an integrated statistical system. By approaching data collection and registration from several angles, DSCD aims to enhance the capabilities of statistical sections in government departments, and allow them access to a mechanism that will allow unhindered information exchange among them.

The Department is also working to gather the national income data of Sharjah through another project ‘National Income Accounts’ – the figures once available will effectively testify the growing economic importance of the emirate, and substantiate with facts how it has been consolidating its position on the tourism and investment maps of the UAE and the region.

Through Tahdeeth, Tabadol and National Income Accounts, DSCD has reinforced its leadership in bringing in new and advanced concepts in statistical work. Through Tahdeeth, they have empowered the emirate and its decision makers with a statistical alternative characterised by its ability to gather information without incurring high costs. It is based on advanced technical elements that apply the highest levels accuracy, safety and privacy, and will help update information about the 25,000 Emirati families in Sharjah alongside adding new data to reflect the latest developments of the past two years. It continues from where the numeric values of the 2015 census left, without compromising or overriding them.


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