Timely, disaggregated socio-demographic data by age, gender, birth rate, education or employment level provide a sound evidence base for sustainable policy planning. However, many countries have limited data collection and analysis capacities. For instance, they lack the necessary technical infrastructure or enough qualified personnel to monitor country progress towards a demographic dividend. As a result, the collected data provides an insufficient basis to map population needs. The first Food for Thought Paper outlines how the major barriers to sustainable data collection, analysis and use can be adequately addressed.