Civil Registration and Vital Statistics

13 June 2010-Dhaka, Bangladesh- People waiting for the bus during rush hou,  Photo Credit: Kibae Park

Civil registration is the critical act of recording important events in people’s lives such as births, marriages, divorces, adoptions, deaths, and causes of death. It provides individuals with the official recognition and documentation necessary to establish legal identity, family relationships and civil status. This documentation is essential for individuals to exercise various human, legal, economic, social and political rights and enables access to services, such as health, education and social protection. Some examples include seeking employment, voting, transferring property, opening bank accounts, accessing credit and obtaining identification for instance ID cards, passports and driving licenses.

Vital statistics generated from civil registration significantly contribute to the formulation of effective and efficient evidence-based policy across multiple sectors. Reliable information on births, fertility and deaths enable the production of timely and accurate population estimates and other demographic and health statistics, which contribute to more effective planning, efficient resource allocation and accurate evaluation and monitoring, such as of the MDG indicators and the new Sustainable Development Goals.

ESCAP is working with governments and development partners to improve civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) in the region as part of the 'Get Every One in the Picture” initiative in Asia and the Pacific region launched in 2014. A Ministerial Conference on CRVS was held in November 2014 to assure continuous support to strengthen CRVS in Asia and the Pacific and actively promote the right of all to a legal identity, evidenced with registration certificates.

The Conference resulted in the Regional Action Framework on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific region and the proclamation of 2015-2024 as the Asian and Pacific CRVS Decade. ESCAP contributes to the realization of the CRVS Decade by working with governments and development partners to prioritise the improvement of registration and statistics. Action includes assessments of national CRVS systems, monitoring regional progress and raising awareness of the importance of registration. In this regard ESCAP convenes a regional steering group, with members from governments and development partners, which functions as the custodian of the Asia-Pacific CRVS Decade.