Meeting works towards ensuring all births and deaths in the Pacific are counted

22 February 2016

Noumea, New Caledonia – Registrars, statisticians and health information specialists from across the Pacific are gathering in Noumea, New Caledonia, this week (22-25 February) to share experiences and lessons on improving civil registration and vital statistics systems and data.

This is the first regional meeting of its kind to bring all three major sectors together within the region, and is an opportunity to share the lessons and experiences from the first five years of the Pacific Vital Statistics Action Plan.

Civil registration is essential to provide timely data for development, to plan services such as schools and infrastructure, support human and child rights and to promote good governance and accountability.

Vital statistics and cause of death data collected through a routine registration system is also essential to be able to effectively identify and respond to key health issues in the Pacific region, such as non-communicable diseases.

The meeting on "Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in the Pacific Islands – Standards, best practice and lessons learnt" is organised by the Brisbane Accord Group of agencies, in particular the Pacific Community (SPC), the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); with the United Nations Statistics Division.

Hosted by SPC, the meeting will draw on the expertise of nine technical agencies and regional networks, and will include participation from 22 Pacific Island countries and territories.

Since the beginning of the Pacific Vital Statistics Action Plan in 2011, there has been significant progress, with countries such as Nauru, American Samoa and Cook Islands having recently released detailed analysis reports; new computerised systems being introduced in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, and a significant increase in birth registration completeness in countries including Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

This has been complimented by the strong political commitment in the region to improving Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) through both the Ministers of Health meetings, and more recently the adoption of the Asia Pacific Regional Action Framework for Improving CRVS and the Asia-Pacific CRVS Decade (2015-2024).

“Despite the progress to date, more needs to be done to ensure that everyone is included ‘in the picture’ of our region,” Pacific Community’s Deputy Director-General, Cameron Diver said.

“This week’s meeting provides an opportunity for island states to join together to build on the commitments made to improving CRVS in the region and to share knowledge and experiences on how to do this,” Diver said.

For more information on the workshop proceedings or Pacific Vital Statistics Action Plan, please visit: www.pacific-crvs.org; for more information on the UN Decade for CRVS or Asia Pacific Regional Action Framework please visit www.getinthepicture.org.

Media contacts:

Gaelle Le Gall – Communications Specialist, Statistics for Development Division, SPC. Ph: (687) 26.20.00 ext 31225; 

Karen Carter – CRVS Specialist, Statistics for Development Division, SPC. Ph: (687) 26.20.00 ext 31217; 

Tanja Sejersen- Statistician, Statistics Division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Bangkok, Thailand. Ph: 66 (0) 2288 1830

Background:

The Brisbane Accord Group was established in 2010 and includes 12 partner agencies and regional networks: the Pacific Community (SPC), WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Pacific Health Information Network, Pacific Civil Registrars Network, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, and Fiji National University. SPC acts as coordinator and secretariat for the group, with work coordinated under the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy through the Pacific Vital Statistics Action Plan.