Civil registration is the process through which governments maintain a record of the occurrence and characteristics of vital events (such as births and deaths) within country. Through birth registration and the issuance of a birth certificate, civil registration establishes an individual’s legal identity, which is a fundamental human right that facilitates the realisation of other critical human and civil rights. Death registration provides the legal closure of an individual’s legal identity and is equally critical in facilitating the realisation of important rights. Civil registration provides governments with routine demographic and health data, needed for administrative planning. It is recognised by the United Nations to be the most reliable source of Vital Statistics.
In an effort to improve Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems, Pacific countries have committed to the Pacific Vital Statistics Action Plan, which sits under the Ten Year Pacific Statistics Strategy and to Asia and Pacific decade for CRVS (2014–2024) and the corresponding regional action framework. Within these frameworks, countries endeavour to achieve three main goals:
- Universal registration of births and deaths (including causes of death);
- Provision of legal documentation (birth and death certificates) on all vital events registered and;
- To produce accurate, complete and timely vital statistics based on civil registration records.
- SDD role in CRVS
Technical assistance for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in the Pacific is coordinated through the Pacific Vital Statistics Action Plan (PVSAP) which is a coordination mechanism for the activities of the Brisbane Accord Group (BAG).
The basic approach of the PVSAP is to work with countries to undertake an assessment of their collection and reporting systems for births, deaths and causes-of-death. This Information is then used by countries to develop a multi-sectoral country-specific CRVS improvement plan. BAG supports countries in building capacity to enable efficient implementation of different components of the CRVS plan.
BAG’s technical assistance programme includes:
- Development of regional best practice guidelines and support to countries to subsequently implement these in areas such as legislation, data sharing, and IT systems;
- Creating awareness and promoting use of the UN principles and recommendations for civil registration and vital statistics systems;
- Capacity building on:
- Analysis and interpretation of civil registration data
- Medical certification of causes of death
- ICD coding of cause of death
- Providing platforms for knowledge and experience sharing through:
- South to south collaboration
- Thematic workshops
- Conducting research based on common issues identified through country assessments and regionals sectoral engagement.
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