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CRVS stakeholders, structures and coordination

Roles and responsibilities of different government entities within CRVS systems

Stakeholder mapping supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative in a number of countries has shown that many different agencies have responsibilities for aspects of the CRVS system. These include the office of the registrar general, the ministries or departments responsible for individual identity, justice, the interior, foreign affairs, finance and planning, statistics, health, and education as well as information, communications and technology (ICT) given the growing role of IT in facilitating all aspects of the CRVS system.

In such a distributed system, it is essential to establish an anchor ministry that has overall responsibilities for key CRVS functions and also for coordination with other agencies and entities. The anchor ministry may be the Ministry of Home Affairs or Ministry of Interior that hosts the civil registration functions, including the Registrar General and the registration archives.  

The next page shows a typical distribution of roles of different government agencies in the CRVS system. The division of labour is likely to vary somewhat in different settings, depending on local administrative structures and histories. Within each responsible agency, operational aspects of the CRVS system should have clearly stated regulations and standard operating procedures.

The anchor ministry works with the national coordination committee to ensure that definitions of terms, classifications, coverage, and statistical data tabulation are consistent and compatible among collaborating agencies in line with the applicable country laws. 

When the anchor ministry houses the functions of both national civil registration and national identity management this enables efficient decision-making and coordinated provision of civil registration and identification services. Data linkage between the two is possible through a unique identification (ID) number that is assigned to each individual at birth. This ID number is used on legal documents such as birth and death certificates and permits efficient data sharing such as the electoral register, pensions and entitlements and health.

Depending on the specific functions, the day-to-day administration of civil registration services may be placed under the jurisdiction of other ministries, such as the Ministry of Health (eg birth and death registration), Ministry of Justice (eg marriage or divorce registration), or of local government. The responsibility of producing national vital statistics is typically placed within the jurisdiction of the National Statistical Office, which may be an agency within the Ministry of Economy, Finance or Commerce. 

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