CRVS stakeholders, structures and coordination
In the past, the civil registration was the main official source for individual identity management. More recently, the digital revolution has led to the development of electronic identity management systems and new approaches for sharing data across separate databases. In this section we offer an overview of how CRVS systems relate to individual identity systems and with the population register.
Civil registration systems are foundational systems. They create legal documentation that can be used by people to prove their identity, civil status and family relationships. Civil registration agencies can issue legal identity documents that contain certified information about vital events. Birth certificates are an example of such an identity document.
A national identification system is the system or combination of systems, rules and procedures that govern the relationship between individuals and organisations regarding the entitlement, use and protection of personal information. Identification systems should be based on information from the civil register, and usually include a unique personal number and/or biometric data. Both civil registers and identification registers need to be regulated and protected by law.
A fundamental principle is that the civil registration system should serve as the basis for individual identification and for the recording of ‘entry into’ and ‘exit from’ the population registers. The birth certificate is considered the foundational document for all individual identity systems and serves multiple purposes. The death certificate permits the removal of individuals from the population register, which is important for updating electoral rolls, pensions and other social security mechanisms for the distribution of goods and services. As countries modernize their civil registration systems and develop national identification systems, a key consideration is that the civil registry should also serve as the starting point for the unique identification of individuals.
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Brolan C et al (2017). Public health emergencies, civil registration and vital statistics, and international law: Understanding the intersections. Medical Law Review.