What can be done to rapidly improve CRVS systems?
Legislation and regulations
A sound legal framework provides the basis for a universal and responsive CRVS system. Making registration activities subject to the law, and establishing procedural rules and regulations, is essential for the efficient management, operation and maintenance of CRVS systems. Legislation helps to ensure the completeness of registration and to improve the accuracy of information held in the civil record. Laws are needed to safeguard personal information about individuals by ensuring that it remains confidential and secure, and protecting against its misuse. Finally, anchoring civil registration in a law helps to ensure the continuity, consistency, correctness and comprehensiveness of CRVS systems.
Reviewing and updating of relevant legislation, regulations and policies is often a first step and common priority in a comprehensive multi-sectoral national CRVS strategy. It is especially important that the legal framework for CRVS does not create discriminatory barriers to civil registration. Any initiative to modify existing legislation will require careful preparation, and is unlikely to succeed without broad support from government, parliamentarians and civil society in general. Community information and mobilisation along with strong stakeholder involvement will be essential in bringing about legislative and policy change.
Example activities include:
- Reviewing and amending legislation, policies and regulations in adherence with international standards, as described by the United Nations, to ensure access to registration for all without discrimination.
- Reviewing and amending policies, legislation and regulations to ensure that registration of births and deaths is free of charge or with a low fee for late registration
- Reviewing and amending policies, legislation and regulations to protect the confidentiality of personal data in civil registration records
- Putting measures in place to protect the integrity of civil registration records and prevent fraudulent registration of vital events
- Reviewing and amending policies, legislation and regulations pertaining to the certification of deaths, ensuring that they are aligned with international standards as defined by the World Health Organization
- Ensuring uniform implementation of regulations across the jurisdiction.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative has developed a tool to assist in the review of legislation relevant to CRVS. This is a first step in addressing legal and regulatory barriers to registration and is an aid to the production and dissemination of vital statistics.