What is CRVS and why does every country need it?
Why CRVS systems matter
The central role of CRVS systems for individual and human development has been acknowledged by the global development community in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2015, United Nations Member States unanimously adopted the UN General Assembly resolution, Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. This new sustainable development agenda is a ‘plan of action for people, planet and prosperity’ and extends the global development focus from poverty eradication (as emphasised by the Millennium Development Goals) to poverty eradication and sustainable development, while reinforcing the inclusive nature of the new goals through its central principle – ‘that no-one will be left behind’.
In the SDG framework, CRVS systems are seen from three perspectives:
- CRVS systems – notably for birth and death registration – are defined as SDG goals in and of themselves, given their contribution to reliable administrative and statistical systems and to the realisation of human rights
- The legal documentation of identity, civil status and family relationships through CRVS facilitates social, economic and political inclusion and access to services in health, education, employment, and civic and economic services and activities
- The data that CRVS systems generate are essential for monitoring progress towards SDG goals and targets, particularly in, but not limited to, the health sector. The detailed data dis-aggregations that CRVS systems can produce are key to the aim of identifying and reducing inequities across populations and ‘leaving no-one behind’.
The diagram below provides a visual illustration of the ways in which the CRVS system functions as a set of interacting or independent components forming an integrated whole. Vital events are notified to the civil registration authorities, the information is validated, stored and compiled, and certificates are issued to the concerned individuals. The information from individual registration records is the basis for the development of the population register and related administrative registries such as the national identity system, the electoral register, passport services, land registry, and others.
Components of a CRVS system, comprising legal registration, statistical reporting of, and collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics
Adapted from the UN Principles and Recommendations for a Vital Statistics System (2014).
Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative (2016). CRVS and SDGs: A well-functioning civil registration and vital statistics system is critical in monitoring country progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative, Melbourne.
United Nations General Assembly (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, A/RES/70/1.
The Sustainable Development Goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.