Making every life count - Asia and Pacific meet to improve civil registration and vital statistics

18 July 2008-Bangkok, Thailand- Children in kindergarden,  Photo Credit: Kibae Park

It is estimated that between one and two thirds of children in Asia and the Pacific are not registered. Globally, three-quarters of deaths are either not registered or incorrectly certified.

Civil registration and vital statistics systems (CRVS) are an essential national resource for recording vital events in people’s lives: birth, adoption, marriage, divorce and death. These records, such as statistics on demographics and causes of death, are fundamental for designing public policy that matches peoples’ needs. For instance, vital statistics generated from CRVS systems contribute to the measurement of 42 of 60 Millennium Development Goal indicators.

Dysfunctional CRVS systems impede inclusive growth and sustainable development. The millions of people who are not registered in the region are legally invisible and exposed to exploitation and human trafficking.

Senior representatives of 48 member States will gather in Bangkok to support the “Make Every Life Count” initiative at a two-day High-level Meeting on the Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific, organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), and other UN/Civil Society partners. The “Make Every Life Count” initiative aims to establish a regional approach to enhancing civil registration and vital statistics systems.

This is the largest and first in a series events on CRVS planned to take place in the region. The Meeting is being held back to back with the third session of the ESCAP Committee on Statistics which will review the political, institutional and resource challenges faced by Asia and the Pacific in improving civil registration and vital statistics systems.