Organizer(s) and partners: Registrar-General, Department of Internal Affairs, New Zealand
Co-organizers: Regional Steering Group on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific and UNESCAP
Member States and associate members of ESCAP came together in 2014 to agree on universal and responsive civil registration and vital statistics systems as critical to achieve inclusive, equitable and people-centered development. Understanding the true impact of COVID-19 on mortality requires reliable data that are not always available in a timely manner in many low-resource settings. Further, while we are far from universal registration of deaths in Asia and the Pacific, we also know that the deaths of some population groups are even less likely to be registered.
Legal identity for all, including birth registration is key to advance the 2030 Agenda commitment to leave no one behind. Legal identity is the basis for realizing many basic rights and opportunities. Furthermore, vital statistics based on civil registration records can be used by governments to measure progress and make evidence-based decisions and deliver services to improve people's lives.
Individuals need legal identity credentials to access healthcare (including vaccinations), education, economic opportunities, and representation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been further highlighted with national identification systems providing the backbone for distributing support in 2020 and beyond.
Despite national and universal efforts to “get every one in the picture”, disparities in coverage
of hard-to-reach and marginalized populations remain. We are now halfway through the
Decade and while significant progress has been made, we are still far from achieving our three
goals of universal registration, provision of legal documentation to all and production of vital
statistics based on civil registration records.