High-level UN meeting strengthens civil registration and vital statistics systems in Asia -Pacific

Policymakers and experts are gathered at a United Nations led meeting in Bangkok this week to strengthen civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems in Asia and the Pacific, and improve the health, education, and human rights protections for people in region.

Approximately 135 million children under the age of 5 in Asia-Pacific have not had their birth registered. Without proper legal identity and recognition from the state, these children can face numerous challenges in accessing health care and education, and are more vulnerable, including to statelessness and human trafficking.

Many countries in the region rely on less timely and often costly sources of data, including household surveys and censuses even for critical vital statistics including infant mortality and cause of death as well as basic population counts. Although there is strong commitment from countries to close these gaps, there is still significant work to be done in order to achieve well-functioning, universal and accessible national CRVS systems.

“Following the declaration of the CRVS Decade 2015-2024, the Asia-Pacific region has made tremendous strides toward getting ‘every-one in the picture’ but to complete the picture, stronger data collection efforts are required which will ensure legal identities for all and improved governance,” said United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Dr. Shamshad Akhtar.

The third meeting of the Regional Steering Group for CRVS in Asia-Pacific, convened by ESCAP from 18 to 20 October, will provide guidance and comprehensive support to member countries on a wide range of issues from proper collection, production, dissemination and use of evidence through coordination among relevant stakeholders. The meeting will decide on how to support countries to accelerate the progress towards achieving the goals of the Asia Pacific CRVS Decade. This includes determining the modalities of the midterm review of the Decade.

Participants will focus on the link between CRVS, national development and the Sustainable Development Goals, review the region’s current development situation, including strategies and mechanisms driving improvements, as well as the best approaches for utilizing regional and global supports.

“If we want to ensure no one is left behind, we need to make everyone visible through birth registration. Together we can give every child a birthday,” said Ms. Rosy Akbar, Minister of Health and Medical Services, Fiji and Chair of the Regional Steering Group for CRVS in Asia-Pacific.

Twenty-two countries are members of the Regional Steering Group including: Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Turkey, United States of America, Uzbekistan, and Vanuatu.

Representatives from the group’s development partners also include: UNHCR, Plan International, World Vision, UNICEF, Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative, World Bank, Brisbane Accord Group, and WHO.

For more information visit: http://getinthepicture.org/regional-steering-group-crvs-asia-and-pacific.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Katie Elles, Public Information Officer, Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section, ESCAP, M: (66) 9481 525 36 / E: [email protected]