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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

16 November 2021


Ms. Kamni Naidu, Administrator General of the Ministry of Justice of Fiji and Chair of the Regional Steering Group for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics,

Ms. Debora Comini, Director of the UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office,

Mr. Indrika Ratwatte, Director of the UNHCR Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific,

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to see large participation from governments in the senior official segment of the Second Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific.

We are here to celebrate reaching the midpoint of the Asia and Pacific Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Decade.

In 2014, Asian and Pacific governments attended the First Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific and proclaimed the years 2015 to 2024 as the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Decade.

The Ministerial Declaration underscored that, by 2024, all people in Asia and the Pacific will benefit from universal and responsive civil registration and vital statistics systems, facilitating the realization of their rights and supporting good governance, health and development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are organising this conference as governments are charting their way out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistics clearly indicate that millions of people are back into extreme poverty, unemployment rates are rising, while countless families are mourning the loss of their loved ones.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a renewed importance on the need for timely and reliable data on deaths and their causes and the critical role of CRVS systems in ensuring inclusive access to health care and social protection services in times of crisis.

This uncertain time also provides governments to further commit to reaching the realization of their shared vision by also endorsing a Regional Action Framework to accelerate on their commitments.

Time has now come. We must take this opportunity to focus on the efforts of governments and development partners by setting their own goals and targets for the end of the Decade.

As we celebrate this important midpoint milestone, we will reflect not only on our accomplishments but also on areas to redouble our collective efforts.

Our work is not yet over.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to recognize that member States and the statistical communities have worked tirelessly to achieve its goals of universal civil registration, the provision of legal documentation of civil registration to all and the use of civil registration records for vital statistics.

While the overall number of children under five whose birth was never registered has significantly decreased, one in five remains without birth registration in 2021.

Notable improvements in death registration have also been observed in the region, although progress still lags behind birth registration.

Despite the progress made during the first part of the Decade, many people in Asia and the Pacific are still being left behind.

We have work ahead to achieve the regional, shared vision of universal registration systems.

I am confident discussions and actions points set to follow this week will help lead us in the right direction. I look forward to your views and active engagement.

ESCAP, along with all Conference organizers namely the World Bank, the World Health Organization, UNHCR, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, Women Count, Vital Strategies, Child Rights Coalition Asia, and World Vision, stands ready to be a part of this journey, together, in getting everyone in the picture.

A special thanks and appreciation to our colleagues of the twelve Conference organizers. Without their effort and their dedication, this important event could not have been possible.

I look forward to your views and active engagement.

Thank you very much for your attention.


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