Civil Registration & Vital Stats.

Civil Registration is the official routine recording and documenting of vital events in a person’s life such as birth and death, as well as marriage, adoptions and name changes. Vital Statistics is the data produced through these routine collections on births, deaths and causes of death.

2015-2024 is the UN Asia Pacific Decade for CRVS.

Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) plays an important role in protecting human rights and contributes to public administration and governance by providing individuals with legal identity and civil status and by generating information that can be used for planning government services and monitoring development. The data is also essential for identifying and monitoring key health issues in the population.

CRVS systems draw on many sectors of government including statistics, health, civil registry, finance, and planning.

Pacific Countries and Territories are working to improve their CRVS systems under the Pacific Vital Statistics Action Framework - www.pacific-crvs.org and the Asia Pacific Regional Action Framework - www.getinthepicture.org. This work is supported by the Statistics for Development Division of SPC and development partners of the Brisbane Accord Group (BAG) under the Pacific Ten Year Statistics Strategy.

Regional Meeting on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics

In the last week of February, representatives from across the Pacific Islands will come together in Noumea to discuss Civil Registration and Vital Statistics. The meeting, hosted by the Pacific Community and organised with Brisbane Accord Group partners and the United Nations Statistics Division, is the first event of its kind to bring together in the region the Statistics, Civil Registry, and Health Sectors from all member countries and territories. The meeting is an opportunity to share experiences and lessons from the progress to date under the Pacific Vital Statistics Action Plan and to build on the commitments that the Pacific has made under the Asia Pacific Regional Action Framework and the Decade for CRVS (2015- 2024). It will also discuss tools and materials available to assist countries in this work such as the UN Principles and Recommendations for CRVS.

As we move into the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, strong CRVS systems play an important role in providing Pacific countries with data for setting development goals and targets and monitoring progress against these; in areas such as non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health, education access, and other population-based indicators.  Birth and death registration also plays a key role in protecting human rights, and supporting good governance and accountability for functions such as citizenship and national electoral rolls.

The meeting will provide a key opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made so far in improving national CRVS systems, and to continue to improve CRVS in the region to ensure that all residents of the Pacific Islands are able to “get in the picture” and be counted. 

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Guam CRVS Workshop on Data Analysis and Report Writing

guam crvs workshop 2015

In July 2015, north Pacific Countries, Territories and States came together in Guam to undertake 2 weeks of intensive training in data analysis and report writing for vital statistics. The course was attended by representatives from Health and Statistics offices from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia (including state representatives from Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap), Palau, and Republic of the Marshall Islands with teams working together at a state or national level. The training was run by SPC in collaboration with Brisbane Accord Group partners from the World Health Organisation and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with additional support from the Pacific Island Health Officers Association.  

Vital statistics, the information on births and deaths in a community, is essential for planning government services, identifying and monitoring health issues, and protecting human rights. In the past however, many countries have not been able to collect this data on a routine basis, and as a result have relied heavily on international estimates.

Over the last few years, Pacific Countries and Territories have been working on improving the routine collection of data on births, deaths, and causes of death through their health information and civil registration systems under the Pacific Vital Statistics Action Plan. They have also more recently made commitments under the Asia-Pacific Regional Action Framework to improve systems and make data more available.  While there is still a lot to be done, the Pacific has embraced the official UN Decade for CRVS and is making good progress. Improving capacity in analysis and reporting is an essential part of ensuring that these system improvements are subsequently reflected in better access to and quality of vital statistics data for planning.

Each team at the workshop brought with them at least three years of data on births, deaths and causes of death from their routine health or civil registry collections and undertook an extensive process of data cleaning, tabulation and analysis to produce key indicators of fertility and mortality. As a result of this exercise, several countries have been able to measure key health issues of interest, such as high teenage fertility rates and early mortality due to NCDs. They have also identified a number of system issues, such as the under-reporting of early neonatal deaths, as a result of the data analysis.

An analysis report is currently being finalised by each of the teams and is expected to be released before the end of the year. These will be made available at www.pacific-crvs.org as they are released. Teams are also re-visiting their system assessments and planning with their national and state committees with a view to updating and formally endorsing CRVS system improvement plans in line with national commitments to the Asia Pacific Regional Action Framework (www.getinthepicture.org) for the end of the year. 

Vanuatu CRVS September 2014

Vanuatu holds workshop to prioritize improvements in civil registration and vital statistics

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The Vanuatu National Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Taskforce, with the assistance of SPC and other partners (including UNICEF, UNFPA, and WHO), hosted a workshop to prioritize improvements in CRVS in Vanuatu September 2nd-4th. The workshop brought together more than 50 attendees from various Vanuatu Government departments including the Civil Registry Office, National Statistics Office, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Vanuatu Law Commission, National Police, and Secretary Generals from each of the Provinces. Participants discussed the outcomes of a comprehensive assessment of their CRVS system that had been undertaken in November of last year, and determined which areas they wanted to focus on improving.

Read more: Vanuatu CRVS September 2014