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

crvs_van_2014_1

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.

Civil registration is important because it provides a legal identity to individuals, and the protection that comes with it. Birth certificates are often needed to register for school, open a bank account, or apply for a passport. Death crvs_van_2014_2certificates are also important to ensure that property rights can be legally transferred when a family member dies. This information is also essential for Governments in managing electoral rolls, citizenship eligibility, and other related needs. The vital statistics on births, deaths, and causes of death that are generated from civil registration are instrumental in policy planning; they are needed for monitoring the health of communities, identifying health and development priorities, and planning infrastructure and service requirements. This data is especially important for countries such as Vanuatu to ensure that limited resources can be used most effectively to achieve the best possible development outcomes.

“CRVS is very important for advancing development in Vanuatu. Therefore, Vanuatu as a country needed to know its population size through the system of CRVS and making sure each person is counted,” said Mr. Simil Johnson, the Vanuatu Government Statistician. “Vital statistics generated by civil registration are necessary to tell us how our population is growing and changing. They are needed to help us plan for the future for things like schools, hospitals, etc.”

The priorities identified for improvement will form the basis of a national CRVS improvement plan, to be endorsed by Parliament. The plan will drive activities to expand the coverage of registration and quality of vital statistics in Vanuatu. The plan will also assist development partners to better coordinate and provide technical support on the way forward.