What is it about?

Civil registration is the starting point for a person’s legal identity. The birth registration process and associated documentation provide an official and permanent recognition of a child’s existence. A birth certificate enables individuals to exercise their rights and access services by providing them with proof of their legal identity. When individuals die, the death certificate represents a final and permanent record of their death, which can be useful for families to manage the legal or financial details of the individual. Registration records are a key administrative data source to provide timely vital statistics on births, deaths, including on causes of deaths, and marriages. These statistics are critical to design, implement and monitor public policies, and to monitor the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For almost a decade, countries and development partners in Asia and the Pacific have worked together to improve civil registration and vital statistics across the region. The regional initiative to ‘Get Every One in the Picture’ has had widespread support from countries and an increasing number of development partners who are also providing assistance and guidance to countries. This article looks at how this initiative has fostered coordination at the national, sub-regional and regional level and highlights some of the impact and improvements seen in civil registration and vital statistics in Asia and the Pacific.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Despite the clear importance of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics for the individual and for sustainable development, the lack of a clear lead institution and fragmented plethora of stakeholders is observed, but even more acutely among development partners. A well-functioning CRVS system by its very nature involves many different institutions and, thus, effective coordination is a prerequisite for these systems to be universal and responsive. Coordination must take place among all relevant stakeholders in countries, at all levels of government, among development partners and between Governments and development partners with agreed and assigned responsibilities. As collaboration and coordination is a key challenge to improving systems, this has been a continued focus area for the regional initiative to ‘Get Every One in the Picture’. It is broadly recognized that ministries of health, civil registrars and national statistical offices are all key stakeholders in CRVS systems. Their involvement is necessary to reduce duplication of efforts, ensuring universal registration of vital events and for ensuring consistency of vital statistics published by different government agencies. Due to the cross-cutting nature of CRVS and the diversity of institutions and stakeholders involved, a clear division of responsibilities and effective coordination is essential to ensure a cohesive system. This paper has outlined the ways in which coordination and alignment of activities is needed across local, national, subregional and regional levels, as well as among development partners. The Regional Action Framework helps meet this need as it serves as a platform to facilitate harmonization and avoid duplication at all levels. Although Asia and the Pacific has made significant progress towards meeting the three goals of the Regional Action Framework, efforts will need to be maintained or even accelerated so countries reach their targets by 2024, especially for death registration. Improved coordination is required to ensure these efforts are successful.


Birth and death registration are key to an individual's opportunities in life and for governments ability to plan and implement development policies and provide services. As civil registration and vital statistics systems demand many different areas of expertise, multiple stakeholders need to be involved at the national level. Also from development partners, a large variety of of support may be needed. Coordination is therefore key to the achievement of universal registration, legal documentation for all and more timely and quality production of vital statistics. This articles outlines the efforts to support this in Asia and the Pacific.

Tanja Sejersen
United Nations Secretariat

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Working together to ‘Get Every One in the Picture’ in Asia and the Pacific, Statistical Journal of the IAOS, September 2022, IOS Press, DOI: 10.3233/sji-220043.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page