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Capturing Who We Are: Civil Registration, Vital Statistics and Identity to Leave No One Behind

26 September 2019

The Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems, UN DESA Statistics Division, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) co-hosted a side event during the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Legal identity for all – including women, children, and other vulnerable groups – is critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. CRVS systems are a foundation for legal identity and present opportunities for ensuring no one is left behind. High-level and expert speakers emphasized the need to drive forward rights-based CRVS systems and discussed the benefits of a holistic approach to civil registration, vital statistics, and identity management systems.

Download our infographic to learn more about the benefits, and how countries can create positive change.

Panelists included:

  • Hon. Obeth Kandjoze, MP, Minister of Economic Planning and Director-General of the National Planning Commission, Namibia
  • Vicente Taiano González, Director General de la Dirección General de Registro Civil, Identificación y Cedulación (General Director of the National Civil Registration and Identification Agency), Ecuador
  • Frans Rijkers, Strategic Advisor Identity and Innovation, National office for Identity Data, Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Netherlands
  • Hon. Stephen Kampyongo, MP, Minister of Home Affairs, Zambia
  • Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  • Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice-President for the 2030 Agenda and UN Affairs, World Bank

More than 80 people participated in the event also introduced a soon-to-be-published Compendium of Good Practices in Linking Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Identity Management Systems. Expected to be launched at the upcoming Fifth Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration (Lusaka, 14-18 October 2019), this new knowledge product is now available at 

Read the synthesis here. 

Why was this event so important?

Too many people worldwide cannot prove their legal identity. Exclusion can lead to poverty, statelessness, exploitation, and abuse. It’s something we must change. Sustainable Development Goal 16, Target 16.9 commits that by 2030 (countries will) provide legal identity for all, including birth registration. Legal identity is the basis for realizing many basic rights and opportunities.

A strong CRVS system is the foundation for reliable identity management. Registering and updating the entire population’s vital events from birth to death is the only way to capture up-to-date identity characteristics at any point in time.