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Promoting good governance

Leveraging data for inclusive development

Countries can take fundamental steps toward sustainable development by linking civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS), identity management, health information, and social protection systems.

Legal identity is a precondition for sustainable development. It is the basis for realizing many basic rights and opportunities, and critical for ensuring no one is left behind. The estimated 1 billion worldwide that cannot prove their legal identity are more vulnerable to poverty, statelessness, exploitation, and abuse. This is acknowledged in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – specifically in SDG 16.9, which calls for “legal identity for all, including birth registration” by 2030.

An effective CRVS system is the foundation for identity management. The only way to capture up-to-date identity characteristics is to register vital events – including birth, marriage, divorce, and death – for a country’s entire population on a continuous and permanent basis. It also generates documents that have legal sanctity.

Countries can improve their ability to plan and deliver services when relevant data is shared across systems, and to manage public resources efficiently. For example, vital statistics drawn from civil registration provides policymakers working to improve health and social protection services a complete and accurate picture of a population. And the authorities that deliver these services can verify and trust the identity documents presented, reducing risk of fraud and identity theft.   

The Centre of Excellence works closely with key partners to support linkages between CRVS and other systems through research, knowledge sharing, and technical assistance.

    Watch this video to learn why well-functioning CRVS systems are important for ensuring legal identity for all and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    Resources on data for inclusive development

    Learn more about the interaction between CRVS and other systems with the following papers, videos, and webinars.


    Articles and blog posts

    Leadership profiles