Philippines declares decade of action on civil registration and vital statistics

In support of an initiative by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and development partners to strengthen and improve civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) in the region, President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines has officially declared the years 2015 to 2024 as the “CRVS decade” in his country.

In the government's declaration, President Aquino urged all relevant national agencies –including health, civil registration and statistics - to strengthen and improve CRVS activities. This relates to the critical acts of recording important events in people’s lives such as births, marriages, divorces, adoptions, deaths, and causes of death and follows the historic outcomes of the first Ministerial Conference on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific. The conference was organized in November 2014 by ESCAP, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Population Fund; Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, World Health Organization, Asian Development Bank, and Plan International, the World Bank Group, the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, World Vision International and the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century.

Recognising CRVS systems as essential for providing individuals with legal identity and supplying governments with key information on their population, the Conference of high-level officials and representatives of development partners adopted a Ministerial Declaration to “Get Every One in the Picture” in Asia and the Pacific region. This group action called for a shared vision where, by 2024, all people in our region will benefit from universal and responsive CRVS systems that facilitate their rights and support good governance, health and development.
Now, a year after that agreement between countries, President Benigno Aquino has again echoed the meeting’s themes in his declaration. In it he calls on the private sector, development institutions and the greater public in the Philippines to actively participate and support all programmes related to the “Get every Pinoy and Pinay in the Picture” initiative (which refers to every male and female Philippine). This is a national offshoot of the “Get Every One in the Picture” initiative in Asia and the Pacific region launched in the lead-up to the Ministerial Conference to actively promote the right of all to a legal identity, evidenced with registration certificates.
The Conference resulted in the Regional Action Framework on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific region and the proclamation of 2015-2024 as the Asian and Pacific CRVS Decade. In the wake of that step forward, the pioneering new drive by the President of the Philippines is testimony of the value being placed on complete and responsive civil registration systems in achieving inclusive, equitable and people-centred development in our region.

ESCAP contributes to the realization of the CRVS Decade by working with governments and development partners to prioritise the improvement of registration and statistics. Action includes assessments of national CRVS systems, monitoring regional progress and raising awareness of the importance of registration. In this regard ESCAP convenes a regional steering group, with members from governments and development partners, which functions as the custodian of the Asia-Pacific CRVS Decade.

More on ESCAP's successes in this area here: