An Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa.

Top Slides

Commemoration of Africa Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Day

Commemoration of Africa Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Day

August 10, 2019
Commemoration of Africa Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Day

“Birth Certificate for All: Fundamental for Protecting Human Rights and Promoting Inclusion”

Civil registration for good governance and inclusive development

Civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system is essential for modern administrative system and good governance, protecting human rights and creating inclusive society. Civil registration increases the credibility of national and local administrators, and enhances their capacity to deliver social services by helping to identify what services are needed, where and by whom. The Global Agenda 2030 for “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” is rooted in universal rights and inclusive development driven by the key principle of “Leaving No One Behind.” Emphasis on inclusive development of the SDGs is embodied in target 16.9 which states, “provide legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030.” This has been recognized by the African Union Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want,” which echoes inclusiveness as a prerequisite to the continent’s growth and development.

A well-functioning CRVS system is also a major source of continuous and reliable vital statistics and population data at local level. It is important for effective implementation of universal and inclusive development, and for monitoring of progress towards national and international development targets such as the SDGs and Agenda 2063. For instance, collecting and dissemination real-time cause-of-death information, as part of continuous death registration process, can help to measure many of health related targets of the SDGs.

Importance of birth registration certificate

Universal birth registration provides every child with a birth certificate, an essential legal document required to secure basic human rights to name, identity and nationality. Birth certificate is the basic legal document for securing recognition of individuals before the law and safeguarding their human rights and access to basic social services. In Africa, more than half of the children are not registered at birth, which renders most of the region’s poor unseen, uncounted and excluded, and by extension, affects their ability to enjoy universal human rights. A birth certificate, as a legal document and proof of age, helps to prevent violations of rights of a child, including child marriage, trafficking, child labour and the use of child soldiers, particularly among vulnerable and marginalized populations. Birth certificate also facilitates access to school, health services and social protection benefits, which reduces vulnerability of children to poverty and risk of exploitation.

Legal identity is a fundamental human right, as referenced in several international human rights instruments and conventions. The right of all individuals to be recognized as a person before the law stated in Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on human Rights. The right to be registered immediately after birth with a name and the right to acquire a nationality, pursuant to article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is an example of a human right that derives directly from civil registration. Similarly, article 6 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child provides that every child must be registered at birth and has the right to a name and a nationality.

New era for civil registration and vital statistics systems in Africa

For decades, efforts aimed at improving CRVS systems in Africa were largely dominated by isolated project-based and ad hoc exercises with no link to national development frameworks or policy guidance. Since 2010, the biennial Conference of Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration provided policy directions necessary to transform and improve CRVS systems in the region. In 2016, African member States declared 2017-2026 to be “Decade for repositioning CRVS in Africa’s continental, regional and national development agenda.” The policy directions by the Ministerial conference and the political commitment at country level with governments taking leadership and ownership has brought a paradigm shift from a fragmented and ad hoc approach to holistic and integrated CRVS systems improvement initiatives.

African Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day

The fourth Conference of Ministers held in December 2017 in Nouakchott, Mauritania declared August 10 to be ‘African Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day,’ and advised African Union member States to observe the day. The AU Executive Council, during their 32nd Ordinary Session, 25-26 January 2018, endorsed the recommendations set out in the Ministerial Declaration. The First CRVS day was observed by African countries on the10th of August 2018 under the theme “Promoting Innovative Universal Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System for Good Governance and Better Lives.”

The demand for registration services remain weak because many people have no adequate awareness about the importance of civil registration for them and their families and the implications that this has for improving access to core government services. African CRVS Day observed every year on the 10th of August helps to improve public awareness of the importance of making everyone visible in Africa through universal birth registration and certification. The Second CRVS Day, therefore, will be commemorated by all African countries on the 10th of August 2019 under the theme, “Birth Certificate for All: Fundamental for Protecting Human Rights and Promoting Inclusion.”

Department Resources