Colleagues, esteemed participants,
I am delighted to welcome you to the launch of the report Getting Every One in the Picture -a snapshot of progress midway through the Asian and Pacific civil registration and vital statistics decade.
The report shows that the Asia-Pacific region is on the right path to reach universal and responsive CRVS systems, although we still have plenty of work ahead of us.
This includes reaching the 64 million children under the age of five, as well as many many more older children and adults who have never had their birth registered or possess documentation to prove who they are.
Every one of these individuals will go through life effectively invisible, facing difficulties whenever they are asked for documentation to access education, health and social protection thus rendering them potentially vulnerable to exploitation.
And without their own legal documentation, these vulnerabilities may be transmitted to future generations.
In 2014, in recognition of the role civil registration and vital statistics play in facilitating development, governments and development partners came together to concentrate efforts on improving CRVS systems.
We collectively articulated the shared vision that: “By 2024, all people in Asia and the Pacific benefit from universal and responsive CRVS systems that facilitate the realization of their rights and support good governance, health and development”.
Today is another key milestone for the CRVS community in the region.
The results presented in the report we are launching showcase all the hard work and efforts of countries and development partners to make our shared vision a reality.
The recent surge in COVID-19 in our region, once again highlighted the urgent need for universal civil registration of births and deaths, including the accurate recording of causes of deaths.
Quality and fit for purpose data is essential at all times but is even more crucial when disasters or emergencies strike and urgent decisions are required.
Governments, health authorities and development partners need timely and complete data on births, deaths and cause of death to know the extent of the issue, including among the most vulnerable.
This data can guide evidence-informed decisions on where resources should be deployed and assess which interventions have been most effective.
This report represents a milestone for every civil registration officer, statistician, health worker and medical coder in the region.
These professionals have worked tirelessly with communities to give them the documentation they require to live their lives in full and to provide governments with the statistics needed to improve health, socio-economic development and good governance.
In November, we will all meet again, for the Second Ministerial Conference on CRVS in Asia and the Pacific.
Considering the profound development implications of civil registration and vital statistics, it is no surprise that many development partners are keen to support countries in their endeavour to improve their CRVS systems.
At ESCAP, we are very happy that 12 partners have agreed to co-organise the Second Ministerial Conference with us, and many of them are also here today.
I am pleased that over the last year we have been able to expand our technical assistance and will be supporting even more countries over the next 12 months.
This is a testament to the strong collaboration between ESCAP and development partners and the increasing awareness of donors of the importance of improving civil registration and vital statistics as one of the foundational building blocks for good governance.
I am also aware that each of the ESCAP sub-regions face different challenges to improve their CRVS systems.
Therefore, ESCAP has collaborated with other development partners to organize subregional conversations on CRVS for the rest of this week.
We hope you will join them to learn more about sub-regional progress since the beginning of the Asian and Pacific CRVS Decade.
We are very proud that this report represents another significant step together in our journey towards universal and responsive civil registration and vital statistics systems in Asia and the Pacific.