The Genus thematic series “Who Counts?” explores the issues related to societal inclusion, including the role of civil registration systems. The issues are relevant for both high-income and low-resource settings. As such, it is crucial to ensure that the civil registration system is human-centered and inclusive, and to take additional steps to ensure that vulnerable subpopulations are registered. This report provides a brief overview of the challenges involved.
One of the major barriers to civil registration is the lack of knowledge and motivation among people. There may be cultural or socioeconomic factors that make it difficult for them to engage in the registration process. Further, there may be a lack of resources to support the process of registration. Furthermore, the lack of a unified, global approach can create an inefficient system. This problem is compounded by the aforementioned lack of political will. Thus, the importance of revitalisation of civil registration and statistics must be put on the development agenda.
Moreover, under-registration of vital events is detrimental to the welfare of disadvantaged populations, particularly the poor. This prevents them from accessing government services and is a major barrier to human capital formation. In addition, the failure of governments to register all vital events leads to an inability to account for whole populations. However, this problem can be overcome by ensuring that civil registration and vital statistics are universally available.
As well as promoting the global registration of individuals, states also need to promote public trust. The civil registration system should not be used for repression. In order for a country to improve its chances of functioning properly, states must demonstrate their willingness to trust citizens with their personal information. Some governments have low budgets that make birth registration low priority, due to competing demands. They may not have the resources for adequate facilities and personnel, and the system may even be ineffective.
It is important to strengthen civil registration systems on a global scale. This means that governments must be able to account for their entire population and use complete data for decision-making. Ultimately, the objective of this system is to facilitate social, economic, and political participation. Besides this, a strong civil registration system helps a country achieve universality. There are several challenges associated with revitalising the civil registration and statistics. The main challenge is political will.
While there are many benefits to CRVS, they can be complex systems. As such, it is important to ensure that a single entity has the authority to convene and manage a national steering committee. Ideally, this steering committee is comprised of multiple stakeholders and should be led by one central authority. To this end, the Office of the Registrar General of Bangladesh coordinated with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and frontline medical workers were mandated to provide civil registration assistance.
To achieve this, states must foster public trust. CRVS should not be misused for repression. It should be used for the purpose of ensuring personal information. In addition, the health sector is an important entry point for the civil registration system. It captures vital events and issues the notification required for registering citizens. With such a partnership, the state can increase awareness of the importance of a good civil registration system and ensure that the systems are effective.
The rates of civil registration vary greatly by sex. For example, countries in Africa may only register a child if the senior male household member is the parent. This discrimination is common in countries that restrict the rights of women and allow only males to register children. Additionally, laws preventing the registration of children born out of wedlock and rape do not allow mothers to register their children.
The primary goal of the #CountingEveryone campaign is to improve the world’s vital statistics. The initiative is a global call to action. More than 40 percent of deaths are unregistered. And more than half of all births are not recorded. The UN has launched a guidebook to digitize existing CRVS data in low-resource settings. It also calls on governments to improve the quality of these systems.