News ID: 56078
Published: 0238 GMT November 24, 2014

UN confab on civil registration opens in Bangkok

UN confab on civil registration opens in Bangkok

Over 200 ministers, senior officials and experts from Asia and the Pacific came together on Nov. 24 in Bangkok to launch the first-ever Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in Asia and the Pacific.

As many as 135 million children under the age of five in Asia and the Pacific have not had their births registered and nine out of 10 people in the region live in countries with unreliable death statistics, leaving records incomplete and governments at a loss to plan for the current and future needs of their populations, ESCAP News reported.

Themed “Get everyone in the picture”, the conference is being convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) from 24 to 28 November.

The conference focuses on generating commitment and accountability through setting regional goals and national targets for accelerating efforts to improve CRVS systems. An expected outcome is that the conference will proclaim a CRVS Decade of Action in Asia and the Pacific.

Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations undersecretary-general and ESCAP executive secretary, Nobuko Horibe, regional director for Asia and the Pacific, UNFPA and Lisa Grace Bersales, chair of the ESCAP Committee on Statistics and National Statistician/civil registrar general of the Philippines addressed the opening of the senior officials segment on 24 November.

Over the next few days, government delegations will review the draft ministerial declaration for possible adoption by the conference. The draft ministerial declaration expresses the commitment of governments to achieve the shared vision that by 2024, all people in Asia and the Pacific will benefit from universal and responsive CRVS systems that facilitate the realization of their rights and support good governance, health and development.

Akhtar, General Anupong Paojinda, Thai interior minister, and Daniel Toole, regional director for East Asia and the Pacific, UNICEF, will open the ministerial segment on 27 November. This will be followed by a ministerial round table on CRVS and the post-2015 development agenda moderated by Akhtar.

The session will focus on how well-functioning CRVS systems are central to achieving the new global development agenda by providing the foundation for good governance and effective national institutions.

During the ministerial segment, Asia-Pacific government leaders and policymakers will highlight their policy priorities for the proposed “Asian and Pacific CRVS Decade” of 2015-24, and will share their achievements, challenges and expectations for regional collaboration on CRVS.

As part of their commitment to implementing the regional action framework, they will also announce national targets to be achieved by the conclusion of the Decade in 2024.

Alongside the conference, special sessions organized by development partners will highlight a range of issues surrounding CRVS.

A session on youth entitled “Youth voices matter: Get us in the picture!” co-organized by Plan International and UNICEF will take place on 26 November, where Asia-Pacific youth will speak up for the millions of young people in the region who are denied legal identity.

Ahmad Alhendawi, the United Nations secretary-general’s envoy on youth, will moderate this session.

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