Housed at IDRC, the Centre of Excellence is a global resource hub that actively supports national efforts to develop, strengthen, and scale-up civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems.
Its role is to facilitate access to technical assistance, global standards and tools, evidence, and good practice.
Supporting the Global Financing Facility
Funded by Global Affairs Canada and IDRC, the Centre of Excellence works in close collaboration with the Global Financing Facility, a key financing platform of the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030). Housed at the World Bank, this Facility was launched in July 2015 in support of the Every Woman Every Child multi-stakeholder partnership movement, and the Sustainable Development Goals. CRVS systems are a key area of focus for this effort. The Centre of Excellence contributes directly to this work by enabling countries to develop strong CRVS components in the investment cases they submit to the Global Financing Facility. It will also support the countries’ implementation of investment cases to ensure comprehensive and sustainable CRVS systems, leading to better data, improved health planning and healthier populations.
Civil registration and vital statistics systems
Systematic reporting and registration of vital and civil events—including birth, death (and causes of death), marriage, and divorce—is critical for improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and protecting human rights, including those of vulnerable groups, such as women and children. Integrated into existing health systems, the statistics generated from these data become valuable evidence. For example, having access to accurate information on causes of death gives policymakers and practitioners the knowledge they need to review the circumstances leading to maternal and child deaths, identify preventable factors, and take action where needed. A well-functioning CRVS system can therefore play a catalytic role in equitable and sustainable human development. The information it holds can not only save lives, but also provide proof of legal identity facilitating access to essential services such as health care and education.
Such crucial information systems are inadequate in many countries. The United Nations estimates that one-third of the world’s births and two-thirds of the world’s deaths are not registered or are incorrectly certified. Where global norms, standards, tools, and promising practices exist, they are not readily accessible and useable to those who need them most.
The Centre of Excellence will coordinate with existing national, regional, and international expert groups to actively promote and support comprehensive and sustainable CRVS systems. It will generate, consolidate, and disseminate information through a number of innovative means. This includes developing an electronic knowledge platform, making key resources readily accessible. The Centre of Excellence will facilitate exchange of good practices and capacity strengthening, and play an important role in brokering access to technical assistance for countries requesting more direct support. This will ensure decision-makers have access to reliable data they can use for effective policy-making, long-term national planning, and progress monitoring, resulting in more effective services for citizens.