Closing Statement at the Ministerial Segment of the Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in Asia and the Pacific

Delivered at the closing of the ministerial segment of the Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) in Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand.

Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Introduction

It is my pleasure to join you again, as we bring to a close a long week – but also a very rich and important one for the people of Asia and the Pacific.

Every delegate, from every corner of our region, should be proud of what we have together accomplished.

We have before us, an historic outcome. The ministerial declaration to “Get every one in the picture” in Asia and the Pacific is a promise to leave no one behind, and to truly place people at the centre of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Governments of our region have committed to an integrated and holistic approach to improving CRVS systems, which will be achieved through the regional action framework you have endorsed today.

Gone are the days of considering birth registration, marriage registration and death registration as independent systems. We will no longer turn to ad hoc surveys as the primary source of our critical development information. We will instead collect and collate real data, for real statistics that will serve as concrete evidence to guide our policies and our actions.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

ESCAP’s Support for Shared Vision & Approach

The declaration we have forged today affirms our shared vision that, by 2024, we will: achieve universal registration of all key life events; provide all people with legal proof of identity; and use these registration records to produce and openly share accurate, complete and timely vital statistics.

This vision will be guided and supported by the six key principles for implementing the regional action framework:

1. Country leadership and ownership of the process;
2. An incremental, stepwise approach;
3. Flexibility and responsiveness – recognizing there is no one-size-fits all blueprint;
4. Building on local expertise;
5. Consistency with international human rights, legal principles and national law; and
6. Coordination and alignment to facilitate harmonization and avoid duplication at all levels.

Through the ministerial declaration, Governments have committed to set national targets in important areas of achieving universal and responsive CRVS systems.

Over the past five days, many Governments have taken the opportunity to announce their national targets.

Please join me, in appreciating their leadership and commitment.

The ESCAP secretariat is fully committed to supporting our member States in these endeavours. We will leverage our broad mandate, as well as our regional convening and norm-setting capacities, to nurture the whole of government approach that has been called for this week.

The global discussions to shape the post-2015 sustainable development agenda have put a spotlight on the importance of monitoring and accountability – especially at the regional level.

In recognition of the improvement of CRVS systems as a valuable opportunity for achieving this agenda ESCAP, through its Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP) will also pay particular attention to facilitating countries with special needs in their efforts to strengthen their CRVS systems. We will work with you to help in monitoring and accountability for the successful implementation of the regional action framework.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Conclusion

In conclusion, after twelve intense months, today our Asian and Pacific CRVS Decade has been born.

The thanks for this goes to you, our member States, for your engagement, enthusiasm and commitment.

The Conference was also made possible through the very close partnership of the 8 co-organizers, and many other organizations that joined us. To each of them I extend our sincere gratitude.

We were also fortunate to be joined this week by a group of outstanding young people. To “Team CRVS”: you have succeeded in raising the voices of youth, and are an inspiration and reminder to us all.

Our job now, is to work together in partnership and solidarity. To realize the dreams of millions of people in our region who want a legal identity and seek a better future.

It is time, ladies and gentlemen, to get every one in the picture.

I thank you.