CRVS rules and regulations prevent achieving universal registration

Many countries have rules and regulations for civil registration which make it impossible for them to register vital events i.e. requiring a supporting document that not all people have, or limiting the people who can declare a birth. There needs to be a radical shift in CRVS rules and regulations to remove these barriers in order to leave no-one behind.

What do you think can be done?


Great Question, @Njeri_OpenCRVS !
A few things, but as a starting point - countries need to question global guidance on requirements that they know won’t work for their population…

What do you think @Emmanuel @raj.pandey @mbratschi ?


thanks for this. indeed very important point. i would argue that global guidance is trying to facilitate registration. however, some restrictions are then put into place (e.g. needing a national ID number which not everyone has, or father needs to be present for registration of a birth) which are barriers. I think, we should support countries to critically look at rules and regulations that have been set and to try to remove barriers - at times this can be challenging as these are defined in laws which are not trivial (but possible) to change. in many case the challenges are also defined in rules and regulations and these are more easily changed. what we should definitively avoid is to create an IT system that introduces more restrictions, e.g. making a certain type of ID mandatory to be able to more easily link records…

UN guidance can be considered restrictive, when it comes to the suggested variables to collect for statistical purposes. this list is indeed very long and countries should approach this based on the data needs for their own statistics and then can see which variables are most relevant for them. they IT system should allow for the collection of all data that the UN suggest but given full flexibility to turn some of the variables off and add other variables that a country may want to collect

i think all of this speaks to the fact that CRVS system improvement is much more then a new IT system. having said that IT systems that we suggest to countries must comply with the local laws even if these contain things that we consider barriers for registration


I think this is a question about business imperatives for Civil Registration departments…it may just not be possible to comply with existing laws and procedures AND achieve universal birth and death registration. So which is more important? Would it not be possible to define simple human-centred processes that would facilitate getting to 100% registration and ensure data quality?


NIR and NPR should be merged across ! Why we need 2 different ministries working in isolation?? It’s all the same foundational ID should start from Birth. 2 cents


Thanks for sharing this. I think nany countries toward moving the digital crvs to refuce challenges and mitigate the varriers. In same connection, I wouls like to say that the technology may shift towarrds easier process for reducing the challenges. But it can’t change entire administrative system which is a basic/common problem in India. The businesses process re-engineering tool would help the crvs system brfore instituionaliztion of digital crvs and this tool may shift the paradigm of service providers to get serious note about crvs challanges and opportunities and would enhance the importance of crvs for many stakrholders. Thanks.


Great point, Aashish. One approach is to merge the departments responsible (as many countries are successfully doing) and the other option is for efforts to be made to provide a seamless identity journey for citizens, thus removing the negative effects for citizens? What do you think?

Very true, Raj. Are you suggesting that by conducting business process re-engineering with key stakeholders, you can build consensus towards building holistic identity journeys for customers? I love the idea of everyone getting behind a holistic eGov service experience for people…

Countries who made better policies have succeeded. Too many stakeholders and reporting structures create different opinions in procurement and implementation approach. So I would bet on may be merging both ministries reporting to single foundation (Umbrella) ministry. We will sooner see Digital transformation specially in African and SouthEastAsia. OpenCRVS is a very good tool which can help countries to rethink their act and policies.

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this is a great exchange

i think greater organizational inter-linkage with the ID system (into the same Ministry or even same Department within a Ministry) will be very helpful…

getting governments to implement systems that don’t comply with law will be very challenging… i this rather means that the system change needs to go beyond IT system change and include changes to business process and institutional arrangements - this is possible (see recent changes in Rwanda)

as for the business process improvement methodology, please see: CRVS Systems Improvement Framework


You’re spot on, Martin. No digital transformation should happen in isolation - it must happen as part of a holistic CRVS system strengthening programme. Using a Legal Sandbox can help CR actors influence and advocate for regulatory change based on evidence. Regulators allow technology solutions – mostly in the fintech space, but this is expanding (and the UN has guidance on them!) – to be tested without having to fit into an existing regulatory framework…

thanks for this
I am not really familiar with the Legal Sandbox concepts. is there an example of their use for CRVS? could you share the UN guidance. it will be interesting to see how open countries are to their use for CRVS systems

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We are not aware of an example where they have been used for CRVS yet, but the concept is well documented and you can find the UNSGSA’s briefing note on it here:

Yes, I believe in the signaficantly and holistic approach for improving the system. The business process re-engineering one of essential too and if apply with key stakeholdrs that may activate the entire cvrs process and mitigate yhe supply and denand gaps.

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