Strengthening CRVS Systems to Improve Migration Policy: A Promising Innovation

Blog by Tawheeda Wahabzada and Deirdre Appel: “Migration is one of the most pressing issues of our time and innovation for migration policy can take on several different shapes to help solve challenges. It is seen through radical technological breakthrough such as biometric identifiers that completely transform the status quo as well as technological disruptions like mobile phone fund transforms that alter an existing process. There is also incremental innovation, or the gradual improvement of an existing process or institution even. Regardless of where the fall on the spectrum, their innovative applications are all relevant to migration policy.

Incremental innovation for civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems can greatly benefit migrants and the policymakers trying to help them. According to World Health Organization, a well-functioning CRVS system registers all births and deaths, issues birth and death certificates, and compiles and disseminates vital statistics, including cause of death information. It may also record marriages and divorces. Each of these services brings a world of crucial advantages. But despite the social and legal benefits for individuals, especially migrants, these systems remain underfunded and under functioning. More than 100 low and middle-income countries lack functional CRVS systems and about one-third of all births are not registered. This amounts to more than one billion people without a legal identity leaving them unable to prove who they are and creating serious barriers to access health, education, financial, and other social services.

Throughout countries in Africa, there are great differences in CRVS coverage, where birth coverage ranges from above 90 percent in some North African countries to under 50 percent across several countries in different regions; and with death registration having greater gaps with either no information or lower coverage rates. For countries with low functioning CRVS systems, potential migrants from these countries could face additional obstacles in obtaining birth certificates and proof of identification….(More)”. See also