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Housed at IDRC, the Centre of Excellence (CoE) was a global resource hub that actively supported national efforts to develop, strengthen, and scale up sustainable civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems that work for all, especially women and girls. Funded by Global Affairs Canada and IDRC from December 2015 to July 2021, its role was to facilitate access to technical assistance, global standards and tools, evidence, and good practice, with a strong commitment to gender equality.

Civil registration and vital statistics systems

Civil registration provides legal identity to individuals, enabling them to fulfill their rights and obligations, and access a whole array of benefits. In addition, a continuous, reliable, and permanent flow of data generated from civil registration supports improved and evidence-based national planning and constitutes the basis of an administrative system of a country. However, despite significant investments in strengthening civil registration and vital statistics systems, coverage of registration of vital events remains critically low, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Moreover, gender-related aspects of civil registration systems still need attention and further research.

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Protecting women and girls

Women and girls still face many financial, cultural, and legal barriers to realizing the benefits of civil registration. The CoE advocated for strong CRVS systems to monitor progress to ward gender equality and pursued a programming approach that was intentional about integrating gender analysis across all its activities. This ensured decision-makers had access to reliable data they could use for effective policymaking, long-term national planning, and progress monitoring, resulting in more effective services.

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Learn more

  • The CoE collaborated with partners to generate an evidence base, strengthen capacities, and ultimately improve Civil Registration and Vital Statistics systems around the world. Read this short impact brief to learn more about our contributions to the CRVS field in 67 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
  • Read the Final evaluation report on the CoE as well as two thematic briefs on gender and capacity strengthening.
  • Explore our YouTube channel featuring 100 videos on CRVS systems that include case studies, interviews with experts, conference proceedings, and more.
  • Consult this catalogue of resources to access all the resources published by the CoE organized by theme.
  • Browse outputs from the CoE on IDRC’s digital library.
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This video explains how strong CRVS systems protect human rights and support inclusive development for all.

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Watch this video to see how inclusive CRVS systems ensure that everyone counts and is counted.


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