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Cambodia Moves Closer to Achieving a Vision of “One Person, One Identity” With New Law on Civil Registration, Vital Statistics and Identification

Dec. 15, 2023 (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)—Cambodia has taken a significant step toward ensuring that everyone in the country is counted with its new Law on Civil Registration, Vital Statistics and Identification (CRVSID). The landmark legislation, which goes into effect on July 1, 2024, will establish a modern, integrated CRVSID system and require compulsory registration of births, deaths and other vital events.

“Good data leads to great policy,” said Adam Karpati, M.D., MPH, Senior Vice President, Public Health Programs at Vital Strategies.” In Cambodia, the CRVSID law guarantees everyone a legal identity which is essential to accessing education, health care, property, and many other benefits and social protections. Moreover, not only does this law confer rights to individuals, but it also equips policymakers with crucial data, including patterns of mortality and causes of death, to create more effective and equitable health and development policies,” he added.

During the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia’s civil registration and identification system was destroyed. Since then, the government has undertaken extensive efforts to rebuild the system, but it remained fragmented due to several factors: varying sub-decrees and processes; data inconsistencies due to errors in manual registrations and data disparities between urban and rural registrations; and a lack of integration between different registration processes. In response, the government prioritized strengthening and modernizing the CRVSID system, which paved the way for the creation of the new holistic CRVSID law and a new digitized system that integrates and captures real-time data.

“This law is a powerful testament to the government’s bold leadership, collaboration and commitment to ensuring every person is counted,” said Romain Santon, Deputy Director, CRVS Program at Vital Strategies. “In just six years, birth registration rates have more than doubled and death registration rates have increased significantly. We are proud to be part of this important endeavor.”

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals set a target for 100% of births and 80% of deaths to be registered globally by 2030. Cambodia’s new law and CRVSID system is a major achievement toward realizing this goal.

Since 2017, Vital Strategies has been collaborating with the Cambodian government and other development partners, through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative. Our technical assistance in the country includes: among others activities, supporting the development and implementation of the CRVSID law and regulations; building capacity for medical professionals and data analysts to enhance civil registration processes; improving cause of death data collection and use; and strengthening CRVSID governance toward improved service delivery and evidence-based policy decisions.

Media Contact:

Christina Honeysett: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org

About the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative

Data for Health is a global effort supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. It aims to assist governments in improving the collection and use of critical data for establishing informed health policies and plans. The Initiative has expanded its partnership to more than 30 low- and middle-income countries to improve public health. To learn more, visit: https://www.bloomberg.org/.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by an equitable and effective public health system. We work with governments, communities and organizations around the world to reimagine public health so that health is supported in all the places we live, work and play. The result is millions of people living longer, healthier lives.

Vital Strategies serves as an implementing partner in the Data for Health Initiative, with several programs related specifically to data improvement and public health intelligence: CRVS, Data Impact, Cancer Registries and Global Grants. To learn more, visit www.vitalstrategies.org or follow us @VitalStrat.