Efforts Made in Establishing Civil
Registration and Vital Statistics
Systems in Ethiopia
Samia Zekaria Gutu
Director General
Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia
Presented at the
Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems
Addis Ababa , Ethiopia
August 13-14, 2010
Background – Country Profile
 Total projected population of the country for July
2010 is estimated to be about 80 million,
 Federal government system and decentralized
 Over 84% of the population residing in rural
 IMR - 77 deaths per 1000 live births (2005);
 TFR – 5.4 children per women (2005);
Importance of CR&VS for a Country
• A working conventional Civil Registration and Vital
Statistics (CR&VS) System:
– assists various government departments in a country to
formulate programs of services,
– could be used to develop an integrated legal and statistical
population database that meets national and international
– important to establish efficient public administration system.
• Ethiopia is one of the many African countries that
does not have such conventional system.
C AData
Generated from CR&VS
• Types of data that could be generated from the civil
registration mainly include number of birth, death,
marital status of a specific place and time.
• If the system of civil registration could capture the
events properly and continuously , the data obtained
would be very useful to provide vital statistics where
annual population statistics could be produced easily.
• Population dynamics components could be more
reliable in computing population projection of a
Legal Provisions for the Establishment of
CR&VS in Ethiopia
• The 1900 Proclamation was to carry out population censuses
and to establish a vital events registration system by recording
births, deaths and marriages,
• The 1960 Civil Code of Ethiopia Proclamation contains sets a
detailed and compressive provisions on the establishment of
vital events registration,
• Proclamations of 1976 and 1981 also states that every kebele
in urban areas carry out the Registration of births, deaths, and
marriages occurring with in its jurisdiction based on the
directives to be issued.
– However, these directives have not come into existence and these
proclamations came to no avail.
Legal Provision for the establishment of CR&VS in
Ethiopia, (Cont’d)
• The 1995 FDRE Constitution specify the right of a child
to a name and nationality which could be said the
constitution accepts the importance of vital events
• The National Population Policy of Ethiopia: In this
document enacting laws/regulations for vital events
registration, the responsibility to facilitate the establishment
of vital registration systems has been imposed on the CSA.
• Proclamations that established the CSA clearly
designated the CSA for the collection of vital
statistics data through registration and enumeration
(census or sample surveys).
S Challenges Encountered in the Establishment of
CR&VS System in Ethiopia,
• Even though there were legal provisions that
stipulate the establishment of the CR&VS in the
country, one would observe lack of coordination
and integration of activities among the
institutions involved in civil registration and vital
statistics data collection systems.
• Lack of adequate, qualified and experienced
persons and financial resources could also be
main reasons for the failure.
Previous Efforts of CSA
• The CSA has made numerous attempts to lay the
foundation for the establishment of civil registration and
vital statistics system in the country.
• The Central Statistical Agency has done much in this
field. In accordance to the powers and responsibilities
given to the Agency.
• Several statistics oriented experimentations, sample
registration and dual-record studies conducted (by the
CSA since the 1970s);
Shift Towards the Conventional Civil
Registration Method
After in-depth review and adaptation of UN
guidelines to the country’s initiatives towards
conventional civil registration method;
Management decision reached to abort all provisional
studies and shift towards the conventional civil
registration method;
Consultative communication with regional child
welfare and planning focal institutions conducted;
Strategies Followed for Making CR&VS a
National Agenda
After aborting CSA’s sample and survey based
fully devoted to the development of conventional
civil registration and vital statistics systems which
includes methodological research, development of
registration and statistical instruments, piloting and
the other technical preparatory activities.
Close communication, collaboration and involvement
of regional states;
Strategies followed … Cont’d
• Establishment of national advocacy taskforce
with the leadership role of high government
officials and technical leadership of the CSA
Lobbying key government officials (including
Members of Parliaments and the executive);
Involving the academics and professional
Ongoing Efforts of the CSA
 The CSA shouldered technical aspects of the initiative and
led the government towards conventional civil registration
 Advised UN agencies and NGOs to align their interventions
to the UN principles and recommendations of CR&VS
 Took a lead in engaging regional states in civil registration
and vital statistics systems;
 Initiated technical debates on civil registration and vital
statistics and collaborated with the academics and
professional associations;
Ongoing Efforts of the CSA (cont’d)
• The 2005 UNICEF assisted Model Vital Registration that run
in three regions showed the Sample Vital Registration
outcomes are positive and worthwhile.
• In collaboration with other stakeholders, the CSA has been
striving to incorporate necessary inputs for the drafting of
the Civil Registration Law.
• Currently, the CSA is strengthening its Vital Events
Registration and Statistics Department in order to be able
to provide technical supports and to compile the vital events
statistics regularly as the law comes into force.
Ongoing Efforts of the CSA (cont’d)
• The CSA has incorporated CR&VS in its NSDS
– The National Strategy for Statistical Development
(NSDS) formulated a framework strategy and work
program for strengthening statistical capacity across
the entire National Statistical System of the country
for the next five years (2009/10- 2013/14).
– In this NSDS document, one of the major statistical
strategic themes that has been given due emphasis
is the establishment of sound Civil Registration and
Vital Statistics Systems.
– It has been endorsed by the statistical Council.
Involvement and Contribution of Development
 UNICEF provided financial support for the pilot study and
proactively engaged in the whole civil registration initiative of the
 UNSD provided the UN handbooks;
 PLAN Ethiopia and ACPF conducted comprehensive and
scientific baseline study on perception and practice of birth
registration in the country;
 PLAN Ethiopia and ACPF proactively engaged in advocacy work;
 HMN/WHO provided support for the study on causes of death.
Few Important lessons We Share
 Avoid parallel systems of administration and operation of
civil registration, specifically at the local level; that is, treat
civil registration as part of the public service administration;
 Before launching a reform program or improvement on civil
registration, seriously consider meticulous type of technical
 Use the UN principles and recommendations as standard
guiding tools in all endeavors of civil registration and vital
statistics improvement;
S Few
Important Lessons We Share
 Involving Regional States to own the model vital
registration has shown their motivation for
 Incorporating CR&VS in the upcoming five year
national strategy of the country demonstrates the
commitment of the Government.
Way Forward
 The new civil registration law is expected to be enacted by early
next year:
 The federal civil registration organization and structure as per
the provisions of the new law will be expected to be operational
by 2011 and regional civil registration bodies will continue
 The Ethiopian government will look forward to get support from
regional organizations, such as UNECA-ACS and international
development partners, i.e., the UN and bi-lateral and multilateral organization;
 The CSA and the forthcoming civil registration agency will
continue collaborating with the rest of Africa in addressing the
challenges and sharing experiences on CR&VS;