Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS)

The continuous, permanent, compulsory and universal recording of the occurrence and characteristics of vital events pertaining to the population, as provided through decree or regulation in accordance with the legal requirements of each country (UNDESA 2014). Vital events concern the life, death and civil status of individuals, including live birth, death, fetal death, marriage, divorce, separation, annulment, adoption, legitimation, and recognition (of paternity).

In more detail, as explained in #civil-registration-and-vital-statistics-crvs

Civil Registration and Vital Statistics refer to the systematic collection and recording of data on vital events (such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce) that occur within a country, along with the issuance of certificates/legal documents to confirm the occurrence of these events. The goal of CRVS is to provide a comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date record of vital events, which serves as the foundation for a range of civil, legal, and social functions.

CRVS serves many essential services, including but not limited to the following:

  • Recording vital events: CRVS systems capture and record vital events, such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and others that occur within the jurisdiction of a country.

  • Issuing legal documents: CRVS systems provide official certificates and other legal documents to verify the occurrence and details of vital events, such as birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage certificates.

  • Supporting identity and citizenship: In some country settings, CRVS systems play a key role in establishing and verifying identity and citizenship, as vital events such as birth and marriage are used to establish links between individuals and their families.

  • Supporting social protection: CRVS systems are often linked with social protection programs, such as pension schemes.

  • Enforcing legal rights and obligations: CRVS systems provide the legal evidence needed to enforce rights and obligations, such as marriage or divorce details, and to settle disputes related to vital events.

Codable Concept

A Codable Concept represents a value that is usually supplied by providing a reference to one or more terminologies but may also be defined by the provision of text.

Code Directory

The "Code Directory" is a crucial component within the Data Standards, particularly for managing and standardising codes and classifications used in data. It provides a structured repository or catalog for storing and organizing code sets, code values, and associated metadata.

Code Directories are lists of codes and their corresponding values. Implementation agencies have the option to amend these directories and include values specific to their country's context.

  • Code Sets: Code directories contain various code sets, which are collections of predefined codes or identifiers that represent specific data categories, classifications, or attributes. These codes are used to categorize or label data consistently.

  • Code Values: Each code set within the Code Directory includes a list of code values that represent discrete options or attributes. .

  • Metadata: Code directories often include metadata, such as descriptions and usage guidelines, to provide context and explanations for each code value. This metadata is essential for users to understand the meaning and purpose of specific codes.

These code directories have been derived from existing international standards such as OpenID Connect, ISO Standards, and HL7 FHIR, ensuring that they are aligned with widely accepted best practices.


A document, object, or data structure that vouches for the identity of a person through some method of trust and authentication. Common types of identity credentials include—but are not limited to—ID cards, certificates, numbers, passwords, or SIM cards. A biometric identifier can also be used as a credential once it has been registered with the identity provider (adapted from ID4D Technology Landscape and Public-Private Cooperation reports).

Data Object

The "Data Object" section within the Data Standards is a fundamental building block for data interchange. It represents the smallest unit of information that can be independently referenced and understood. Each data element is precisely defined, providing information about its structure, format, and semantic meaning. Data elements may include items such as names, dates, codes, or other pieces of information that are essential for various systems to understand and process data accurately.

  • Structure: Data elements are characterized by a structured format, which includes data type (e.g., text, numeric, date), length, and constraints. For instance, a data element for a date may specify that it should be in the "YYYY-MM-DD" format.

  • Semantic Meaning: Data elements are associated with a clear and unambiguous semantic meaning, making it explicit what the data represents. This ensures that data consumers can interpret the data correctly.

  • Cross-Referencing: Data elements are often cross-referenced with unique identifiers or codes, making it easier for different systems to map their own internal data representations to the standardised data elements.

Digital Identification (ID) System

An identification system that uses digital technology throughout the identity lifecycle, including for data capture, validation, storage, and transfer; credential management; and identity verification and authentication (adapted from ID4D Public-Private Cooperation report).

Foundational Identification (ID) System

An identification system primarily created to manage identity information for the general population and provide credentials that serve as proof of identity for a wide variety of public and private sector transactions and services. Common types of foundational ID systems include civil registries, universal resident or national ID systems, and population registers (adapted from Gelb & Clark 2013a and various ID4D publications).

Functional Identification (ID) System

An identification system created to manage identification, authentication, and authorization for a particular service or transaction, such as voting, tax administration, social programs and transfers, financial services, and more. Functional identity credentials—such as voter IDs, health and insurance records, tax ID numbers, ration cards, driver’s licenses, etc.—may be commonly accepted as proof of identity for broader purposes outside of their original intent, particularly when there is no foundational ID system (adapted from Gelb & Clark 2013a and various ID4D publications).


The process of establishing, determining, or recognizing a person’s identity (adapted from ISO/IEC 24760-1:2011 and ITU-T X.1252).

Identification (ID) System

The databases, processes, technology, infrastructure, credentials, and legal frameworks associated with the capture, management, and use of personal identity data for a general or specific purpose (adapted from the Principles on Identification).

Identity (ID)

A set of attributes that uniquely describe a person within a given context (adapted from NIST 800-63:2017).

Identity Document

A type of identity credential.


The ability of different functional units—e.g., systems, databases, devices, or applications—to communicate, execute programs, or transfer data in a manner that requires the user to have little or no knowledge of those functional units (adapted from ISO/IEC 2382:2015).

National Identification (ID) System

A foundational identification system that provides national IDs (NIDs)—often a card—and potentially other credentials. In many countries, a primary function of national ID systems has been to establish and provide recognition and proof of nationality and/or residency status.

Privacy by Design

Privacy by Design is a concept that emphasizes the importance of integrating privacy into the design of technology from the outset. This means that privacy should be considered at every stage of the development process, from the initial concept to the final product.

The goal of Privacy by Design is to ensure that privacy is not an afterthought, but rather a fundamental principle that is built into the technology from the start. This approach can help to prevent privacy violations from happening in the first place, and it can also make it easier to correct privacy problems that do occur.

A credential, such as a birth certificate, identity card or digital identity credential, that is recognized as proof of legal identity under national law and in accordance with emerging international norms and principles (United Nations Legal Identity Expert Group Operational Definition of Legal Identity).

Security by Design

Security by design encompasses the protection of valuable assets, by securing them safely within the boundaries of organizations, taking into account the ownership of the assets. This means that in any circumstance, one has to attend to the valuable property, being 'data' and 'technology' as a whole, both by securing access to (data)assets and by securing the proliferation of data (assets) outside the boundaries, for which one is responsible.


One-to-one mapping of identity records in an existing database with those in another database (e.g., via a unique ID number). Seeding can be done in bulk with no action required by individual users (“inorganic seeding”) or on case-by-case bases as users interact with one of the systems (“organic seeding) [adapted from ID4D Aadhaar Case Study (forthcoming)].

Social Protection

Social protection can be seen as ‘the set of policies and programs aimed at preventing or protecting all people against poverty, vulnerability, and social exclusion throughout their lifecycles, particularly the most vulnerable group (FAO, 2018). The World Social Protection Report 2017–2019 illustrates that 45% of the world’s population is effectively covered by at least one social protection benefit, and links effective social protection to the achievement of goals of global hunger and poverty reduction (ILO, 2019).

Social Registry

A database that contains socioeconomic data on the population—at the individual and/or household level—for the purpose of unifying the targeting and distribution of social programs, such as cash transfers and pensions.

Standards in Social Protection Systems

In the context of social protection systems, standards refer to the established guidelines, principles, or criteria that define the quality, consistency, and effectiveness of social protection programs and services. These standards encompass various aspects, such as eligibility criteria, benefit calculations, administrative procedures, and service delivery mechanisms. They provide a framework for ensuring fairness, equity, and accountability in social protection systems.

An example of standards in social protection is the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Social Security Standards. These standards outline principles for the design, implementation, and evaluation of social security systems, covering areas such as coverage, adequacy, financing, and administration. They provide guidance to countries in developing and improving their social protection frameworks.

Unique ID Number (UIN)

In the context of identification systems, a number uniquely identifies a person—i.e., each person only has one UIN and no two people share the same UIN. UINs are generally assigned for a person’s lifetime in a particular ID system (i.e., their number does not change over time), typically after validating a person’s identity and uniqueness through the deduplication process (adapted from ID4D Public-Private Cooperation).

In addition to UINs, there are other types of identification systems that use a combination of set keys, such as a person's name, date of birth, or father's name. These systems can also be used to identify a person.

Universal Resident ID System

A digital, foundational ID system that uniquely identifies and provides government-recognized credentials to all residents of a country, including nationals and non-nationals.


Verification is defined as the process of verifying specific identity attributes or determining the authenticity of credentials in order to facilitate authorization for a particular service.

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