The Hague Colloquium on the Future of Legal Identity

Civil Registration Centre for Development, The Hague and the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, Johannesburg

Carla AbouZahr

Independent Consultant in Health Strategy and Policy

Carla AbouZahr’s involvement in civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) started while she was employed at the World Health Organization from 1989 to 2011. The challenges of monitoring progress in reducing maternal mortality led her to focus on the need for investment in national systems to register births and deaths and generate vital statistics on fertility, mortality and causes of death. She was responsible for WHO’s work in health information system strengthening of which CRVS is a key component. She led and managed the development of a series of papers on civil registration and vital statistics published in the Lancet in 2007 ( Since her retirement in 2011, she has provided consultancy support to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) for the Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics, November 2014.; to the Asian Development Bank for the International Identity Management Conference in Seoul, Korea, September 2014.; to the World Health Organization (WHO) for strategic approaches for the improvement of mortality statistics in the context of CRVS strengthening.; and to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) for training of trainers in the assessment of CRVS systems and the development of prioritized and costed investment plans for CRVS improvement.

Recent publications

Abouzahr C, Stein C, Chapman N, Toole D, LeFranc C, Joshi K and Munk Hansen R. (2014) A development imperative: civil registration and vital statistics systems in the Asia-Pacific region ASIA-PACIFIC POPULATION JOURNAL Vol. 29, No. 1, pp 9-38,November 2014.

Abouzahr C, Azimi SY, Bersales LGS, Chandrasekaran C, Hufana L, Khan K, Kulkayeva G, Marskell J, and Sauyekenova L (2014) Strengthening civil registration and vital statistics in the Asia-Pacific region: learning from country experiences. ASIA-PACIFIC POPULATION JOURNAL Vol. 29, No. 1, pp 39-74, November 2014.

Abouzahr C, Harbitz M, Fu H and Mitra RG. (2014) Towards a research agenda for civil registration and vital statistics inthe Asia-Pacific region. ASIA-PACIFIC POPULATION JOURNAL Vol. 29, No. 1, pp 99-136, November 2014.

WHO and Health Information Systems Knowledge Hub (2013) Strengthening civil registration and vital statistics for births, deaths and causes of death: resource kit. ISBN 978 92 4 150459 1 (NLM classification: WA 900) WHO/HMN/13.1 © World Health Organization 2013

AbouZahr C et al. (2010). Mortality statistics: a tool to improve understanding and quality. Working Paper No. 13. University of Queensland School of Population Health, Health Information Systems Knowledge Hub, Brisbane, Australia. Retrieved 22 August 2012 from:

AbouZahr C, Cleland J, Coullare F, Macfarlane SB, Notzon FC, Setel P, Szreter S (2007) on behalf of the Monitoring of Vital Events (MoVE) writing group. Who Counts? 4. The way forward. The Lancet, 370(9601):1791–1799. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61310-5. Retrieved 22 August 2012 from:

Setel P, Macfarlane S, Szreter S, Mikkelsen L, Jha P, Stout S and AbouZahr C (2007) A scandal of invisibility: making everyone count by counting everyone Lancet November 3 2007

Lopez A, AbouZahr C, Shibuya K, Gollogly L (2007) Keeping count: births deaths and causes of death Lancet November 24 2007