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Good practices guide for CRVS and identity management shows global birth registration at 73 percent



A compendium of good practices for civil registration and identity management has been published by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the Centre of Excellence to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 16.9, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) reports.

The organizations launched the ‘Compendium of Good Practices in Linking Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Identity Management Systems’ at the Fifth Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration, which was held in Zambia in October 2019. It includes case studies of identity projects in Armenia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, the Netherlands, and Peru, following a synthesis report which was presented at a side event during the UN General Assembly.

The average birth registration rate is 73 percent, but only 46 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa, and only 25 percent of the world’s population lives in countries with registration rates over 90 percent. The World Bank also estimates that roughly half of deaths are not registered.

SDG 16.9 sets a target of universal legal identity, including birth registration, for all people by 2030.

The report is meant to provide evidence of the benefits of a holistic approach to CRVS and identity management, with civil registration and identity systems providing mutual support, according to the IISD. It also makes the case for civil registration authorities to increase coverage through cooperation or integration with other entities in the identity ecosystem. A similar case was made to Biometric Update by UNICEF Associate Director and Global Chief of Child Protection Cornelius Williams at ID4Africa 2019.

The main take-aways are identified in the report, including the importance of covering all life events to implementing a holistic identity system, the reliance of other elements within the identity ecosystem, such as credential issuance and functional government systems, on up-to-date CRVS data. The digitization of CRVS and identity systems, and the benefits of a holistic approach to rights, improved service delivery, and other governance aspects are highlighted. Four key elements for successful identity systems are identified as political commitment, a legal framework that covers data sharing, a data privacy and protection framework, and technology ownership from the outset, which could mitigate vendor lock-in.

The importance of technical interoperability is also discussed in the case studies.

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