UNDP, consultant highlight role of biometrics for service delivery in developing countries
American business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has reiterated the importance of biometrics in the implementation of digital ID ecosystems capable of facilitating access to certain public services such as vaccination programs for children in developing countries.
The lack of proper identity registration systems for children in underdeveloped nations has been identified as one of the major hindrances to vaccine programs.
Children in communities in need of vaccines sometimes are unable to have access to the service because health authorities cannot accurately determine who already had the vaccine, when the vaccination occurred, or what vaccines they need, notes a press release from Frost & Sullivan.
This, according to the consultancy, has led to children dying from vaccine-preventable diseases and malnutrition.
“Developing countries require thoughtful planning and the right blend of technical, financial, and political resources to establish a successful digital identity system with immense social benefits. Biometrics can play a pivotal role in contributing to this effort,” says Niihara Tetsuya, GC Director at Frost & Sullivan. “The use of multimodal biometrics is the ideal approach because it provides increased flexibility for enrollment and authentication and improved accuracy and efficiency for biometric de-duplication.”
In response this situation, NEC Corporation says it is willing to expand the target coverage of its biometric solutions to children as part of its objectives of building a future-ready, security-first, and biometrics-powered digital society in which each and every one will be able to rely on their unique, convenient, and accessible personal identity to access essential public services in life, according to the press release.
NEC is in talks with infant fingerprint biometrics developer Synolo about potential collaborations.
Meanwhile, experts within the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Global Policy Network have also emphasized the importance of legal and digital identity in an article, arguing that people who cannot legally identify themselves are likely to be left out of many important life opportunities.
The article mentions work done in Honduras through the UN Legal Identity project which has enabled members of minority and socially-vulnerable groups own a national ID, allowing them access to vital public services.
Efforts made by countries such as Sierra Leone in identifying undocumented populations through the issuance of the NIN, and Zambia in facilitating ID registration are also mentioned in the piece.
The authors note that the UNDP is working to assist in either setting up or improving ID civil registration and national ID issuance systems in about 25 developing countries, which is in consonance with the UN Legal Identity project’s task force objective of enabling 300 million worldwide acquire a legal identity by the year 2025.