Namibia Case Study Highlights Importance of Data Policy Alignment for SDG 16.9
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Namibia’s case reflects the importance of policy alignment in delivering an integrated and interoperable national population registration system.

The case study cautions that it is important to ensure that legal frameworks and technological advancements are kept in sync as much as possible, despite the fast pace of technology innovations.

The case study on Namibia is part of a compendium of good practices for advancing SDG target 16.9 (provide legal identity for all, including birth registration) published by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the Centre of Excellence.

In Namibia, a clear national policy direction and a national agenda – the Namibia Vision 2030 and the e-Government strategy – provided the focus and alignment needed to deliver an interoperable national population registration system. The case study on Namibia is part of a compendium of good practices for advancing SDG target 16.9 (provide legal identity for all, including birth registration) published by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the Centre of Excellence.

According to the case study, Namibia has a fully integrated civil registration and identity management system that registers, processes, and updates the identity information of citizens, permanent residents, and refugees – the National Population Registration System (NPRS). The NPRS was created by combining various databases that held different types of personal information linked by a unique identification number (UIN).

The publication notes that, even though Namibia still faces challenges in ensuring that marriage and divorce registrations are complete, major progress was made when birth and death registration became a key prerequisite for offering social grants. This tactic allowed Namibian authorities to incentivize the demand side of the registration process.

The authors highlight that adopting information and communication technology (ICT) was essential to building the NPRS, as it helped integrate and launch electronic birth and death notification platforms. The case study underscores that, if adopted correctly and applied to redesigned business processes, ICT can deliver an overarching and interoperable population register that serves an effective tool for delivering high-impact services for governance and public administration. The publication cautions that legal frameworks and technological advancements must be kept in sync as much as possible, despite the fast pace of technology innovations.

In Namibia, births and deaths are registered using notifications from the innovative e-birth and e-death notification platforms, which are linked to the NPRS and hosted at health facilities, police mortuaries and civil registration offices. The publication explains that the NPRS is the main building block of the interoperability framework as it uses the National Data Exchange Service Bus interoperability data layer, which allows it to link the population register with functional registers that the government and the private sector run, making it easier to share data and verify identity data.

By digitizing civil registration business processes and setting up a database architecture that connects different databases, the Namibian government ensured that they all use the same identity data stored in the civil register, enabling fraud prevention long associated with the financial benefits that people get when registering vital events.

The publication titled, ‘Compendium of Good Practices in Linking Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Identity Management Systems,’ also features five other country case studies: Armenia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands and Peru. The authors note that the benefits of a holistic approach to CRVS and identity management span several aspects of governance, including ensuring people’s rights, improving service delivery, reducing corruption, and leaving no one behind. [Compendium of Good Practices in Linking Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Identity Management Systems – Namibia]

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