Report Highlights Identity Management Practices to Advance SDG Target 16.9
Photo Credit: Sharon McCutcheon
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The compendium focuses on the experiences of six countries that have pursued a holistic approach to civil registration and vital statistics, namely Armenia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, the Netherlands and Peru.

The benefits of a holistic approach to CRVS and identity management include ensuring people’s rights, improving service delivery, reducing corruption and leaving no one behind.

The compendium of good practices is published by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the Centre of Excellence.

To support the achievement of SDG target 16.9, “provide legal identity for all, including birth registration,” the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the Centre of Excellence have published a compendium of good practices on civil registration and identity management. The compendium features country case studies from Armenia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, the Netherlands and Peru.

The ‘Compendium of Good Practices in Linking Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and Identity Management Systems’ was launched at the Fifth Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration, which took place from 14-18 October 2019, in Lusaka, Zambia. In September 2019, a synthesis report of the six case studies was introduced at a side event during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

One billion people cannot legally prove who they are because they lack recognized identity documentation.

According to the compendium, current birth registration coverage is not adequate to meet SDG target 16.9, even among countries with functioning civil registration systems. It reports that: the average birth registration rate globally is 73%; only 46% children in Sub-Saharan Africa have had their births registered; and only 25% of the world population live in countries where more than 90% of the births and deaths are registered, most of these countries being high-income countries. The authors also note that according to the latest data from the World Bank, 1 billion people cannot legally prove who they are because they lack recognized identity documentation. The World Bank has also found that approximately 50% of the world’s deaths are not registered.

The compendium aims to provide evidence and raise awareness of the benefits of a holistic approach to CRVS and identity management, where civil registration and identity management systems support each other. The publication is also aimed at shedding light, for civil registration authorities, of the opportunities for advancing CRVS and increasing registration coverage through tighter cooperation or integration with identity management systems and other “identity ecosystem” actors.

The compendium focuses on the experiences of six countries that have pursued a holistic approach to CRVS: Armenia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, the Netherlands and Peru. The case studies reflect varied experiences in building identity ecosystems with different constitutional and legal systems, administrative traditions and institutional arrangements. The studies present good practices, underlining how the countries’ different starting points were not an obstacle to building their identity system around a holistic approach, as well as their various ways of working.

Five recurring messages were identified across the six case studies:

  • A strong CRVS system that registers all vital events from birth until death for the whole population is an essential precondition for the implementation of a holistic identity system;
  • Other components of an identity ecosystem, including the issuance of identification credentials and functional government systems, rely on civil registration records as the only source of up-to-date identity data;
  • The digitization of CRVS and identity management systems, together with other government functional systems, enables more efficient ways for processing identity information;
  • The benefits of a holistic approach span several aspects of governance, including ensuring people’s rights, improving service delivery, reducing corruption and leaving no one behind; and
  • The four key elements essential to a conducive enabling environment for pursuing a holistic identity system are: political commitment; a legal framework that enables data sharing; a data privacy and protection framework; and technology ownership from the outset to mitigate possible vendor lock-in.

The six case studies also show that technical interoperability provides a range of benefits in ensuring that all categories of population from birth to death reflect their identity information in the system. [Publication landing page] [Publication: Compendium of Good Practices in Linking  Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS)  and Identity Management Systems

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