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  • To raise awareness of the importance

    2019-06-12

    To raise awareness of the importance of birth registration and to discuss strategies to promote it, UNICEF is launching two related publications on the anniversary of the organisation\'s founding is a statistical analysis spanning 161 countries and presenting the latest available country data and estimates on birth registration, at both global and regional levels. is a handbook for those working on birth registration, providing background information, general principles, and the programming process. Globally, only 65% of all children younger than 5 years are registered. This means that there are nearly 230 million children worldwide who do not officially exist. More than half of them (59%) live in Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, 44% of children younger than 5 years have been registered, with levels ranging from 3% in Somalia to 95% in South Africa. Birth registration stands at only 39% in south Asia, the region with the largest overall number of births and children younger than 5 years. India is home to around one in three of all unregistered children worldwide. Between 2000 and 2010, global birth registration levels rose only slightly, from 58% to 65%, but they increased by more than 30% in least developed countries. During the same period, the global number of unregistered children decreased by about 30 million. Faster progress in raising birth registration levels is needed, however, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa as its child population continues to increase significantly. If current levels persist, the number of unregistered children in east and southern Africa, currently 44 million, will reach 55 million in 2050, and will almost double in the same time Ozanimod in west and central Africa. There are many reasons why a child might not be registered at birth. Although available data show that there are no gender differences in birth registration, in general, unregistered children come from the poorest households, live in rural areas, and have mothers with no or little formal education. In some countries, certain ethnic or religious minorities have lower birth registration rates than the national average. In terms of national wealth, most countries with a per capita income above US$6000 have birth registration rates of more than 80%. However, in lower-income countries, both high and low rates of birth registration are found. These differences underscore the fact that the registration of children can be realised even in the face of economic challenges. All of these findings suggest that interventions to accelerate progress in birth registration should be given priority, especially in the poorest countries, in rural areas within a country, and in minority and socially disadvantaged groups. Experience shows that such interventions can achieve maximum coverage by combining them with services that children and their parents are likely to come into contact with, particularly those related to health and education. Substantial disparities indicate that targeted action must be taken to ensure that all population groups are covered. Such action necessitates careful review of the legislation that regulates registration procedures and requirements, and of the operation of the civil registry. Since many poor children are not registered, to ensure that birth registration is available to everyone, it must be free of charge, whether for regular or late registration (ie, registration that does not take place at or shortly after the birth of a child). In countries where a fee for registration and penalties apply, interventions could be targeted at policy and legal reforms to eliminate fees. All people who are born in a country must have access to birth registration—without exclusion or discrimination. The data indicate that, in almost all countries, children living in rural areas are less likely to be registered than those living in cities and towns. Programmes need to take this into account, and make a special effort to reach rural areas where warranted. In Uganda, UNICEF and a private-sector partner, Uganda Telecom, are piloting mobile and web-based technology to digitise birth records, making the birth registration process faster, more accessible, and more reliable. Data also convey both a lack of awareness about what the registration process entails, and of the benefits of registering. Working with community leaders—including religious leaders—on communicating the importance of registration, and facilitating access, are ways to increase demand. Information in the registry is personal and sensitive. For this reason, access to the registry must be strictly controlled. In certain situations, especially involving conflict or ethnicity, mistrust over confidentiality might be the reason why people choose not to register their children. To ensure that confidentiality is guaranteed in such contexts, programmes should review the structure of the registration system, legislative acts that govern it, and the protocols for data transmission. Accordingly, the design of birth certificates is important, and should include only the minimum necessary personal information to protect individuals from unnecessary risk.