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Wina underscores importance of civil registration, vital statistics

VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says a fully functioning civil registration and vital statistics system with universal birth, marriage and death registration is the foundation of a comprehensive and sustainable legal identity.

Speaking during the fifth Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Lusaka on Thursday, Vice-President Wina said Africa’s bold steps in closing the identity gap and leaving no one behind was the best way to achieve legal identity for all.

She said legal identity management responds well to African wants.

“We share a common vision – to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven and managed by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena. The reality, therefore, is that we cannot achieve this great African vision without counting and recording our citizens which is what civil registration is all about,” Vice-President Wina said.

“A fully functioning civil registration and vital statistics system with universal birth, marriage and death registration is the foundation of a comprehensive, robust and sustainable legal identity system.”

Vice-President Wina said the 2063 agenda was anchored on a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, an integrated continent, politically united based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s renaissance; and an Africa of good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.

Vice-President Wina noted that the World Bank estimated globally that more than 1.5 billion people lack proof of legal identity, about half of whom live in Africa.

“An integrated and a holistic approach to civil registration, vital statistics, health information system and identity management is critical to closing the identity gap in Africa and making progress towards target 16.9 of the sustainable development goals,” she said.

“It is clear that Africa is now taking bold steps in closing the identity gap and leaving no one behind by providing legal identity for all, including birth registration, as espoused in SDG target 16.9. We applaud ourselves and thank our Pan African institutions and development partners.”

And home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo said Zambia had taken significant steps in improving the civil registration and vital statistics landscape.

He said Zambia was committed to the registration of vital events occurring among refugees and internally displaced persons in an effort to leave no one behind.

Kampyongo further revealed that in 2018, Zambia provided 1,465 identity documents to refugees from various countries.

He said Zambia had implemented health facility birth registration in over 700 health facilities across the country.

“To this end, beginning from 2016, Zambia started producing full vital statistics reports which include information on mortality and causes of death. Zambia is also moving forward in adopting innovative approaches to improving civil registration,” Kampyongo said.

He said it was widely recognised that civil registration systems form a solid foundation for sustainable national identify systems and Zambia had taken significant steps in improving the civil registration and vital statistics.

“By establishing legal identify and issuing legal identify documents, civil registration systems enable individual members of the public to prove who they are while transacting with each other and the state, as well as to claim their right to identify and other associated civil as human rights,” said Kampyongo.

Chairperson of the outgoing Bureau Mohamed Soueidatt said civil registration and vital statistics were critical to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for African countries.

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