A statistical update on birth registration in Africa – World


Society first recognizes the existence and identity of a child through birth registration. The right to be recognized as a person before the law is a crucial step in ensuring lifelong protection and can facilitate access to all other rights.
A birth certificate is proof of this legal identity and forms the basis on which children can establish a nationality, avoid the risk of statelessness and seek protection from violence and exploitation. For example, proof of age is needed to help prevent child labor, child marriage and underage recruitment into the armed forces, through the enactment and enforcement of age laws. A birth certificate may also be required to access services, in areas such as health, education and justice.

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 placed birth registration firmly on the international development agenda. It includes a dedicated target (16.9) under Goal 16 – namely, to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030. Complementary, target 17.9 calls for support to build the statistical capacity needed for strong national civil registration systems. . These systems produce vital statistics, which are fundamental to achieving sustainable human and economic development.
In line with the SDGs, UNICEF seeks to deliver on the promise of universal birth registration, ensuring a legal identity for every child by 2030.

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