UN Legal Identity Agenda: Implementation during pandemic
A Side Event at the United Nations Statistical Commission
- Friday, 26 February 2021
- 9:00 - 10:45 AM
Civil registration system needs to be capable of universal registration of all vital events in a country. However, as documented by the United Nations, in approximately one half of the world's countries or areas, the civil registration is not complete and universal, thus depriving a significant population of accessing the basic legal documents that establish (birth certificate) and retire (death certificate) the legal identity of individuals. Thus, in the best and normal circumstances, the functioning of civil registration is not complete - consequently one can expect an even more challenging concatenation in the case of emergencies.
Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the pandemic brought considerable adverse effects on a functioning of societies, economy and a long list of government services. In terms of functioning of civil registration and the production of vital statistics, there are two distinctive clusters of countries: those whose civil registration systems faced increased difficulties in delivering registration services, either as a consequence of civil registration not being identified as an essential government function that need to operate even in times of pandemic or as a consequence of the reluctance of the population and the inability of health services to inform the civil registration on the occurrence of vital events due to the fear of contagion (in the case of population) or due to the fact that health institutions were overwhelmed by the volume of incoming patients. The second cluster would refer to countries that were able to maintain the functioning of the civil registration systems and for generating vital statistics and in those countries, there was a significant increase in the number of registered deaths.
Simultaneously, the United Nations Legal Identity Task Force initiated the implementation of the holistic approach to civil registration, vital statistics and identity management in African countries, with UN ECA in the lead. The initial rapid assessment reports initiated the preparations of the proposals related to the realization of the UN LIA model and the subsequent One UN efforts and activities in pilot countries.
Organized by UNSD, this side event provides an opportunity for national statistical offices, international organizations and delegates of Permanent Missions to acquire a more detailed overview of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the functioning of civil registration and vital statistics worldwide. Topics to be discussed include (a) international standards for civil registration and statistics vital and its implementation in countries; (b) the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operations and maintenance of civil registration and production of vital statistics; (c) the short-term and long-term consequences in the recording of vital events due to the pandemic, (d) ensuring universal civil registration of all events beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, (e) reporting on the UN LIA implementation in African pilot countries, and (f) partners' experiences in supporting UNLIA during the pandemic.