Advocating legal identity as an essential human right
ID Day: Advocating legal identity as an essential human right Promoting social, political, and economic inclusion for everyone by pursuing Sustainable Development Goal 16.9
15 November 2022 marked a remarkable milestone, known as "The Day of the Eight Billion", when the world's population exceeded 8 billion people. However, there is still a pressing issue that needs attention: one in ten people on the planet lacks a legal identity. Furthermore, the United Nations has recognized universal access to legal identity as a fundamental human right within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While progress has been made in critical areas, it is vital that countries around the world remain steadfast in our commitment to providing legal identity to every person worldwide.
By ensuring universal access to a legal identity, we can open up a world of opportunity for individuals. They will have access to essential social services such as healthcare and education, and the ability to participate in the global financial system.
Celebrating International Identity Day in support of SDG 16.9
Specifically, SDG 16.9 calls for every person on the planet to have a legal identity by 2030. This includes recording and registering 100% of births. While the data collected through this process is critical, the broader goal is to promote social and economic inclusion.
As a leading global provider of identity solutions, we at Veridos support the objective of Sustainable Development Goal 16.9. In line with this SDG, Veridos celebrates 16th September as International Identity Day.
International Identity Day serves as a meaningful approach to increase understanding and drive progress on achieving the goal: identity for all. At Veridos, we have long recognized the many benefits of robust identity systems in promoting social inclusion for all. Veridos' collaboration with governments remains steadfast as we strive to provide citizens with the secure identity documents they need to effectively navigate their daily lives.
How Veridos approaches the identity lifecycle
Legal identities can improve people’s lives
The lack of legal identity has many disadvantages for governments and citizens. Governments face challenges such as inefficient distribution of social benefits and lack of tax monitoring. Individuals without legal identity face barriers in banking, travel, accessing services and exercising rights such as voting and inheritance.
"A legal identity is a prerequisite for modern life in a connected world," said Marc-Julian Siewert, CEO of Veridos. "At Veridos, we emphasize that a legal identity is a human right that enables individuals to participate in the social, political and economic spheres."
A significant barrier to financial inclusion globally is the lack of documentation, which prevents individuals from accessing modern financial systems. Leveraging digital technology is critical to providing universal access to efficient and trusted identification systems. With the rise of smartphones and expanding digital markets, it is imperative to harness these advances to ensure universal access to legal identities.
Every single child counts
Registering people at birth is a crucial step in providing legal identity. Governments and their partners have made significant progress in this area. Between 2000 and 2019, the registration rate for children under five worldwide increased from 60 per cent to 75 per cent. However, an estimated 237 million children under five still lack a valid identity document. It is essential to maintain cautious optimism and unwavering commitment from all stakeholders to achieve the target set in SDG 16.9 by 2030.
Many regions of the world still have a long way to go: the lowest rate of registered births is in Eastern and Southern Africa (41%). In Sub-Saharan Africa, just over half (51%) of children are registered by their fifth birthday, while the rate is slightly higher in West and Central Africa (59%), according to the latest figures from June 2023.
But there is also good news to report. Bangladesh is an encouraging example. Despite historical challenges in registering children at birth, the country has made significant progress, with a registration rate of 56% in 2019, compared to 12% in 2006. Bangladesh has also shown a commitment to innovative, technology-driven solutions, such as partnering with Veridos to produce ePassports.
How the target will be achieved
Technological solutions and frameworks for legal identity already exist, making the achievement of SDG 16.9 technically feasible. Companies like Veridos are ready to work with governments to provide citizens with the necessary systems. The growing global political consensus and increasing corporate support, exemplified by companies joining the UN Global Compact, further reinforces the importance of providing populations with access to legal identity.
With a shared commitment to the goal of universal legal identity, we can envision a future where everyone has a legal identity. We stay focused and work together on a global level.
More related topics: Birth registration - UNICEF DATA
Do you want to know how Veridos’ solutions can best suit your needs?