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Unlocking SDG 16.9: Harnessing the UN Legal Identity Agenda for Leaving No One Behind

15th Sep 2023

Unlocking SDG 16.9: Harnessing the UN Legal Identity Agenda for Leaving No One Behind

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to address pressing global challenges and
improve people's lives worldwide. Among the 17 SDGs, Goal 16.9 specifically focuses on providing
legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030. Despite the disruptions caused by the
COVID-19 pandemic, countries, including in South Asia and Africa, have improved birth
registration coverage. At the global level, the birth registration rate for children under five has
risen to 77 per cent from 75 per cent in 2019, primarily because of the progress made in countries
like India, where over 90 per cent of newborns are registered today.
However, despite significant progress, more than 160 million children under five globally remain
unregistered, limiting their access to essential services, education, healthcare, and protection.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that death registration is incomplete and deficient in most
low- and middle-income countries. In addition, a majority of UN Member States are unable to
quantify the completeness of marriage and divorce registration and produce routine vital
statistics from CRVS systems.
Recognizing the urgency to accelerate efforts, this side-event of the SDG Summit 2023 will
provide an opportunity to discuss strategies for accelerated achievement of universal birth and
death registration and legal identity for all in six priority countries, viz. Bangladesh, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. These countries also
collectively account for half of the global burden of unregistered children (more than 19 million
U1s and over 79 million U5s). Accelerating progress to ensure well-functioning civil registration
and vital statistics (CRVS) and identity management systems in these focus countries, therefore,
is critical to global progress on SDG 16.9.


Concept Note and Agenda

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