UNICEF Releases two Major Publications on Birth Registration

Dec 13, 2013 |

Birth registration is a critical first step toward safeguarding lifelong protection. Globally, nearly 230 million children under the age of 5 have not had their births registered. This means that they do not legally exist before the law. These children are at risk of exclusion and exploitation and may have difficulty accessing services.

The first report, Every Child’s Birth Right: Inequities and Trends in Birth Registration, presents a global assessment of birth registration levels. The publication spans 161 countries and presents the latest available data and estimates on birth registration. The report draws information from more than 300 data sources over a 20-year period. The publication also highlights global and regional trends and examines inequities in prevalence according to social, economic, demographic and other characteristics. The report also includes a section on programmatic and advocacy efforts undertaken by UNICEF and its partners.

The second document, A Passport to Protection: A Guide to Birth Registration Programming, provides practical guidance to UNICEF staff and staff of other agencies on how the inequities found in the assessment may be addressed. It outlines eight steps for understanding the program task and ways to implement organizational and legal changes, stimulating demand and strengthening collaboration. These actions aim to support the characteristics of a well-functioning birth registration process within the civil registry: free, universal, permanent and continuous, confidential, timely and accurate.

These documents raise awareness of the magnitude of the problem and suggest strategies to address it.