Forty Leading Development Agencies, Governments & Public Interest Organizations Join the Newly Formed Coalition

The international coalition calling for the recognition of September 16 as International Identity Day in tribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.9 – legal identity for all – has picked up momentum this week. To date, 40 of the world’s leading development agencies, government institutions and public interest organizations have officially joined forces to kick off the campaign advocating for the adoption of the commemorative day by the international community.

The campaign was initiated by ID4Africa at the 4thAnnual Meeting of the ID4Africa Movement on 24 April 2018, in Abuja, Nigeria. The launch was met with strong support whereby over 1500 individual signatures endorsing the proposition were collected. This represented nearly 99% of the delegates in attendance. In early August, the campaign moved from individual to institutional engagement in preparation for policy advocacy by these institutions that will sensitize UN member delegations and their governments about the importance of legal identity and will urge them to vote favorably on the proposed resolution when it reaches the UN General Assembly floor at a yet to be specified session. The coalition will also promote, through their respective engagement vehicles, the protections that need to be in place—such as data protection and privacy—specifically in the context of building inclusive identity frameworks that respect human rights and are deployed for public good.

Dr. Joseph J. Atick, Executive Chairman of ID4Africa, the organization that continues to coordinate the campaign in the interim, said “Many causes have commemorative days, except identity, which is surprising considering that legal identity is one of the most important assets a human can possess. Without a recognized legal identity, one basically does not exist in a society, developed or developing alike.” He added, “SDG 16.9 made ‘legal identity for all’ an important development goal which was embraced by all 193-member states at the United Nations. This campaign is the logical extension of that work. Lest the world forgets the importance of identity, we urge all policy makers to join the coalition to help create a permanent reminder that will give each country the opportunity, on an annual basis, to regroup and assess its progress towards this most fundamental human development goal.” He concluded, “The coalition has already received expressions of interest from several countries offering to be among the sponsors of this resolution at an upcoming UN General Assembly. These are being evaluated by the coalition and we remain open to exploring more propositions from around the globe to create participation from countries across all income levels and geographies. The response has been heartwarming, and it is only the beginning as this campaign as well as the coalition building will continue until it attains its stated objective.”

The coalition partners are set to embark on a passionate journey of advocacy and awareness building, one they recognize could take several years. However, with their increasing unity and commitment to this mission, the campaign will forge ahead until it has lobbied enough support to warrant a vote at the UN General Assembly. The coalition invites all government and development agencies who are committed to the responsible adoption of identity as a positive change agent in society, including the respect of privacy and data protection to join the rapidly growing alliance that is calling for the adoption of September 16 as the International Day for Identity.

To date, the coalition consists of the following:ID4Africa; The World Bank; UNDP; UNICEF; African Development Bank; The National Office of Identity Data of the Ministry of Interior & Kingdom Relations, Netherlands; The Norwegian ID Center; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Estonia; The International Organization of Francophonie; The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigeria; Mastercard; Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons, Kenya; National Civil Registration Authority, Sierra Leone; Federal Vital Events Registration Agency, Ethiopia; ANGEIE, Guinea; Ministry of Interior and Decentralization, Madagascar; National Bureau of Civil Status , Cameroon; The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Mauritania; The Government of the Central African Republic;  National Bureau of Civil Status, Chad; Department of Nationality, Passports & Immigration, South Sudan; CEDEC, Mauritania; The Government of Niger; National Agency for Secured Credentials, Chad; Association for Development in Mauritania; NationalPolice Service, South Sudan; ANSIE, Djibouti; RAVEC, Mali; National Identification Authority, Ghana; National Identification Registry, Liberia; Agency for Universal Health Coverage (CMU), Senegal; Department of Civil Registration, Eswatini (Swaziland); CENFRI, South Africa; European Association for Biometrics; Secure Identity Alliance; Biometric Update; Silicon Trust; Embedded Security News; APSCA; Planet Biometrics.

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