On Friday, September 30, the Inter-American Identity Week was held in Mexico City and included a meeting at the XIII Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Council on Vital Statistics, Identity and Vital Statistics (CLARCIEV), the Third Regional Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean and the First Ministerial Meeting and National Authorities of the Americas on the Right to Identity and Universal Birth Registration. The meeting was co-organized by the Government of Mexico, the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Plan International.
During the meeting, officials from 26 countries participated along with the presence of international experts, companies linked to the identity sector, representatives of civil registries of the Mexican States and technical personnel of civil registries from the region.
During the First Ministerial Meeting and National Authorities of the Americas on the Right to Identity and Universal Birth Registration presided over by Osorio Chong, Secretary of the Interior of Mexico, the «Declaration of Mexico» was adopted, which establishes the need to elaborate a plan of action in 2017 to reach the goal 16.9 of the Sustainable Development Objectives approved by the United Nations which states: «By 2030 access to a legal identity for all, in particular by birth registration.»
From September 27 to September 30, issues related to the right to identity, access to government services, innovation in birth registration, and interoperability between databases were discussed. Current statistics on under-reporting in the region were also presented, the situation of registration and identification at the borders was discussed, and identification and identity management systems were compared.
During the inauguration of the Week of Identity, the undersecretary of Population, Migration and Religious Affairs of the Ministry of the Interior, Humberto Roque Villanueva, pointed out that identity is the key to the exercise of political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights. In the same sense, he pointed out that identity is the main factor of social integration.
The Secretary of the Interior, Osorio Chong, stressed that the approval of the declaration strengthens the Latin American and Caribbean Council of Civil Registry, Identity and Vital Statistics (CLARCIEV), as the regional forum specialized in issues related to the right to the identity. He also indicated that the Government of Mexico remains committed to ensuring that «the right to identity is universal, free and timely, in harmony with the various international treaties to which we are a party.»
Brenda Amarilis, president of the Latin American and Caribbean Council on Civil Registry, Identity and Vital Statistics (CLARCIEV), recalled that the Council provides a space for the exchange of experiences in registration and identification of persons. The mission of CLARCIEV, he explained, is to promote and facilitate the coordination, support and cooperation of government agencies and institutions, the modernization and incorporation of technologies and the compatibility of the interoperability of the Member States.
The Executive Secretary of CLARCIEV and Coordinator of the Program for the Universalization of Civil Identity in the Americas (PUICA) of the OAS, Rebeca Omaña, reported that all international organizations are united by the same objective: to support national authorities so that by 2030 America Latin America and the Caribbean to achieve the goal of universal identity registration.
Meanwhile, the representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Cecilie Modvar, stressed that the right to an identity is non-negotiable while emphasizing the need to target the most vulnerable children and risk of exclusion.
Arturo Muente Specialist of the Inter-American Development Bank stressed that «underreporting will not only be achieved by registering people, institutional reforms are needed to reach the goal.»
Débora Cobar, director of Plan International Guatemala, emphasized that one of the strategies to reduce the under registration of children and the late registration of adults is to ensure the active and meaningful participation of communities, especially the most excluded.
During the meeting, Ecuador was elected president of CLARCIEV for the period 2016-2018 and Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Chile were appointed as Vice-Presidents of the Executive Committee. In the same sense, Argentina was chosen as the site of the 14th CLARCIEV Meeting to be held in 2017.
To access the slides, photos and declaration click here