World Fit for Children target: Develop systems to ensure the registration of every child at or shortly after birth [...]
Around 51 million children born in 2006 have not had their births registered. Forty-four per cent of these children live in South Asia.
One in three developing countries has birth registration rates of less than 50 per cent. Two out of three African children under age five are not registered. In some countries of sub-Saharan Africa, registration levels have actually declined during the past five years. Cost and distance to the registration centre are the reasons most frequently cited by parents for not registering their children.
A name and a nationality are human rights. Children whose births are unregistered may not be able to claim the services and protections due to them on a full and equal basis with other children. Birth registration is crucial in the implementation of national policies and legislation establishing minimum ages for work, conscription and marriage. During emergencies, birth registration provides a basis for tracing separated and unaccompanied children.
Ensuring that birth registration systems are in place, simplifying procedures, removing fees, making registry offices more accessible and creating effective information campaigns to reach all sectors of society are vital if registration rates are to improve.
MORE THAN ONE OUT OF THREE CHILDREN UNDER FIVE IN THE WORLD AND TWO OUT OF THREE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA ARE NOT REGISTERED
Percentage of children under five who are not registered, by region (1987–2006)
AROUND 51 MILLION CHILDREN BORN IN 2006 HAVE NOT BEEN REGISTERED
Number of annual births not registered, by region (2006)
CAMBODIA, GAMBIA AND VIET NAM SHOW SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN INCREASING REGISTRATION LEVELS
Percentage of children under five registered in 2000 and 2005–2006, in nine countries where comparable trend data are available
Source for figures on this page: UNICEF global databases, 2007, based on MICS, DHS, other national surveys and civil registration system data, 1987–2006.