A statistical profile of birth registration in Asia and the Pacific


UNICEF/UNI309807// Frank Dejongh


States first acknowledge a child’s existence and identity through birth registration. The right to be recognized as a person before the law is a critical step in ensuring lifelong protection and can facilitate access to all other rights.

A birth certificate is proof of that legal identity and is the basis on which children can establish a nationality, avoid the risk of statelessness and seek protection from violence and exploitation.

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 placed birth registration firmly on the international development agenda. They include a dedicated target (16.9) under Goal 16 – namely, to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030. Complementing this is target 17.9, which calls for support in building the statistical capacity needed for strong national civil registration systems. Such systems produce vital statistics, which are foundational for achieving sustained human and economic development.

In accordance with the SDGs, UNICEF seeks to fulfil the promise of universal birth registration, ensuring legal identity for every child by 2030.