IOM Calls for Inclusion of People on the Move in Civil Registration, Vital Statistics Systems

Addis Ababa – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) have called for the inclusion of migrant and people on the move in national civil registration as well as in other vital statistics systems. 

IOM called for this at the Experts Group Meeting of the 6th Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CoM6) bringing together (27/10) representatives from African Member States and partners and co-organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

The meeting reviewed progress in developing civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems over the last ten years.

Country experts drawn from Ministries responsible for Civil Registration, Ministries of Health, National Statistical Offices, and National Identity Management offices, and development partners gathered to deliberate and to share innovative practices and strategies for developing CRVS and Identity Management systems and policies that will accelerate improvements over the next eight years. 
Civil registration and vital statistics systems is essential in providing service in facilitating the recognition of legal identity for all persons from birth to death and in providing key data to inform planning, policy, decision-making and good governance. The demand for registration services in the continent however remain weak due to inadequate awareness about the importance of civil registration both for themselves and their families and the implications that this has for improving or accessing core government services.

“Lacking proof of legal identity is particularly concerning for people on the move. People without this essential identifier are more susceptible to risky, irregular migration – often at the hands of human traffickers and criminal smuggling groups,” said Cisse Mariama Mohamed, Director of IOM’s Special Liaison Office in Addis Ababa and Representative to the African Union and UNECA, whilst speaking on IOM’s institutional legal identity strategy.  

For migrants, lack of proof of identity will result in the inability to return, integrate in the host or departure country, reunify with family, get readmitted and reintegrated. 

One of the overarching pledges of the United Nations Agenda 20230 for Sustainable Development – ‘leave no one behind’-depends on counting all people, including along the mobility continuum/migratory routes. 

Countries shared experiences in improving civil registration and vital statistics systems and the inter-linkages between data, statistics, and civil registration systems.  Everyone has the right to be recognized before the law, as enshrined in Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and several international human rights instruments, and legal identity is a prerequisite for enjoyment of basic rights and access to services.

Kirsten Di Martino, Senior Adviser, Child Protection, UNICEF, shared progress on the implementation of the United Nations-wide Legal Identity Agenda (LIA) and the importance of accelerating country-level implementation. Buti Kale, Representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the AU and ECA, stressed the need for legal identity for refugees and marginalized population groups.

Additionally, Abdel Diop, Chief of Mission of IOM Cameroon, shared the experience of implementing the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda for migrants in Cameroon.

Several side events and exhibitions were held on the sidelines of the meeting, with IOM exhibiting the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) - a user-friendly and customizable Border Management Information System (BMIS) being implemented in twenty-four countries around the world.

For more information contact: Eric Mazango,

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals