JIS News

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  • Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of Operations at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), Charlton McFarlane, says it is important that civil registration and identity management are viewed within a developmental context.
  • Civil registration includes vital information on the citizens of the country, such as birth, death, marriage and adoption, that is collected and stored.
  • Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on May 3, he cited ‘developmental target 16.9’ under the UN-SDGs, which states that “by 2030, [each country should] provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.”

Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of Operations at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), Charlton McFarlane, says it is important that civil registration and identity management are viewed within a developmental context.

Civil registration includes vital information on the citizens of the country, such as birth, death, marriage and adoption, that is collected and stored.

“At the international level it is placed prominently among the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) 2030,” Mr. McFarlane said, adding that it is aimed at ending poverty, improving health and education, and generally creating a framework for overall sustainable development worldwide.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on May 3, he cited ‘developmental target 16.9’ under the UN-SDGs, which states that “by 2030, [each country should] provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.”

It is within this context that the RGD will stage its inaugural civil registration and identity protection conference themed: ‘Civil registration and identity management, a post development imperative,’ in July this year.

Mr. McFarlane explained that like many of the other sustainable development goals, the achievement of the target “requires a platform of robust, reliable and complete data,” which the RGD is responsible to provide.

He pointed to a Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) study from 1999 to 2000, which revealed inconsistencies among Caribbean Registrars. The conference will seek to address those inconsistencies.

The Deputy CEO explained that the classification of the RGD, which currently falls under the Ministry of Health in Jamaica, is one such issue. He noted that in other countries it comes under the Ministries of Justice,   National Security and Social Planning.

Others areas of focus at the conference will be the difference in methodologies as it relates to data collection, and data capacity.

Mr. McFarlane said Jamaica is at 98 per cent coverage for births, while some Caribbean countries have below 75 per cent coverage. “This significantly affects development planning,” he said.

“From the conference the RGD wants to ensure that the policies that govern civil registration and identity management are congruent right across the region, so that when Caribbean people move throughout the region, they can be guaranteed key things such as identity protection,” he said.

Some 25 English, Spanish, French and Dutch speaking Caribbean countries are expected to attend the conference. It will be held from July 6 to 8 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.