Asia-Pacific countries push to register all births by 2024

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Small children look on from their rural home in Kampong Speu, Cambodia (file photo) © David Longstreath/IRIN

More than 135 million children under the age of five in Asia and the Pacific have not had their births registered, according to the United Nations.

It means that millions of people in the region are without a legal identity and live and die without leaving an official trace.

People who are unregistered are hidden from policy-makers and unable to exercise many of their legal rights.

Forty countries in the Asia-Pacific region are meeting in Bangkok, Thailand to discuss how to ensure all births and deaths are registered by the year 2024.

Shamshad Akhtar, who addressed the meeting is the Executive Secretary of the UN  Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific,  ESCAP.

“Roughly 135 million children under the age of five in our region, or between one and two thirds of all children in Asia and the Pacific, have not had their births registered. This is unacceptable in the age of digital information and the era of the big data revolution. Compiling basic demographic data to properly profile populations is a primary responsibility of all States, and a critical element of good governance.”

Regional goals for registration coverage and the issuance of legal documentation are expected to be announced at the conclusion of the meeting.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1’34″