Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for the opportunity to address the Second Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Asia and the Pacific.
Civil registration and vital statistics are key to improving people’s lives and leaving no one behind.
As enshrined in Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, everyone has the right to be recognized as a person before the law.
A legal identity for all is central to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals and building a safer, more peaceful and resilient world.
Proof of legal identity can unlock access to essential services: education, healthcare, justice, and banking.
It helps governments plan for effective services delivery, and people to exercise their rights to vote, marry and inherit.
Legal identity is essential for a full and dignified life – but around the world, an estimated 1 billion people live without it.
They include a disproportionate number of women, children and vulnerable people -- those in greatest need of targeted services and protection.
The United Nations Legal Identity Agenda promotes a holistic approach from birth to death, linking legal identity and civil registration systems.
This requires investing in safe and innovative technological solutions. It means investing in the capacities needed to ensure everyone is consulted because they matter.
Today’s conference is an important step towards civil registration systems that are universal and inclusive, leaving no one behind.
I wish you successful deliberations.