Statement by Ms. Pratibha Mehta, UNDP Resident Representative
20th February 2019, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Excellency President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Mr. Emomali Rahmon
Excellencies Ministers and esteemed members of the Government of Tajikistan
National and International Development Partners
Thank you very much Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to make a statement today, I would like to begin by congratulating the organizers for putting civil registration and vital statistics on the agenda of the Investment Form.
Civil Registration and Vital Statistics is universal, continuous, permanent and compulsory recording of occurrence of vital events of poulatuion and is most important source and foundation for establishing legal identity of individuals and the legal relationship between them and the State to ensure protection of Human Rights of all. It is also the foundation for a modern public administration system for evidence-based planning and delivery of basic services such as health and education, cash transfer for social protection, for settling legal claims, especially by women, in family property, inheritance as well as for government to detect fraud and mismanagement in service delivery.
The UN Member States, while deliberating on the global SDGs agenda, recognized the importance of civil registration as a key for planning and tracking progress on Sustainable Development Goals and for ensuring to “leave no one left behind” in development process, therefore, as part of SDG16, they included a standalone target “to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration by 2030”. Moreover, 14 out of 17 SDGs and nearly one-third of SDG indicators requires data from civil registration and vital statistics system to track progress.
Tajikistan’s commitment to institute a well- functioning civil registration system will have multi-plyer benefit for people, modernization of public administration and for tracking progress on National Development Strategy and SDGs.
UNDP in partnership with the Swiss Development Cooperation, is proud to assist in this process and support Ministry of Justice to undertake legislative and institutional reforms in line with international standards and make civil registration services accessible to all, so that every woman, man and child can have legal identity to rightfully benefit from all public services and State benefits.
We are very happy to note that UNDP and SDC collaboration has so far helped government to develop a custom - made software for an electronic registration system as well as to pilot digitization of old vital records in the country; to test a “one window shop” model to deliver all civil registration services from under one roof in Kulyob and has enabled government to revise legislative framework for civil registration system, which includes provision to switch all Civil Registration Offices from manual to electronic system, make birth registration free of cost and ensure improved coordination at all levels. We hope that the Parliament will soon approve the revised legal framework which is fundamental for setting up a fully- functional and modern civil registration system.
The progress made by the government is highly commendable, however, the overall success and long-term sustainability of a fully functional civil registration system will depend on a number of factors, for example:
· While civil registration offices will certainly help people to register, more and easily accessible interaction points, such as in the hospitals, and affordable registration services will be needed to boost registration. Some countries have also introduced mobile registration services to reach people in remote areas.
· Success of electronic registration will depend on reliable internet connectivity throughout the country, investment in high seed connectivity is needed, which can then also help government to introduce many other types of E-governance services.
· Investment in national public awareness campaign is needed to promote civil registration and its benefits for population, and CSOs and media can play a vital role in this regard.
· Civil registration requires cooperation between several Ministries and state entities. Improved coordination between Jamoat administration and ZAGS, responsible for civil registration reporting to Ministry of Justice, as well as better coordination between various Ministries and entities engaged in recording vital information in Tajikistan and abroad will be needed to ensure timely, reliable and harmonized statistics.
· Civil registration of vital events such as birth, death, cause of death, etc.is a continuous process and will not be sustained without national budget allocation and investment in staff capacity building.
In conclusion, Excellency, I would like to once again commend the government for according very high priority to establishing a well – functioning civil registration system in Tajikistan and would like to assure you of UNDP’s continued support in ensuring that every Tajik has a legal identity and they can rightfully access all public services and State benefits.