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IDB, UNICEF and the OAS create an alliance to promote citizen registration in Latin America and the Caribbean

Bogotá, Colombia —The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Organization of American States (OAS) today signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in raising awareness of the importance of the rightfully documented citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean and disseminating good practices.

IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza signed the memorandum during an event held at the Casa de Nariño, which was also atended by the Colombian first lady, Lina Moreno de Uribe.

The new alliance seeks to promote the registration of birth certificates as a vehicle to combat the economic, political and social exclusion of undocumented citizens, which is a major objective of the IDB’s Building Opportunity for the Majority initiative.

The IDB launched its Building Opportunity for the Majority initiative in early June to create economic opportunities for the majority of the population in the region and to accelerate their access to goods and services. One of the initiative’s six priorities is to promote citizen registration of all persons in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We must make strategic alliances and join forces to promote the identities of all people, but first of all our children, said IDB President Moreno, during the signing ceremony of the memorandum of understanding. “For this purpose UNICEF, the OAS and the IDB are meeting here today with this common goal.”

In most cases, some form of personal identification is required for participation in programs of social security, public employment, participation in democratic processes, contracting for public services, property ownership, in short, all benefits that that depend on the existence of the State, declared Moreno.

“Whoever is not registered does not exist, and this increases that person’s vulnerability,” continued Moreno. “A person’s rights as a citizen, a worker, an individual are, in these circumstances, easily violated,” he said.

UNICEF Executive Director Veneman said that her organization, as world leader in the area of childhood welfare, thoroughly understands the need for children to have an identity, a name and a nationality.

“Without an identity, children are in danger,” said Veneman. “They are vulnerable to illegal adoptions, trafficking in people, and for forced military service. Without a birth registry, children can be forced into illegal marriages between minors.”

Latin America and the Caribbean have an identity registration rate of 82 percent, the highest among developing regions. Nevertheless, this figure obscures great disparities between and within countries. For example, while Cuba and Chile nearly have a complete registration, Haiti, with only 70 percent coverage, is very far from meeting this goal, according to UNICEF figures.

OAS Secretary General Insulza said that the IDB, OAS and UNICEF alliance opens the way for facilitating the participation of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean in educational, political, economic and social development and growth.

He added that the creation of this new alliance will make a major contribution to transparency and institutional consolidation of the Latin American and Caribbean societies.

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