Legal identity: IOM attends the first national forum of mayors on birth registration

Forum participants interested in IOM activities on legal identity

Forum participants show interest in IOM activities on legal identity. Photo: IOM Cameroon 2024 

Yaoundé – On May 14, 2024, Mr. George Elanga Obam, Minister of Decentralization and Local Development, chaired the National Forum of Mayors of Cameroon held at the Palais des Congrès in Yaoundé on April 26 and 27 2024.

The event brought together senior civil registrars from Cameroon's 360 municipalities and 14 urban communities, secondary civil registrars from the country's 2,900 secondary civil registry centers, institutional stakeholders and technical and financial partners, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This was an opportunity for participants to discuss public policies for facilitating and popularizing birth registration, with the aim of addressing the thorny issue of universal birth registration in Cameroon.

The various participants expressed a keen interest in the digitization of the registration process, one of the aims of which is to enhance the security and efficiency with which these documents are issued. In this way, anyone who has been forced to travel will be able to retrace their steps with easy access to the digital system. Among those most affected by the lack of civil status documents are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and victims of cross-border trafficking. When they migrate, they are often forced to abandon everything, including their civil status documents, if these are not simply lost.

For Mr. George Elanga Obam, “The organization of this first Forum comes at just the right time to enable all the stakeholders to work on the related issues [in order to] give renewed vitality to the registration of births in the civil status centers of their respective territorial jurisdictions”. This renewed vitality will help to reduce inequalities and restore the dignity of “Nearly 7 million Cameroonians without a birth certificate”.

To help reduce the number of people without birth certificates in Cameroon, IOM has supported the National Civil Status Registration Office agencies in the municipalities of the Center, East and Littoral regions in the reconstitution of 1,146 birth certificates for IDPs. This demonstrates the Organization’s willingness to support the Government of Cameroon in its objective to “Ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation”, as stipulated in objective 4 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, as well as target 16.9 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to “Provide legal identity for all including free birth registrations” by 2030.

At the end of this event, the foundations were laid for strengthening interoperability and intersectorality between civil status services and sectoral services, with the support of technical and financial partners.


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