(Freetown, Friday 1st October 2021) – The Director-General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI has received Madam Anette Bayer Forsingdal, a consultant hired by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at the Board room of the Authority’s Headquarters on Walpole Street, Freetown.
IOM is one of the critical partners positioned to support NCRA in the effective implementation of the UN Legal Identity Agenda in Sierra Leone.
Recollecting as noted in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Country Assessment report for Sierra Leone conducted in 2020, the endorsement of the National Civil Registration Act of 2016, has consolidated Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) function in the country under the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) in line with core principles and standards of the United Nations Legal Identity Agenda (UN LIA) initiative.
This report however highlighted challenges which continue to hamper the full integration and smooth functioning of the CRVS system in the country. Challenges posed includes: the lack of interoperability between various component; the need for harmonization of legal, policy, procedural, and operational standards; lack of digitization; limited capacity building and investments; inadequate provision of supplies and limited public awareness.
The proposed project to be implemented jointly by UNDP, UNICEF and IOM in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone aimed to target CRVS system improvement in the country through objectives realized by a set of targeted activities such as- 1) Create an enabling environment for implementing the CRVS reforms and the National Strategic Plan by strengthening government led coordination and mobilization of all investment and stakeholders’ interest towards the established vision and priorities of UNECA Rapid Assessment Recommendation. 2) Policy and strategy development and harmonization remains a distinct need and priority. 3) Increase advocacy and communication efforts to sensitize the public about registering all vital events.
In a clear discussion and responsibility of support, UNICEF will be providing technical assistance to NCRA to effectively coordinate the significant CRVS component of ensuring birth and death registration, including other vital events, by improving synergies and harmonization of efforts within the health sector. IOM will be helping to provide technical assistance to achieve policy strategy Development and Harmonization. This will be done in guidance of a clear Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) for the integration of provisions to reflect the identity needs of all including refugees, returning migrants, Stateless persons and displaced population into the current legal reforms and initiatives. UNDP another critical UN agency will provide technical support to NCRA in order to run an effective secretariat and revitalize the CRVS National Steering Committee and Donor Coordination platform. UNDP will also ensure the smooth implantation of births, deaths and other vital events registration agenda as a vital part of the legal identity Agenda and CRVS systems, including increased partnership with the health sector.
Receiving the Consultant in a familiarization visit at the NCRA headquarters at Walpole Street Freetown, DG MASSAQUOI heartily welcome Madam Anette Bayer Forsingdal for accepting the offer to support the NCRA in developing Standard Operating Procedures that will guide the full implementation of the UN Legal Identity Agenda project in Sierra Leone. He added that the NCRA is currently implementing CRVS and Identity management in an integrated fashion with the aim to enhance efficiency in public administration in Sierra Leone. DG MASSAQUOI further noted that, most countries in Africa especially in the Sub-Sahara countries; civil registration, and vital statistics are fragmented, and that has made the Sierra Leone case unique, as oppose to others.
Providing quick update on the work of NCRA so far, Madam Grace Harman, Director of Legal affairs and external relations who has been the focal person for UN LIA project at NCRA, alluded that, the Authority has been able to do enormous work over the years beginning with the development of a five year strategic plan accompanied by an operational Plan, establishes partnerships and strengthening relationships with critical stakeholders and development partners who are interested in supporting CRVS and ID Management reforms in Sierra Leone. Grace Harman added that the Authority has just concluded an internal legal review covering policies, regulations and bill to support the smooth operationalization for the integration of other legal policy provisions that will guide a well-functioning CRVS and ID Management system in Sierra Leone. She said that the process was fully realized in consultation with critical stakeholders in the country among others, and has actually put the Authority on a take-off position for any particular intervention.
In her response, the Consultant, Madam Anette Bayer said she is delighted to be part of NCRA and that she is ready and willing to provide every support needed in a more open and diligent manner. Sharing her experience, Madam Anette said that CRVS has worked very well in Namibia and among few other countries in Africa. She noted that clear policy strategy to guide the different levels of operation was the key pin behind the recorded successes of the Namibia Government in the implementation of CRVS. She advised that there should be clear path policies directions to guide and enforce efforts that will include all forms of persons in national programmes in order to avoid the occurrence of statelessness.
The Director-General concluded by assuring Madam Anette of Government’s support, noting that there is a strong political will from H.E President Bio in making CRVS and ID Management a success. He noted that this has been demonstrated at the highest levels of platforms. He further maintained that the Consultant will get the best of support from the NCRA.
In attendance were the Director of External Relations and Legal Affairs, Grace Harman, Ag Deputy Director of HR, Roselyn Massaquoi, Abraham Turay, Ag Deputy Director of Administration, the Deputy Director of IEC, Amadu Juana-Kamanda and other Senior Management staff.
©IEC DIRECTORATE, NCRA