Dakar, Senegal, 20 June 2018 (ECA) - A high-level mission comprising representatives from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), led by the Director of the ECA Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, Mr. Dimitri Sanga, visited Dakar, Senegal from June 18 to 21. The mission, organized on the initiative of the Senegalese Government, was carried out by the Regional Group of Partners who support the implementation of the Africa Program on Accelerated Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (APAI-CRVS). It had as objective to provide technical and financial support from these partners (whose Secretariats are being run by the ECA), towards the drafting of a strategic plan to improve the civil status registry in Senegal.
During their visit to Dakar, members of the Mission had fruitful discussions with the main stakeholders, represented at the highest level, as follows: The Minister of Justice, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Good Governance and Child Protection, Secretaries General of the Ministries of Health and Education, the Director General of Planning and Economic Policy, as well as the Deputy Director General of the National Agency for Statistics and Demography. They also met the Group known as the G50, composed of Senegal's technical and financial partners. In addition, they had special working sessions with the European Union, World Bank and UNICEF’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa. Lastly, the Mission had an information and capacity-building session with members of the National Multi-Sector Technical Group.
The mission was strongly welcomed by authorities, who renewed as priority the need to align Senegal with the best standards and the APAI CRVS Program.
In his closing remarks, the Director of the ECA Sub-Regional Office for West Africa attested of the support by the ECA and other partners to the reform process. He outlined a road map that will provide Senegal, in less than 6 months, with a strategic plan for its civil status registry, and for the country to be aligned on the best standards. Mr Dimitri concluded that “the implementation of a strategic plan based on a comprehensive assessment aligned with the principles of the APAI CRVS Program is an essential requirement for achieving the goal of universal birth registration, developmental goals and the goal of rooting human rights and justice, the third aspiration of the 2063 Agenda of the African Union".
It is worth recalling that Senegal has been making efforts towards improving its civil registry system, with a birth registration rate above 70%. The country has also embarked on efforts to modernize and review its Civil Status legal framework. That notwithstanding, just like in most African Countries, Senegal has setbacks in registering civil status events, with levels below 30% for marriages and deaths. Shortcomings have equally been found at the level of interoperability with the health sector, and, generally speaking, with the other identification systems. Added to these is the non-operationalization of national inter-sectoral frameworks and lapses in coordination between partners.
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