At Yaoundé Forum: mayors resolve to make birth registration a top priority 0

Local and city council mayors in Cameroon have signed a charter which reflects their desire to take birth registration efforts more seriously in all their respective municipalities. The mayors took the resolve at the end of a recent two-day forum in Yaounde which laid bare all facets of problems hindering civil status registration in the country.

The document signed by the mayors also contains proposals on which some action is required by the government in order to improve birth registration figures in the country.

The Yaounde forum – the first of its kind – brought together all the 374 local and city council mayors, heads of secondary civil status registration centers, civil status registration secretaries, civil society actors involved in citizen action, representatives from government ministries, departments and agencies, as well as those of financial and technical partners supporting the government of Cameroon in civil status registration matters.

Speakers during the forum included Decentralisation and Local Development Minister Georges Elanga Obam, UNICEF country representative for Cameroon Nadine Perault and a UNICEF consultant and CRVS expert, Cornelius Williams. They all stressed the importance of birth registration, saying it is the starting point of a human being’s legal existence. They said they hope the forum will provide the necessary impetus for joint action that will prioritize birth registration and make Cameroon an exemplary country in the domain within the central African sub region.

Some proposals contained in the charter, put together during several workshops that characterized the forum, include the need to extend the legal deadline for birth registration beyond the current 90 days from the date of birth of a child, the need to increase financial resources to councils and for government to simplify birth registration requirements and the entire process itself, among other issues.

At the end of the forum, Perault said: “[I’m] inspired by the commitment of Cameroon mayors at the first birth registration forum. Their dedication to improving birth registration systems will help provide children with a strong foundation for a better future.”

She added: “The mayors’ forum on birth registration in Cameroon marks a significant step towards achieving universal birth registration. Let’s amplify our efforts to ensure that no child is left without a legal identity. We have the power to make 2024 the year of birth registration in Cameroon.”

On the commitment taken by the mayors, Elanga Obam remarked: “You have made strong commitments in the charter you just signed. You will be judged by the results achieved through efforts to reduce the seven million Cameroonians without legal identity. History will judge you.”

Source: biometricupdate