Asia's more than 135 million undocumented children will be able to access birth certificates after a landmark agreement by regional governments is signed this week.
The breakthrough regional framework for identity documents comes after a long campaign by leading international children organisations including World Vision.
Ministers from more than 40 countries across the region are scheduled to sign off on the framework at this week's Ministerial Conference on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics being held in Bangkok from 24 to 28 November.
The Chief Executive of World Vision Australia Tim Costello said an estimated 250 to 500 million people around the world remain legally invisible due to a lack of documentation.
"Too many people remain unreached by essential government services, including education, health and protection largely due to this. Our vision is for a universal, free, legal identity system to make sure all newborns have legal identity documents," Mr. Costello said.
World Vision is part of a group of leading international children’s organizations advocating for better civil registration services at this week’s conference.
World Vision’s Director of Advocacy and Justice for Children in East Asia, Abid Gulzar, said in order for improved birth registration systems to work, government leaders need to develop relevant and culturally appropriate solutions that address the reasons why families aren’t currently getting identity documents.
“Factors affecting birth registration are diverse and profound, the chief challenges including conflict and instability, prohibitive fees, long travel distances, lack of information, weak government capacity, unsupportive infrastructure, as well as complex and bureaucratic legal systems,” Gulzar explained.
World Vision works in 24 countries in Asia, providing services to more than 1.4 million children through child protection, health, livelihood and education projects.