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International development organizations recently endorsed a Declaration that identifies a set of common Principles fundamental to maximizing the benefits of identification (ID) systems for sustainable development while mitigating many of the risks.

"We believe that every person has the right to participate fully in their society and economy.  Without proof of identity, people may be denied access to rights and services—they may be unable to open a bank account, attend school, collect benefits such as social security, seek legal protection, or otherwise engage in modern society. No one should face the indignity of exclusion, nor be denied the opportunity to realize their full potential, exercise their rights, or to share in progress. No one should be left behind," read the Declaration signed by more than 15 development organizations, including the Asian Development Bank, World Bank Group and the United Nations.

The Declaration outlined 10 principles according to the following themes:

A. INCLUSION: UNIVERSAL COVERAGE AND ACCESSIBILITY.  ID systems should strive for continuous universal coverage from birth to death, free from discrimination and accessible to all individuals.

1. Ensuring universal coverage for individuals from birth to death, free from discrimination.

2. Removing barriers to access and usage and disparities in the availability of information and technology.


B. DESIGN: ROBUST, SECURE, RESPONSIVE, AND SUSTAINABLE.  While ID systems should respond to user demand and long-term needs, they should collect and use only the information necessary for the system’s explicit purpose. Open standards and vendor neutrality help to ensure  nancial and operational e ciency and sustainability.

3. Establishing a robust—unique,secure,and accurate—identity.

4. Creating a platform that is interoperable and responsive to the needs of various users.

5. Using open standards and ensuring vendor and technology neutrality.

6. Protecting user privacy and control through system design.

7. Planning for financial and operational sustainability without compromising accessibility.


C. GOVERNANCE: BUILDING TRUST BY PROTECTING PRIVACY AND USER RIGHTS.  ID systems must be built on a legal and operational foundation of trust and accountability between government agencies, international organizations, private sector actors and individuals. People must be assured of the privacy and protection of their data, the ability to exercise control and oversight over its use, and processes for independent oversight and the redress of grievances.

8. Safeguarding data privacy, security, and user rights through a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework.

9. Establishing clear institutional mandates and accountability.

10. Enforcing legal and trust frameworks though independent oversight and adjudication of grievances.