LAHORE, July 27 (APP):Local Government & Community Development Department (LG&CDD) Punjab in collaboration with UNICEF and a private telecommunication company (Telenor Pakistan), launched a digital Birth Registration (DBR) Cell situated at the Local Government Complex, Lahore, here today. The event celebrated a dynamic partnership established for the purpose of achieving universal birth registration for children in Punjab, whereby Special Secretary Local Government & Community Development Shahid Nasir Raja and Ms. Angela Kearney, UNICEF Country Representative for Pakistan, formally launched the highly equipped DBR Cell hosting live data flows of birth registration applications for children in Pakpattan and Bahawalpur districts. Under the project, enhanced access for children to the birth registration service in target districts will be facilitated, primarily through leveraging the use of digital mobile phone technology. Initially, the intervention will be implemented in Pakpattan and Bahawalpur districts in 2017 and in 2018 will be replicated in 8 additional districts identified by the Government of Punjab as demonstrating the lowest birth registration rates for children in the province.
In their messages from China Mr. Mansha Ullah Butt, Minister LG&CD and Mr. Muhammad Aslam, Secretary LG&CD Department thanked the UNICEF for launch of this IT based birth registration system and hoped that with the assistance of UNICEF, the LG&CD will be able to introduce the technology in whole of Punjab. The department will also be able to make visible increase in birth registration ratio in the Punjab and meet SDG goals by the year 2030.
Speaking on this occasion, Angela Kearney said the right of the child to birth registration is a fundamental right, and a birth registration certificate is regarded by UNICEF as a passport to protection for all children across the globe. We congratulate the government of Punjab for prioritizing the registration of children’s births across the province as a development priority, particularly for those left behind and excluded, he added. Telenor’s technical contribution is also acknowledged in support of ensuring effective, efficient and transparent birth registration service delivery at the sub-national level. With Punjab having the highest birth registration rate for children under-5 in Pakistan. Currently standing at 77 percent, the goal of achieving universal birth registration of all children in the province by 2024 is very much attainable. Special Secretary LG&CD Shahid Nasir Raja thanked UNICEF for its technical support to the Department. He shared the government of Punjab is committed to support the achievement of universal birth registration for children aged 17 years and under in target districts of the province before the end of 2024, which obligation is enshrined under the convention on the rights of the Child Digitalization is one of the top most priorities of our Government for the enhanced provision of accessible and efficient services to its citizens, he said.
The Director General LG&CD Mehmood Javed Bhatti congratulated the entire team for actualizing concrete steps for enhanced access by children to the birth registration system in punjab, as well as effecting improved service delivery standards for children and their families in a transparent and accountable manner. He hoped that this association between LG&CD and UNICEF will continue in future as well. Telenor briefed the media on technical aspects of the DBR system, including information regarding the use of innovative technology in Pakistan for a strengthened protective environment for children.