Identity World - Individual Recognition for Global Development | Sept. 25-27, 2017 – Marseille, France


Humanitarian, security, development, legal – IDENTITY WORLD is the new forum on how trusted technologies address the state of the individual identity and its contribution to global progress.
Complementing World e-ID and Cybersecurity conference till now – in its 13th year and held annually in Marseille – both the intensity of discussion and diversity of subject matter has lent itself to become a separate space in the realm of public discourse.
From policy to popular culture, from philosophy to material prosperity and from individual freedom to state regulation, questions of identity are increasingly encountered in every context and in every corner of the globe.
IDENTITY WORLD has set out to address them through the collective lens of our cultures, experiences, understanding and resources. What trajectory we collectively assume today will shape billions of lives in the coming decades, especially those that will need it most, and who in turn can contribute more meaningfully to everything that our shared planet can be.
Released on January 25, 2016 the Identification for Development – Strategic Framework by the ID4D program of the World Bank Group, is already one of the most comprehensive and coherent documents for a long-term strategy to address on this topic, and it provides vital insights like those given below.
Every fifth person on the planet is excluded
An estimated 1.5 billion people, mainly in Africa and Asia do not have a recognized document, issued by the state, as a proof of identity and this adversely affects:
  • Inclusion in society and access to essential services,
  • Effective and efficient administration of public services,
  • More accurate measure of development progress, as well as
  • Health care, education, electoral rights, financial services and social safety net programs.
Civil registration practices that are the basis for identity, are yet to be uniformly implemented in many parts of the world, severely affecting progress and thus the lives of every fifth person on the planet.
This is now articulated as part of the post-2015 development agenda of the United Nations in the form of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially target 16.9 – legal identity for all including birth registration by 2030, among others.
Inclusion, equality, access and safety
It is vital for the opportunities arising out of this global challenge to be effectively addressed by the advances in identification technology that encompass the biographic and biometric, digital and eDocument, storage and processing capacities, as well as multiple communication channels that could enable, most critically:
  • Financial inclusion – access to banking for the poor,
  • Gender equality – Women (and therefore children) often suffer more due to cultural and legal asymmetries,
  • Access to health services – Maternal and child health, immunization, HIV/AIDS and TB among others,
  • Social Safety Net – every ninth person on the planet lives in extreme poverty and has no access to social security, and
  • Improved Governance – making government institutions more accountable and transparent and ensuring democratic participation, among others.
Politics, technology, practice and perceptions
With the opportunities also come the challenges and risks and these include:
  • Political & economic – privacy and social exclusion
  • Technology – complexity, vendor lock-in, cyber security and obsolescence
  • Implementation – lack of political leadership and silo-approach
  • Perception – populism and generational appeal, state versus alternate players
Key Principles
In order to achieve such a broad spectrum of goals, the Strategic Framework Document emphasizes that the following principles must be pursued:
  • Universal coverage and non-discriminatory issuance of nation-wide identity number and documentation
  • Free birth registration and certificate keeping in mind national laws and international conventions
  • Affordability of identification and authentication processes and enabled services
  • Interoperability between civil registration and ID systems to avoid waste and duplication
  • Technology / vendor neutrality
  • Sustainability of investment through adequate business models
  • Robust legal and regulatory enabling environment
  • Transparency and openness
To further the critical development agenda, these principles are to be continuously discussed among country governments, private sector, standards bodies and development agencies and refined further, if required.
Key Enablers
The document also states that the continued operation and sustainability of ID programs depend on the establishment and existence of the following key enablers:

  • Good governance and institutional capacity
  • Legal and regulatory frameworks
  • Technology standards and interoperability frameworks
  • Public-private partnerships (PPP)
This, in outline is what needs to be achieved, to cover 1.5 billion individuals in numerous countries around the globe, by bringing together a wide range of ideas, policies, resources and initiatives, by 2030.
Reaching the last person
This is not all, and as the document itself states that these ideas and objectives will continuously evolve – through discussion and debate, through evolution and disruption and via means available with the state as well as private initiative.
IDENTITY WORLD will endeavor every year, to provide the clear skies and shining stars, to help us navigate to that last person who can finally have a rightful and significant place on this planet – with a legal identity and registered birth.