Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi, Director-General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) met with Madam Anette Bayer Forsingdal on the 1st October 2021 at the Authority’s Board Room, of the Authority’s Headquarters on Walpole Street in Freetown.

Madam Anette Bayer Forsingdal is a consultant hired by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which is one of the critical partners po-sitioned to support NCRA in the effective implementation of the UN Legal Identity Agenda in Sierra Leone.

Receiving the Consultant, DG Massaquoi heartily expressed appreciation to her for accepting the offer to support the NCRA in developing Standard Operating Procedures that will guide the full implementation of the UN Legal Identity Agenda project in Sierra Leone.

He intimated that the NCRA is currently implementing CRVS and Identity management in an integrated fashion with the aim to enhance efficiency in public administration in Sierra Leone.
The Head of NCRA further noted that, most countries in Africa, especially in the sub-Sahara countries, civil registration and vital statistics are frag-mented, and that has made the Sierra Leone case unique, as opposed to others.

Giving an update on the work of NCRA, Madam Grace Harman, Director of Legal affairs and External Relations, who has been the focal person for UN LIA project at NCRA, highlighted that, the Authority has been able to do enormous work over the years beginning with the development of a five year strategic plan accompanied by an Operational Plan, established part-nerships and strengthening relationships with critical stakeholders and de-velopment partners who are interested in supporting CRVS and ID Management reforms in Sierra Leone.

Grace Harman added that the Authority has just concluded an internal legal review covering policies, regulations and bill to support the smooth operationalization for the integration of other legal policy provisions that will guide a well-functioning CRVS and ID Management system in Sierra Leone.

She said that the process was fully realized in consultation with critical stakeholders in the country among others, and has actually put the Authori-ty on a take off position for any particular intervention.

In her Statement, the Consultant, Madam Anette Bayer said she is delighted to be part of NCRA and that she is ready and willing to provide every support needed in a more open and diligent manner.

Sharing her experience, Madam Anette said that CRVS has worked very well in Namibia and among few other countries in Africa. She noted that clear policy strategy to guide the different levels of operation was the key pin behind the recorded successes of the Namibia Government in the im-plementation of CRVS.

She advised that there should be clear path policies direction to guide and enforce efforts that will include all forms of persons in national pro-grammes in order to avoid the occurrence of statelessness.

The Director-General concluded by assuring Madam Anette of Govern-ment’s support, nothing that there is a strong political will from H.E Presi-dent Bio in making CRVS and ID Management a success. He noted that this has been demonstrated at the highest levels of platforms. He further maintained that the Consultant will get the best of support from the NCRA.

In attendance were the Ag Deputy Director of HR, Roselyn Massaquoi, Abraham Turay, Ag Deputy Director of Administration, the Deputy Direc-tor of IEC, Amadu Juana-Kamanda and other Senior Management staff.

It must be noted that IOM is one of the donor partners which have been supportive of NCRA’s efforts in implementing the UN Legal Identity Agenda in Sierra Leone.

As noted in the 2020 Country Assessment Report for Sierra Leone, which was conducted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the endorsement of the National Civil Registration Act of 2016, has consolidated Civil and Vital Statistics (CRVS) functions under NCRA in line with core principles and standards of the United Nations Legal Identity (UN LIA) Initiative.

This informed the selection of Sierra Leone in early 2020 among nine countries to benefit from the United Nations Legal Identity that is jointly managed by the Government of Sierra Leone through the National Civil Registration Authority and the UN Agencies of UNDP, UNICEF and IOM respectively

The report however highlighted the lack of interoperability between various components; the need for harmonization of legal, policy, procedural, and operational standards; lack of digitalization; limited investments; in-adequate provision of supplies among others as challenges that are imped-ing the full integration and smooth functioning of the CRVS system in Sierra Leone.

The jointly proposed project to be implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and IOM in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone aims to target CRVS system improvement in Sierra Leone, through the objectives and targeted activities set.

UNICEF is to provide technical assistance to NCRA to effectively coordi-nate the significant CRVS component of ensuring Birth and Death regis-tration and other vital events.

The IOM will be helping to provide technical assistance to achieve policy strategy development and harmonization. This will be done in guidance of a defined Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) for the integration of provision to reflect the identity need of all.

The UNDP, another critical UN agency, will provide technical support to NCRA in order to run an effective Secretariat and revitalize the CRVS National Steering Committee and Donor Coordination Platform. UNDP will also ensure the smooth implementation of births, deaths and other vital events registration agenda as a vital part of the legal Identity Agenda and CRVS systems, including increased partnership with the health sector.