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Just Development Issue 8: Identification Systems Don't Always Serve the Bottom 40%
  Mar 04, 2015

  

Identification Systems Don't Always Serve the Bottom 40%

This article explores the prospects, challenges and risks of pinning inclusive development outcomes on identification and registry systems. Attracted by the promise of new technology, countries (over 150 of whom maintain civil registration systems) and development partners alike have invested heavily in identification systems, in terms of both development dollars and strategy. Much of the current discourse on identification- and registry- related issues is framed from a state-centered perspective; that is, improving the functioning of government agencies and enhancing the collection of data for planning and policy. We suggest complementing this with a stronger focus on the impacts of identification systems on the poorest and most marginalized. In many circumstances, identification systems may not serve the development needs of this constituency; worse yet, in others, they may give effect to patterns of exclusion and discrimination. In light of these considerations, there is a need in developing global and country-specific identification strategies to more clearly and critically articulate the implied benefits, costs and risks of alternative approaches.

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 Why Just Development? Because unjust development will not achieve our core goals.  

The Bank Group's strategic goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity require effective justice institutions to ensure inclusive growth and fairness in distribution, regulation and allocation of resources. New research and practice across the Bank is leading to insights and innovations about how credible justice institutions emerge and how development actors can contribute to them.

Just Development provides a curated series of brief, yet informative and thought provoking, case studies, lessons and essays to share knowledge and stimulate debate on how development practitioners can promote effective justice institutions. Just Development is premised on two key principles:

(1) Justice promotion is not only a matter for the justice sector; mechanisms that govern rights, entitlements and processes of fairness are part and parcel of all development sectors. Our challenge is to break the silos that separate those concerned with 'justice' from those concerned with how markets are regulated, budgets are made to allocate public wealth and services are delivered - across development sectors.

(2) Just development means more than technical solutions. A science of delivery approach to justice requires deep contextual understanding and a flexible and adaptive process to implementation.


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