The International Organization for Migration (IOM), hosts the first Regional Legal Identity Conference for the Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – Maputo, Mozambique

20 April 2022 Maputo – The goal of this event, which will be the first of its kind in the SADC region, will be to initiate a regional conversation about the importance of Legal Identity in the context of Global Mobility and Border Management, its challenges and potential for facilitating migration and promoting trade in the SADC Region, while safeguarding the rights of migrants, Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and other citizens.

In the context of increased global mobility, access to proof of Legal Identity is paramount to protect migrants’ rights and to allow safe and regular migration in the interest of migrants as well as communities and countries of origin, transit, and destination.

IOM’s engagement on Legal Identity is built around its four strategic pillars to 1) support the development of solutions for members states to issue birth certificates, Identity Documents (ID), citizenship certificates and travel documents; 2) assist migrants without Legal Identity documents; 3) support national civil registration and identity management systems to facilitate migration and mobility; and 4) provide thought leadership on the nexus between migration, displacement, and Legal Identity, including their impact on the protection of migrants and access to basic services. 

“Mozambique as many other nations across the globe, face challenges related to access to Legal Identity documents by migrants and displaced populations, creating limitations of the full enjoyment of their rights. This Regional conference will lay the foundation for a regional discussion that will set solid steps towards the development of national and regional strategies on Legal Identity, which will facilitate migration and promote trade in the SADC Region, therefore harnessing the full potential of regional migration for development.”, said Dr. Laura Tomm-Bonde, IOM Chief of Mission in Mozambique. 

To develop Legal Identity programmes, IOM drew upon existing expertise and institutional knowledge in identity management to advise member states on the specifications for their national digital identity system infrastructure and the design of specific digitized registration processes, while complying with applicable international norms and principles. 

This event brings together 70 Technical specialists of the 16 SADC countries to jointly reflect on legal identity and its impact on the life of vulnerable populations such as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and migrants. The conference will be the occasion to shine a spotlight on the importance of legal identity in a range of contexts, from security and environmental-driven displacement to global mobility. Legal Identity will not only promote access to basic rights, but it will also increase more safe and controlled mobility and trade in the region, therefore contributing to harnessing the potential of migration for development.
Given the relevance of the event and its significant impact in the region, the event will also be attended by representants of international organizations such as African Union, Interpol, Academic institutions, as well as the Diplomatic Community in Mozambique, the private sector, the World Bank, and other UN (United Nations) Agencies.

The conference aims at increasing the awareness of national authorities about the importance of Legal Identity in the context of regional and global mobility. The event will be the base for a regional discussion to share strategies and practical experiences to strengthen national approaches to legal identity while reinforcing the access to civil documentation to migrants and internally displaced persons.

This global identity gap is acknowledged in the 2030 Agenda which established a specific target within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Target 16.9 – “legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030”. This is further reinforced by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) - Objective 4 - “Ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation”.

The initiative is co-financed by IOM and by the German Federation Foreign Office (GFFO). Through this conference IOM confirms its commitment as a member of the UN Legal Identity Agenda (UNLIA) Task Force. 

The UN Agency for Migration in Mozambique is committed through its partnership with the Government of Mozambique “to leave no one behind” (UN Legal Identity Agenda).

For more information, please contact:   
Manuel Mabuiangue at IOM Mozambique, Tel:  +258 847345420, Email:

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