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A birth certificate ensures every child is officially recognised and counted. It’s an essential first step to accessing life-changing services and support.  

In the world today, one in four children under age five, are not registered and therefore do not have a birth certificate. Without a birth certificate, everyday things that many people take for granted become nearly impossible, such as enrolling in school, accessing healthcare or even opening a bank account. 

In recent years, UNICEF has collaborated with governments and communities worldwide to register more than 16 million births and issue birth certificates to over 13 million people. Yet, there is still a lot more work to be done. UNICEF is working to strengthen birth registration systems, raise awareness, and advocate for every child’s right to a legal identity, including here in Australia, where too many children are unregistered around the country.  

Become an ally for birth registration

Hear from the local community in Gunnedah

1 in 4

Worldwide, one in four children under the age of five are not officially registered.

16 m

UNICEF supports millions of birth registrations every year, including 16 million births worldwide in 2018.

Why birth certificates matter

We know that the barriers to obtaining a birth certificate are varied. Some families find that their remote location prevents them from applying at the time of birth. For others, their barriers are the cost, no access to technology or cultural reasons. The consequences of starting life without a birth certificate compounds disadvantage throughout a lifetime, and we're actively working towards solutions. 

Did you know not all Australian children have a birth certificate? 

Here in Australia, some children are growing up without a birth certificate which is critical for Australians to access healthcare, education, sporting programs, government services, official identification, driver's licence, tax file number, bank accounts and employment.  

Births that are not registered in Australia are predominately children living in remote communities, from low socio-economic backgrounds and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. But, if universal birth registration (UBR) can be achieved in other parts of the world, it can be achieved here in Australia. 

"UNICEF has a vision of Australia, where the birth of every child is registered. Most Australians think that everyone in the country has a birth certificate, but that is not the case."

Nicole Breeze
Chief Advocate for Children, UNICEF Australia 
UNICEF Australia teams attended a Pathfinders birth registration roadshow in Gunnedah, in regional NSW.
UNICEF Australia teams attended a Pathfinders birth registration roadshow in Gunnedah, in regional NSW. The program is designed to assist Australian families in registering for a birth certificate.
© UNICEF Australia /2023 / Labade
UNICEF Australia teams attended a Pathfinders birth registration roadshow in Gunnedah, in regional NSW. The program is designed to assist Australian families in registering for a birth certificate.© UNICEF Australia /2023 / Labade

Report

Certify Hope

UNICEF has worked around the world to help governments strengthen their birth registration systems, however, our attention turns now to a country in which few people know birth registration is even an issue – Australia. 

Learn about the current situation in Australia and the case for change. 

UNICEF Australia teams attended a Pathfinders birth registration roadshow in Gunnedah, in regional NSW.© UNICEF Australia /2023 / Labade

Inspired Gifts

Give the gift of a birth certificate

A birth certificate ensures a child is officially recognised and counted. It’s an essential first step to accessing life-changing services and support.

Help us to Certify Hope.

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