Cameroon: Civil Status Registration - Little Modernisation Steps

Government has embarked on modernising the civil status registration system in the country to facilitate development and meet international norms.

The results of a study on the contribution of regional platforms to the success of the civil status registration system in Cameroon was presented in a workshop in Mfou, near Yaounde on October 15, 2021 presided at by the Director General of the National Civil Status Registration Office (BUNEC), Alexandre Marie Yomo.

The Support Programme for Active Citizenship in Cameroon (PROCIVIS) entrusted the study to a private firm. The study focused on the level of collaboration between different local actors, operational organisation of the platforms, concrete modalities for the putting in place of the platforms, interaction mechanisms between actors, corpus on the type of documents to be used by the platforms, institutional measures for their functioning, following measures and capitalisation of their activities.

The workshop on regional platforms in the civil status registration system was just a tip of the iceberg in the multitude of efforts government has put in place to modernise the system. Government from every indication has the political will to modernise the civil status registry. In the domain of the legal framework, there was Law No. 2011/11 of 6 May 2011 to amend and supplement certain provisions of Ordinance No. 81/2 of 29 June 1981 to organise the civil status and various provisions relating to the status of the natural persons. The law amended some important aspects of the national civil status system, particularly, special civil status registries that have become Secondary Civil Status Registries that are attached to the main civil status registry of the Council of their area of jurisdiction. There was also Decree No. 2013/31 of 13 February 2013 to lay down the organisation and functioning of the National Civil Status Registration Office (BUNEC) whose mission is the supervision, regulation, control and evaluation of the national civil status system. Equally, there has been the adoption of the Strategic Plan for the Rehabilitation of Civil Registration for the period 2018-2022 and the adoption on September 12, 2018 of the Master Plan for the Computerisation of the National Civil Registry System for the period 2019-2023.

With the legal framework in place, government has moved to the practical modernisation phase. In this connection, the Secretary General at the Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development, Ebongue Makolle Fred Rodrigue on September 30, 2021 in Yaounde on behalf of Minister Georges Elanga Obam, launched the second phase of the Support Programme for the Modernisation of the Civil Status Registration System (PAME). The programme targets councils in the implementation of an inclusive and reliable system and the production of population statistics. Before that, BUNEC in August 2020 launched the operation to work with councils to digitise the civil status registry process, whose aim is to facilitate access to information on civil status and equally meet international norms.

The modernisation of the civil status registration system in Cameroon is certainly taking off slowly but surely. Despite support from local and international partners, the process is slowed down by some challenges.

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