White Paper

Toward an Accessible Society for All ~Identity for all children and their brighter future~ LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND:INCLUSIVITY THROUGH DIGITALIZATION VOLUME 1

Volume 1
Toward an Accessible Society for all -Identity for all children and their brighter future-

The United Nations (UN) has expressed its aims to “provide legal identity to all, including birth registration” by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), target 16.9. A significant motivator for achieving this goal is reducing the mortality rate of children under the age of 5, which is a target of SDG 3: “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Vaccine-preventable diseases, along with malnutrition, are among the major dangers plaguing young children in underdeveloped countries, where newborns are vulnerable because they are at their most crucial developmental stage. 

Since June 2019, NEC, together with Simprints Technology Ltd, a UK-based non-profit social enterprise that built fingerprint scanners which work in harsh environments, has been working with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, on initiatives to promote vaccine immunization through scalable child fingerprint recognition. Implementing this plan with conventional extraction and matching engines is challenging, as young children’s fingerprints blur because of their softness. NEC’s fingerprint authentication engine, optimized for children aged 1 to 5, has achieved high-accuracy authentication to overcome these challenges. Combining the fingerprint images with vital information, such as name, age, and gender, makes it possible to verify children’s identities without identification documents (IDs) through fingerprint authentication. 

NEC aims to expand the target coverage of biometric solutions to children and even newborns. Through testing trials, the company’s research efforts have demonstrated that its technology can identify newborns using their fingerprints 2 hours after birth. 

The goal is to realize a society where every individual, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic background, is properly represented by their unique, convenient, and accessible digital identity. Through this increased inclusiveness, unrepresented communities will have more opportunities to access the essential public services they need to live safely and healthily throughout their entire lifetimes. This will, in turn, strengthen and cultivate human capital, especially in developing countries, so that people can achieve their potential more quickly. 

This white paper will examine the challenges tied to identification and how to leverage biometric technologies to get governments and aid organizations a step closer to the goal of advancing global welfare.