State Registry in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan began its hard years of independence with the lack of accurate and easily accessible database on population, normally required for informed decision-making in various areas, such as the social protection of population, conduct of elections, and so on. Information on population was often scattered between the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice and other government agencies. There was no central register of population, all processes were performed manually, and all equipment required immediate modernization. This critical issue was raised by the President in 2004 and called for the “Establishment of the State Register of the Population of Azerbaijan.”
- • Conceptual plan for establishment of the State Register of Population (SRP) was prepared;
- • Training courses were conducted for experts to be involved in the work of the SRP Service;
- • Data from 15,000,000 civil status acts were transferred into electronic format. Computer networks and other equipment were installed in key departments of the Ministry of Justice, connecting these working stations to the network of Electronic Information Bank of Civil Status Acts;
- • “State Register of Population” Automated Registration Information System was launched and subsequently installed in various sites.
In 2006 UNDP and the Ministry of Justice began their collaboration to modernize the Ministry’s operations in line with internationally accepted registration and ICT standards. The project aimed to establish a centralized civil registry to provide collection, update and reliable protection of demographic information on settlement, composition and migration of population, as well as to prevent illegal use of such information.
Within the project framework, the State Register of Population of Azerbaijan Republic was established, containing critical information on citizens, people without citizenship and foreigners living in the country. The State Register is intended to serve as a unified information resource consolidating all state information systems in one network. Such consolidation leads to the improved information access both for citizens and the government, contributes to efficiency of the public sector, increases transparency of state records, and contributes to the ongoing e-Governance reforms in Azerbaijan.
While the functioning of the State Register of Population is a case of excellence that can be easily summarized, it was a daunting assignment to complete. During the project life-cycle, among other milestones, conceptual plan on establishment of the civil registry was developed; Civil Status Acts Automated Registration Information System was introduced; about 90 regional registration offices were equipped with modern computer networks; over 15 million paper-based civil status acts were transferred into electronic format and codified in a database; and a modern archive system for civil status acts was created in compliance with international standards. Also, a fibre-optic communication channel between the Ministry of Justice and its divisions and the Ministry of Interior was created to ensure systematic and continuous real time information exchange, with a backup server.
Today the State Register of Population is considered to be the essential governance instrument facilitating the inter-agency coordination within the Government of Azerbaijan. It represents the integration of all databases operated by the public authorities. It also drastically reduces the time and steps for procedural processing of citizens’ inquiries for status acts – if previously a citizen would need weeks to obtain official certificates of status, prone to human-made errors, now the verification procedures are done automatically within minutes, or hours at most.
Affirming that the well executed ICT can yield significant effects in the field of governance and that ICT based systems and processes demonstrate the increased quality and quantity of services available to the public, this joint collaboration was concluded as another case of excellence that Azerbaijan can share with other countries: as the result of completed works, an important database was established, on par with international standards, to provide exceptional e-services to the public.