UNHCR Issues Call for Interoperability Coordinator

Biometrics News - UNHCR Issues Call for Interoperability Coordinator

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has put out a call for an Interoperability Coordinator. The Coordinator will work at the organization’s headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, and will be asked to implement an Interoperability Program that will make the UNHCR’s Population Registration and Identity Management EcoSystem (PRIMES) more compatible with the technology infrastructure in partner countries.

The position is being created to help facilitate a protection and inclusion program that will leverage registration and identity management technology. The program is being introduced in eight partner countries – including Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Sudan, and Uganda – and is being funded through a partnership between the UNHCR and the International Finance Corporation, the International Labour Organization, The UN Children Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank Group.

The new Coordinator will ensure that all of those organizations’ various systems work well with one another. They will also establish a framework for the secure transfer of information, including the personal and biometric information of refugees. The UNHCR has already collected more than 7.2 million biometric records, and will continue to do so with the incoming program. 

According to the UNHCR, biometric registration is essential to its refugee plans because it allows for better inclusion and the more efficient distribution of resources. The organization has previously indicated that PRIMES will be an integral component of those plans.

The UNHCR has already registered the biometric information of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, and is using iris recognition to register refugees in Syria. However, privacy advocates have expressed concerns about the organization’s data sharing agreements with agencies like the US Department of Homeland Security.

The Interoperability Coordinator will work in the UNHCR’s Identity Management and Registration Section, which is itself a part of the Data and Identity Management Service (DIMS). DIMS put out a similar call for Digital Identity Consultants earlier this year.

November 15, 2019 – by Eric Weiss