UNHCR Seeks Help as Biometrics-driven ID Efforts Ramp Up

“The UNHCR has proven to be an enthusiastic proponent of biometric identification in recent years, deploying such technologies in major refugee camps and highlighting its utility in providing displaced individuals with a reliable form of official documentation.”

UNHCR Seeks Help as Biometrics-driven ID Efforts Ramp Up

The United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) is looking for some expert assistance in its efforts to establish digital ID programs for displaced people. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has posted a notice that it is looking to hire one or more ‘Digital Identity Consultants’ to support its Data and Identity Management Service.

In keeping with the UNHCR’s demonstrated interest in using biometric technology to aid and manage refugee populations, the organization is calling for a consultant who can “contribute technical expertise to the development of multiyear projects on digital identity, including biometrics,” in support of the development of its Population Registration and Identity Management Ecosystem, or “PRIMES”. The UNHCR has proven to be an enthusiastic proponent of biometric identification in recent years, deploying such technologies in major refugee camps and highlighting its utility in providing displaced individuals with a reliable form of official documentation.

“Asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees, UNHCR’s persons of concern (POCs) are at heightened risk of not having a legally recognized ID credential and, if they are unable to prove their identity, face additional obstacles to social and financial inclusion alongside other protection risks,” explained the UNHCR in its posting of the position. “Allowing States to use PRIMES tools, developing interoperability between PRIMES and State identity systems and facilitating the inclusion of POCs in States’ foundational identity systems are some of the approaches that can achieve this goal.”

As for the specifics of who the UNHCR is looking for, the United Nations agency lists among its minimum qualifications at least 13 years of relevant work experience or 11 years of experience with a post-graduate degree, including experience in developing Digital Identity projects with a focus on authentication, with experience in humanitarian or development work being preferred.

The agency’s efforts to find such an expert illustrate its growing interest in biometrics-driven digital identity technologies, which appear poised to play an increasingly important role in the United Nations’ efforts to aid refugees going forward.

July 17, 2019 – by Alex Perala