ID4D Tools and Research by Topic

This Guide draws heavily from the following publications and other resources produced by the ID4D Initiative.

Measuring the global ID Gap

To understand the scale of the identification challenge, ID4D has undertaken two major data collection efforts to attempt to triangulate the number of people around the world who do not yet have official proof of identity:

  • Global ID4D Dataset: Using a combination of self-reported figures from country authorities, birth registration rates, and proxy indicators (e.g., voter registration), the 2018 Global ID4D Dataset estimates that approximately 1 billion people lack official proof of identity. For the third annual update, over 40 country authorities provided direct data on the coverage of their foundational ID systems. See to explore the data and estimate. Note, however, that this dataset is intended to produce a global estimate but does not provide precise trends or country-level estimates. As such, some country-level figures are less reliable than others.

  • Global Findex Survey: ID4D partnered with the World Bank’s Global Findex team to gather data on national ID coverage, use, and barriers to obtaining proof of identity. The ID4D-Findex survey covers 99 countries representing over 70 percent of the world’s population. The survey was carried out over the 2017 calendar year, as part of the Gallup World Poll. Approximately 1000 people were surveyed in each country using randomly-selected, nationally representative samples of the non-institutionalized population aged 15 and above. The “Global ID Coverage by the Numbers: Insights from the ID4D-Findex Survey” note synthesizing high-level results, as well as the dataset itself, can be downloaded at

Planning & Design

The ID4D Initiative has produced a number of resources that provide practitioners with expert guidance on the design of ID systems and tools to use during the planning process. This includes:

  • Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development: The Principles offer a framework for the realization of inclusive and trusted digital identification systems that maximize the benefits of ID systems for sustainable development while mitigating many of the risks. They were developed through a series of in 2017 and have now been endorsed by 25 international organizations, development partners, NGOs, and private sector associations. The Principles are available in English, French, and Spanish and can be downloaded at

  • ID4D Diagnostic: World Bank country and regional engagement on ID systems frequently begins with a diagnostic exercise to assess existing and planned ID systems. The ID4D Diagnostic methodology—which replaced the previous Identity Management System Analysis or IMSA—was developed in collaboration with governments and development partners and provides a holistic approach to a country’s identity ecosystem, including institutions, technology, laws, policies, and practices related to identification. It is guided by the ten Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development. See for the latest version of the Guidelines (current version released in 2018).

  • ID Enabling Environment Assessment (IDEEA): The World Bank’s IDEEA tool—released in 2018—is a due diligence questionnaire intended to facilitate a systematic assessment of a country’s existing ID systems alongside an examination of its enabling laws and regulations, and institutions. To ensure that the legal and regulatory review is carried out in context, the IDEEA includes a range of questions about the purpose, design, usage, institutions and cultural context surrounding a country’s national ID and civil registration systems. It is designed to generate a country profile that can be used to identify areas where administrative and legal frameworks might be strengthened to support the development of digital ID (

  • Technical Standards Catalog: “The Catalog of Technical Standards for Digital Identification System” (2018) serves as a reference for practitioners considering which technical standards to adopt during the implementation of an ID system or project. The catalog includes a decision tree and tables that summarize currently available standards provide guidance in cases of competing standards (

  • Costing Study and Model: Based on a survey of 15 countries, this 2018 costing study analyzes the key country characteristics and program design choices that have a significant impact on the cost of ID system. The accompanying Excel model allows practitioners to estimate the cost of a planned ID system by varying key characteristics, design choices, and assumptions (

  • Public Sector Savings Report: “Public Sector Savings and Revenue from Identification Systems: Opportunities and Constraints” (2018) aggregates existing evidence from a variety of countries, to build a framework for analyzing the potential fiscal benefits associated with investment in ID systems, including the features, mechanisms, and conditions that may generate (or limit) savings and revenue. It also provides a tool for governments and other stakeholders involved in planning or funding such systems to begin estimating expected fiscal returns on their investments (

  • Private Sector Savings: “Private Sector Economic Impacts from Identification Systems” (2018) This paper applies the framework developed in the public-sector savings paper (above) to the private sector, aggregating evidence on how digital ID systems have helped generate revenue and savings for the private sector through multiple channels (

  • Technology Landscape: “Technology Landscape for Digital Identification” (2018) is a first attempt to develop a comprehensive overview of the current technology landscape for digital ID. It highlights key benefits and challenges associated with each technology, and provides a framework for assessing each technology on multiple criteria, including length of time it has been in use, its ease of integration with legacy and future systems, and its interoperability with other technologies (

  • Privacy by Design: “Privacy by Design: Current Practices in Estonia, India and Austria” (2018) describes the privacy-by-design approach to protecting personal data and synthesizes some of the specific legal, operational, and technical controls for data protection adopted in three countries, including the use of tokenization, personal access portals, random numbers, minimal data collection, and more. (

  • Biometrics Guide (forthcoming): This report will provide an in-depth overview of the use of biometric recognition in digital ID systems. This will include guidance on the proper use of biometrics as defined by international principles and standards; good practices and a checklist for the deployment of biometric ID systems that are fair, accessible, inclusive and secure while respecting privacy; and an overview of commercially available biometric products and solutions, including capture devices, biometric software, and systems for de-duplication.

  • Cybersecurity Note (forthcoming): This Practitioner’s note will highlight important issues and best-practices regarding cybersecurity of ID system, including risk analysis, capacity and skills gap analysis, recommendations, and an action plan to identify the solutions needed to mitigate cybersecurity threats.

  • Disability and ID Guidance Note (forthcoming): This note will provide practical guidance for practitioners on the successful inclusion of persons with disabilities throughout the identity lifecycle, from communications outreach to the collection of biometrics and implementation of verification/authentication services. Lessons and recommendations will be drawn from national consultations with people with disabilities in Nigeria, Guinea, and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as from the available literature around biometric enrollment of people with disabilities for elections.

  • Understanding People's Perspectives on Identification: A Qualitative Research Toolkit: This toolkit serves as a resource for practitioners and World Bank task teams to conduct qualitative end-user research as part of the public consultation process during project planning. It includes a methodological overview, best-practices, and questionnaires, instruments, and other tools from previously conducted end-user research on ID. (

  • ID Enrollment Strategies: Practical Lessons from Around the Globe: This note presents lessons learned from countries’ experiences of undertaking mass registration for their foundational ID systems. It provides guidance for countries embarking on ID programs to determine whether mass registration is the appropriate approach for their context. Case studies from Bolivia, Rwanda, Malawi and Pakistan are included. (

  • Procurement Guide and Checklist for Digital Identification Systems: This Checklist is a user-friendly tool designed to assist practitioners with the procurement process for ID systems. The Checklist addresses common pitfalls that can lead to vendor lock-in or other issues, which can reduce the performance of an ID system and increase costs. (

Role of ID by Sector

In addition to the technical materials described above, a series of ID4D papers conduct an in-depth analysis of the role of identification and authentication in different sectors and issue areas, including:

  • Agriculture: “The Role of Digital Identification in Agriculture: Emerging Applications” (2018) looks at key applications of identification in agriculture to understand how it can help tackle some of the sector’s critical challenges, remove barriers to agricultural productivity, and enhance farmers’ livelihoods, including through (1) increasing the effectiveness and inclusivity of subsidy programs, (2) enabling formal land and asset registration, and (3) improving data about farmers’ economic activity and needs (

  • Child Marriage: “The Role of Identification in Ending Child Marriage: Identification for Development” (2016) examines how efforts to achieve legal identity for all, including birth registration, can contribute to ending child marriage. This includes an analysis of the link between child marriage and birth registration, identity documents, and marriage laws and certification processes, and a discussion of the broader policy and institutional framework reforms needed to eliminate child marriage.

  • Forced Displacement: “Identification in the Context of Forced Displacement” (2016) summarizes the particular identity-related challenges of migrants and refugees who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, both within their country and across borders. This includes the potential for a lack of identity documents to be both a cause and consequence of forced internal and external migration, and the particular identity-related needs of displaced peoples that States and the international community must address. (

  • Financial Services and Inclusion: The “G20 Digital Identity Onboarding” paper (2018) analyzes the role of a trusted digital identification system in financial sector development, particularly the role it plays in furthering the global financial inclusion commitments. It provides insights and recommendation for country-level implementation in line with Principle 7 of the G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion developed by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (

  • Women’s Empowerment: “The Identification for Development (ID4D) Agenda: Its Potential for Empowering Women and Girls” (2015) draws on case studies and national-level data, this paper examines ID systems through the lens of gender inclusion in specific policy areas, including access to financial services, access to social protection schemes, and voting and elections. The evidence suggests that adult women often face gender-specific barriers in obtaining an ID, sometimes related to inability to obtain core documentation such as birth certificates (

  • Health: “The Role of Digital Identification for Healthcare: The Emerging Use Cases” (2018) discusses the potential use of foundational ID systems and credentials for healthcare and presents examples of use cases in Botswana, Estonia, India, Republic of Korea, and Thailand. It highlights key areas where ID systems can be leveraged to improve healthcare outcomes for patients, providers, and government agencies, and in doing so also reinforce the identification system as a whole (

  • Education (forthcoming): This paper will discuss the role of ID systems in helping governments and schools tackle the challenges of getting children into school, keeping attendance high, and delivering a quality education.

  • Digital Economy (forthcoming): This Practitioner’s Note will describe how ID plays a central role in building a digital public platform that can help underpin digital transformation.

Country and Regional Cases

A growing set of ID4D and World Bank materials also provide information and cases studies on existing national-level ID systems across the globe, including: