On 19 November, the International Commission on Civil Status (ICCS, French Commission Internationale de l’État CiviI - CIEC) successfully organised a well-attended seminar on the ICCS-CIEC Data Exchange Platform and Infrastructure.
ICCS/CIEC is an intergovernmental organisation which aim is to facilitate international co-operation in civil-status matters and to further the exchange of information between civil registrars. It has agreements with the Council of Europe, The Hague Conference, the European Commission and the UNHCR may collaborate with third States and bodies having an interest for civil-status purposes. ICCS/CIEC has drawn up 33 Conventions, many of those providing for an international exchange of civil-status data (between civil registrars or centralised authorities of contracting States, either automatically or on request) or for the issue of civil-status documents to individuals that are all implemented by means of standardised forms, either multilingual or coded, which are accepted, with full legal value, without translation and legalisation (or any equivalent formality) in the territory of each contracting State.
Approximately 120 attendees from different EU Member States, Instructions and the private sector participated in the seminar, which provided insights into the ICCS-CIEC Data Exchange Platform and Infrastructure developed by UBITECH. Duncan Macniven, President of the ICCS/CIEC, opened the seminar and congratulated the contractor on the high-quality of the work delivered, while Chantal Nast, Deputy Secretary General of ICCS/CIEC, explained how the platform serves the purpose and the mission of the organisation.
The audience agreed on the need to promote the cross-border electronic exchange of civil-status data, with standardised applications and documents in order to facilitate cross-border service provision and free movement of citizens, and to prevent fraud.
Walter Pintens, Secretary General of ICCS/CIEC, emphasised that “as long as family law is not harmonised, it is important that civil status documents are recognised and understandable across borders”.
In the digital era enabling the electronic exchange of such documents is a fundamental requirement. ICCS/CIEC has put in place Convention 33 regulating the use of the platform and dealing with the legal value to be attributed to data transmitted electronically and compliance with applicable European data protection requirements (notably through utilisation of electronic signatures).
Salla Saastamoinen, Head of Civil Justice Unit, European Commission, congratulated ICCS/CIEC on this initiative and on the development of Convention 33. She highlighted that the platform can essentially support the free movement in the European Union.
Vassilios Peristeras, ISA Programme, European Commission, underpinned the importance of the ICCS/CIEC platform for cross-border public service provision. He said that the ISA programme will contribute to raising awareness of all ICCS/CIEC XML Schemata and the platform itself among the e-Government units of the Member States, also in other settings beyond civil registrars.
Alexandros Varveris, Technical Project Manager, provided an overview of all challenges and difficulties that have been confronted in the frames of the delivered platform.
Finally, Dimitrios Alexandrou, Panagiotis Gouvas and Pavlos Polydoras of UBITECH, gave a demo and explained to the audience the operation of the platform both from a functional and a technical perspective, highlighting the adaptability and configurability of the platform and the highly secure environment that it offers.