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Areas of Work: Institutions and integrated and inclusive approaches

UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

The SDGs provide an integrated and multidisciplinary policy framework whose implementation calls for whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches. This entails a paradigm shift in governance that emphasizes and facilitates integrated and inclusive approaches for decision-making and service delivery where governments work across policy sectors and in cooperation and partnership with different parts of society. Institutions and leaders at all levels of government and public administrations need to focus on people, innovation, partnerships and data to support a shift from traditional policy and delivery tools to ones that are more conducive to experimentation and citizens feedback. Delivering on the SDGs will require for most countries the establishment of new, multi-sectoral coordination structures across different ministries, departments, agencies and centers of government that can cover a wider range of topics and find a balance between sometime competing goals. It will also require institutions and public servants to develop new competencies and skills to engage with multiple stakeholders working toward the SDGs and to innovate existing processes to support more integrated and participatory decision-making and service delivery.



UN DESA supports governments in their efforts to promote institutional development and public service delivery for the SDGs.  SDG 16 provides the overarching framework for this work, which aims to foster national institutions, processes and leadership that can support integrated, inclusive and innovative approaches for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  In particular, UN DESA supports countries in developing capacities for transformational leadership, access to information, transparency, accountability, anti-corruption, and participation. It also provides support in the areas of institutional arrangements for policy coherence, innovation for public service delivery and digital government. Such support builds on the 11 principles of effective governance for sustainable development developed by the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) and endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 2018.  The Principles seek to help build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, with a view to achieving the shared vision for the people and the planet embodied in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


UN DESA develops and provide access to a wealth of resources to help countries operationalize effective and responsive governance for the SDGs, from good practices to practical toolkits, e-learning, training courses and other tools that can help strengthen the capacities of public administrations and public servants to manage integrated, inclusive and innovative approaches, including through whole-of-government approaches, accountability and transparency initiatives, multi-stakeholder engagement, and e-government.


HOW – Delivery Modalities and Resources


UN DESA leverages its knowledge resources to deliver support to governments and UNCTs through various modalities, including knowledge sharing platforms, technical advisory services and online and in-person capacity development trainings in selected countries and/or regions on a broad range of governance and public administration issues. Key areas of support include transformational leadership and public servants’ capacities to implement the SDGs; institutional transparency and accountability; whole-of-government approaches and institutional arrangements for policy coherence; inclusive governance and public participation; innovation in public service delivery and e-government.


Key knowledge products and platforms, toolkits, and training material to strengthen institutional capacity for the implementation of the SDGs

Transformational Leadership and Public Servants’ Capacities to Implement the SDGs

  • Competency Framework for Public Servants and Transformational Leadership to build and align the capacity of systems, organizations and individuals with the 2030 Agenda;
  • Global Network of Schools of Public Administration;
  • Transformational Leadership online course; (in progress)
  • Public Servants’ Mindsets to Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development training course. (in progress)

 Transparency and Accountability

Whole of government

Innovation and e-government

  • UN E-government Surveys;
  • E-Government Knowledge Base: a database on Digital Government readiness for 193 member states;
  • UN Public Service Innovation Hub: showcases the United Nations Public Service Awards(UNPSA) Initiatives  and Winners over the years and how they relate to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UNPSA programme was established in 2003 to bolster recognition of the Public Service Day (General Assembly resolution 57/277, 20 December 2002);
  • Executive Development Course: Digital Government for Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies – the Singapore Experience;
  • E-Government to support transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies
  • Measurement and Evaluation Tool for E-Government Readiness;
  • Government Innovation for Social Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups Training Course; (in progress)
  • Government Innovation for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Training Course; (in progress)
  • Innovation and ICT for Public Service Delivery Toolkit Training Course. (in progress)


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