Highlights Vol 23, No. 06 - June 2019

Celebrating the world’s public servants

As countries ramp up their efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN DESA highlights the central role of public institutions in delivering the promise of the 2030 Agenda. The annual United Nations Public Service Forum and Awards, held on the UN Public Service Day, 23 June, celebrate the men and women who act as the backbone of institutions and the brainpower that enables the day-to-day delivery of public services.

The Forum offers an opportunity for public servants from different countries to come together to share challenges and strategies on how to better deliver public services. It provides a platform for the exchange of experiences on how to innovate in the public sector to advance the 2030 Agenda.

“Promoting responsive, effective and accountable institutions lies at the heart of the work of the United Nations and sits at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General and Head of UN DESA. “Transparent and accountable institutions, free from corruption, ensure that public service delivery is both accessible and equitable so that no one is left behind.”

The 2019 UN Public Service Forum will be held from 24 to 26 June in Baku, Azerbaijan, under the theme “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through Effective Delivery of Services, Innovative Transformation and Accountable Institutions.”

The Forum will focus on developing effective and accountable public institutions that empower public servants to better serve their constituents and leave no one behind.  The Forum aims to equip public servants from all levels of government with the skills and mindsets needed to provide effective and responsive services, as well as to meet the SDGs.

The Forum will include capacity building workshops with sub-themes, such as linking government performance with the power of disruptive technologies, digital transformation for the SDGs, promoting more gender responsive public service and enhancing social inclusion of vulnerable groups (see full programme here).

The Forum will also host a plenary panel on SDG 16 with a focus on accountable and effective institutions, providing a strong link to the 2019 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) which is set to review SDG 16 in July.

The Forum will also feature the UN Public Service Awards ceremony. The Awards, accorded by UN DESA, recognize the exceptional public servants from across the globe who deliver strong, inclusive and effective institutions and services.

For more information:

UN Public Service Forum

UN Public Service Awards


More than 400 submissions listed in new SDG good practices database to inspire action for the goals

What are the inspiring breakthroughs and success stories that illustrate SDG implementation? What are the good practices that can be replicated and scaled up? What are the gaps and constraints and how should we address them? Looking ahead, what steps should we take to accelerate progress? To help answer these and other questions, UN DESA circulated a call for submissions of SDG-related good practices or success stories from Member States, the UN system and stakeholders – and received more than 600 suggestions!

After a vetting from an interagency panel of experts, the first batch of good practices have been released on a searchable online database, featuring more than 400 submissions. More SDG good practices will be made available as the review is finalized. The intention is to periodically issue a Call for Submissions of good practices, so if your organization missed this round, there will be another opportunity in the future.

To search the submissions including by sorting them by individual SDGs, click here and select the “SDG Good Practices” checkbox under the “Action Network & Databases” section in the left column. There is also a search bar for searching by country name or organization name.

Some of the vetted good practices from this initial, global Call for Submissions that could be replicated or scaled up include:

  • Brazil: The Sustainable Cities Program in Brazil is an open data portal that aims to create awareness, mobilize and commit public and local governments to the construction of fair and sustainable cities through a systemic approach that integrates all areas of public administration—health, education, social assistance, housing and mobility.
  • South Sudan: Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF) promotes the Community-based Animal Health Workers model as a cost-efficient and locally available option to offer access to quality animal health services to pastoralists in South Sudan, where more than half of the population is dependent on livestock for survival. VSF trains members of hard-to-reach and at-risk communities in good husbandry practices and basic animal health care.
  • Vietnam: HelpAge International and local partners have developed and tested a development model of Inter-generational Self Help Clubs to establish and strengthen the capacity of inclusive, sustainable and affordable civil society organisations throughout Vietnam to engage effectively with local community groups and authorities to promote greater inclusion of vulnerable groups—older persons, women, persons with disabilities—in service delivery and social development.

More examples of good practice projects and initiatives being done to implement the SDGs around the world will be highlighted by UN DESA each week through the SDG Summit in September to inspire others to take action.

Photo credit: UNDP Brazil

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