Building trust in government in pursuit of the sustainable development goals

South Sudan Referendum-Day 3.

Public administration and good governance are critical in achieving sustainable development. On 20-24 April, the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) will meet in New York for its 14th annual session to discuss the practical measures governments can take in pursuit of the sustainable development goals. 

Good governance, supported by well-functioning public administration, is a cornerstone of sustainable development. Governments across the globe will need to undertake a process of transformative change to create a favorable environment to foster economic growth, social cohesion and environmental protection. This will require, among others, ethical leadership at all levels backed up by effective institutions, strong commitment to integrity, coordination, integration, innovation, as well as shared responsibility and accountability.

Good governance catalyst for sustainable development

“This Committee has the opportunity to contribute substantively to the thinking on the role of governance and public administration in sustainable development,” said UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Mr. Wu Hongbo, as he addressed last year’s session. “Government leaders have affirmed that to achieve sustainable development, good governance, peace and security, respect for human rights, and rule of law are essential. In particular, they point out that we need institutions at all levels that are effective, transparent, accountable and democratic. But what does this mean in practice?,” Mr. Wu also asked the CEPA Members.

“This Committee has the opportunity to contribute substantively to the thinking on the role of governance and public administration in sustainable development”

Mr. Wu Hongbo
UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General

Mr. Wu further highlighted that issues such as transparency and accountability of public institutions, combatting corruption, citizen participation, access to information and public-private partnerships offer some sign points on how policy-makers can be better equipped to address the complex challenges of sustainable development.

Responsive public service delivery through e-solutions

The discussions of this year’s CEPA will be held under three sub-themes: a) redefining relationships and responsibilities to support participatory governance and responsive public service delivery, including through e-solutions; b) strengthening innovation, prioritization, informed decision-making and the integration of policy development processes for enhanced impact; and c) promoting accountable institutions, ethical leadership and integrity to enhance confidence in efforts to deliver sustainable development.

“Governance is critical to achieve social and economic development, environmental sustainability, peace and security. We need, therefore, to transform public governance, among other things, by tapping the potential of technological advancement and innovation to fulfil our vision”, the President of the ECOSOC Mr. Martin Sajdik noted at the 13th CEPA Session.

“Transformation of governance systems and culture is a priority for sustainable development. It is also an end in itself. Strong institutions and good governance are now recognized by the international community as a catalyst for sustainable development,” Mr. Sajdik continued and reminded that the mission of CEPA is to support ECOSOC in promoting effective public administration among UN Member States.

Strengthening innovation and informed decision-making

CEPA articleMembers of CEPA will present papers on the sub-themes to introduce the Committee’s discussions. On the basis of the parameters set out in these papers and ensuing discussion, CEPA will present conclusions and recommendations related to supporting participatory governance and responsive public service delivery, strengthening innovation, informed decision-making and policy integration as well as promoting accountable institutions and ethical leadership.

In addition to engaging in discussions on transforming public administration for sustainable development, CEPA will also review the report submitted by the Secretariat on the activities implemented in 2014 under the United Nations Programme in Public Administration and Development Management.

To this end, recommendations will be made to the Secretariat on how to strengthen support to Member States in promoting accountable institutions and responsive public service delivery and in addressing emerging issues related to public governance and administration and its role in supporting sustainable development.

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