From knowing to doing in public administration

Sudans New National Unity Government (UN Photo/Evan Schneider)

Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, opened the 10th session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) yesterday at the UN Headquarters in New York, stating, “this meeting takes place at a challenging time for many governments affected by the long reach of the global financial and economic crisis.”

He continued, “Many governments would like to invest for the long-term, but instead, they are now being forced to decide…which offices to close…which services and benefits to cut…which workers to dismiss…and which taxes to increase.”

CEPA is responsible for supporting the work of ECOSOC concerning the promotion and development of public administration and governance among Member States, in connection with the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The concept of “governance” is not new. The meaning depends on the level of governance and the goals to be achieved. Meredith Edwards, Professor Emeritus of the University of Canberra, stressed the growing mismatch between problems and government actions and urged for a more practical way of public governance, from “knowing” to “doing” and the need to engage citizens.

The meeting continued today, focusing on social protection policies for vulnerable populations. Governments have taken initiatives in this area through social assistance, labor markets, social insurance, micro- and area-based schemes and child protection.

Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Kenyan Minister of Medical Services commented “All governments claim commitment to the fight against poverty and inequality in one-way or the other.” However, although social protection programs exist, governments that are capable do not always protect while others lack resources.

The Commission will continue throughout the week discussing programs on public governance, goals and commitments in regard to education, and review of the United Nations Programme in Public Administration and Finance.

For more information, see DESA News feature article “Public governance for results”

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