As the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations comes full circle, UN DESA reflects on seven decades of development in public administration. During this time, the department has assisted UN Member States in fostering citizen-centred public service, administration and governance; services that play an essential role in improving people’s lives and realizing a better future for all.

When the UN was created in 1945, the world was in one of the most transformative eras in history. Guidance was needed in order to make governments more responsive to the needs of citizens. In this period of remodelling, the United Nations established the Programme on Public Administration.

Through the years, the unit experienced several transformations. From a program that concentrated on the training of civil servants to a division that helps countries to build their public institutions.

The focus lies on advancing management and policies so that the governments can function. The division assists authorities in building their capacities through its normative and operative work. It offers training, knowledge sharing and online tools to support governments in meeting public needs.

In the course of time, the environment, technology, and dynamics of public administration have evolved and changed. The division has reacted to these developments and promotes the adoption of new and improved practices. This includes e-participation, as well as the promotion and use of open government data, so as to improve public accountability, combat corruption and enhance the delivery of public services.

The department has embraced the power of information communication technologies (ICTs) and supports countries around the world - so that they in turn - can provide their citizens with efficient public service based on transparency, participation and collaboration.

With the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, governments worldwide will have the primary responsibility to make this agenda a reality. Good governance and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Over the next 15 years, UN DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management will continue to assist countries in these efforts to build a better future for all.