Francisco Longo, director of ESADEgov, was appointed by the Secretary-General of United Nations as one of 24 experts worldwide to serve on the committee.

July, 30 2017   |   Editorial office

The United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration, established by the Economic and Social Council in its Resolution 2001/45, meets annually at the UN Headquarters in New York. The Committee is responsible for supporting the work of ECOSOC in the promotion and development of public administration and governance among member states, in accordance with the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The Committee of Experts on Public Administration held its 16th session at the United Nations in New York from 24 to 28 April 2017. Its theme was: 'Ensuring effective implementation of the sustainable development goals: leadership, action and means'. A key message of the session was that government and public institutions have a leading role in implementing the SDGs and pursuing policies to ensure that no one is left behind.

The committee stressed that leadership is critical for driving SDG implementation. The highest level of government should continuously push implementation of the SDGs. Leadership should also be encouraged at all levels of government and among public servants. Leaders should build commitment to SDG implementation within society. New approaches to fighting corruption and ensuring a merit-based civil service need to be implemented. This, along with demonstrating the impact of public policy on SDG progress, is necessary to rebuild public trust in government.

The committee underscored that local governments have a critical role in reaching the SDGs and achieving equity. We should move away from a top down relationship, while central and local governments should instead work as partners. Decentralisation may be necessary to accelerate progress on some of the SDG targets, but the resources and capacities of local governments should be commensurate with their responsibilities. This may take some time to materialise. Therefore, functions for some SDG targets may need to remain with central government, otherwise implementation may be stalled.

Another message of the committee was that poverty eradication policies should be based on a solid consensus across all income groups. Policies should be developed in close consultation with all stakeholders, including the poorest. Poverty eradication should be established as an overarching objective for all parts of government and pursued through a whole-of-government approach. Integrated approaches are key to implementing social protection floors. There is a need to develop the capacities of institutions to find new ways to promote job creation and decent work.

The committee also underscored that it is necessary to launch efforts to rally public servants around the SDGs and instil a sense of commitment, new ways of working based on participation and engagement, new skills, and a greater sense of professionalism and ethics. The committee noted that the SDGs may call for specific governance improvements in a variety of different contexts. It has accordingly started to define a set of voluntary principles and practices for effective governance for sustainable development grounded in the 2030 Agenda and other United Nations agreements.

During the session, participants from Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Kenya, Malaysia, and Morocco made presentations on various aspects of their efforts to promote effective implementation of SDGs. The committee will convey its draft resolution and report to ECOSOC. It also adopted a contribution to the high-level political forum.

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