DESA Issues Compendium on Institutional Arrangements for SDGs
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The UN Division for Public Administration and Development Management in DESA has issued a pilot version of a compendium that takes stock of institutional arrangements adopted by the 22 UN Member States that presented their reviews of progress on SDG implementation at the 2016 HLPF.

The document focuses on: the adoption and the adaptation of national strategies and plans; national institutional arrangements; local authorities; parliaments; engaging and equipping public institutions and administrations; civil society and the private sector; and monitoring and review.

The compendium will be expanded to include the 44 countries that volunteered to present their VNRs during the HLPF 2017.

25 July 2017: The Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has issued a pilot version of a compendium that takes stock of institutional arrangements adopted by 22 UN Member States to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The pilot compendium highlights the important role of governments and public institutions for SDG implementation and reflects on different approaches taken by countries facing different contexts and circumstances. The document focuses on: the adoption and the adaptation of national strategies and plans; national institutional arrangements; local authorities; parliaments; engaging and equipping public institutions and administrations; civil society and the private sector; and monitoring and review. It includes a global synthesis based on the 22 countries as a whole and a synthesis per country.

The 22 UN Member States analyzed in the compendium are China, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, and Venezuela. These countries presented their reviews of progress on SDG implementation at the 2016 session of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The document states that the compendium will be expanded to include the 44 countries that volunteered to present their VNRs during the HLPF 2017.

The document notes that lessons learned from the implementation of National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS), Local Agendas 21 and similar initiatives should be taken into consideration when translating the SDGs in policy and planning documents at the national and local levels. The compendium also indicates that the creation of inter-ministerial structures can mobilize the various parts of a government around the SDGs, ensure coherent and coordinated efforts overall and facilitate integrated approaches to implement the SDGs. The document states that the institutions leading implementation should have sufficient clout, the ability to mobilize resources and the vision and capacities necessary to plan SDG implementation in the whole country, and warns against perceiving the SDGs as restricted to a specific sector such as the environment or as related only to foreign affairs or development cooperation.

On local authorities, the compendium notes the call from the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) to elaborate local Agendas 2030, which could link global goals to local action, and raise awareness on on sustainable development. It adds that the relationship between national and local governments should be based on effective collaboration and coordination, and that resources of local governments should be commensurate with their responsibilities.

The compendium states that SDGs should not be the exclusive domain of the executive branch or a ministry-driven exercise, but parliaments and “the political world” should be mobilized around the Goals. If the SDGs are incorporated in national plans and budgets, it says, parliaments will be naturally able to review their implementation, thus enhancing accountability. The document also stresses the important role of Supreme Auditing Institutions (SAIs), noting that the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) has undertaken a reflection on how SAIs can contribute to reviews of SDG implementation at the national level.

The compendium finds there is little evidence that public servants are being mobilized and equipped to implement the SDGs.

As per the compendium, there is little evidence that public servants are being mobilized and equipped to implement the SDGs, adding that the Goals give a renewed urgency for innovation and for issues which public institutions “have been grappling traditionally,” such as professionalism, ethics, impact, and participatory approaches.

On civil society and the private sector, the compendium recommends fairly institutionalizing their engagement rather than only depending on an ad hoc participatory process. The document illustrates various participative approaches taken by countries, including ensuring that the entities spearheading implementation are multi-stakeholder or interact with various stakeholders, ensuring interaction of key ministries with civil society and other actors, and conducting consultations with civil society and the private sector. The compendium also stresses the importance of meaningful engagement, so that the views expressed are proactively and transparently addressed.

On monitoring and review, the document reports that efforts are underway to set up reliable information systems with baseline data to monitor and review SDG progress, and Statistical Offices have usually been engaged in developing national indicators based on the global SDG indicators framework. It calls for giving attention to different types of reviews, including on: whether SDG commitments have been incorporated in plans and policies, and on the readiness of the government to implement the SDGs; whether policies related to the SDGs have been implemented, including in an effective and accountable way; the actual progress towards the SDGs, for which Statistical Offices are usually engaged; and the implementation of the SDGs in a specific sector.

The research for the compendium was conducted from March to July 2017. The compendium draws on the issue brief on ‘Overview of institutional arrangements for implementing the 2030 Agenda at national level’ issued by DESA in 2016, and considers information from official country presentations at the HLPF 2016 and associated reports, information from government websites, among other sources. [Publication: Compendium of National Institutional Arrangements for 
implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Pilot Version] [DPADM Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on DESA Brief on Countries Institutional Arrangements]

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