Integration for SDG Implementation Discussed at World Public Sector Report Event
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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On the sidelines of CEPA 17, participants provided their views on the World Public Sector Report 2018.

The report explores how governments, public institutions and public administration foster integrated approaches towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

The meeting, organized by DESA, took place on 26 April 2018.

26 April 2018: UN officials, members of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA), UN Member States and other stakeholders exchanged views on the World Public Sector Report (WPSR) 2018, on the sidelines of CEPA’s 17th session. The report examines three dimensions of integration towards SDG implementation: vertical, horizontal and stakeholder engagement.

The meeting on ‘Working Together: Integration, Institutions and the Sustainable Development Goals: Discussion around World Public Sector Report 2018’ took place on 26 April 2018, in New York, US. It was organized by the UN Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The report, released by DESA on 5 April 2018, recalls that in the past, one of the main obstacles to integration was the sustainable development paradigm’s lack of political legitimacy. However, the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs elevated the status of sustainable development on the international policy agenda, it says, and this has increased the legitimacy and relevance of integrated perspectives and approaches.

Addressing the side event, Elliott Harris, DESA, remarked that the 2018 WPSR informs efforts by all countries to achieve the SDGs, as it illustrates how interlinkages between the SDGs can be addressed at the institutional level. He noted the need to “ramp up the dialogue” between all actors, and highlighted the importance of “experts on public administration and institutions” to make the SDGs a reality.

David Le Blanc, DPADM, who led the WPSR’s preparation, said the report explores how governments, public institutions and public administration foster integrated approaches towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. He reported that horizontal integration (across sectors or institutions), vertical integration (alignment of actions between national and sub-national levels of government) and stakeholder engagement are components that provide a robust framework for analyzing integration at the national level, adding that regional and global networks of local governments are also important. He also highlighted tools and instruments for integration, including budget processes and supreme audit institutions (SAIs). Le Blanc said integration has its benefits but also its costs, citing that tensions might appear, for instance, between the national and local levels regarding law enforcement in relation to the legal status of migrants. He noted that the report accounts for contributions from over 80 experts, following an online call for inputs.

Cristina Duarte, CEPA member (Cabo Verde), said integration requires both top-down and bottom-up approaches. The top-down approaches should be implemented by policy makers as an “ethical responsibility” through accountability, transparency, respect of the rule of law, and the sharing of information, she said. She noted that bottom-up approaches, meanwhile, can have an impact only if policy-makers are aware of the rule of law, and said civil society participation is the “guarantor” of integration. Duarte added that integration also requires: open, integrated information systems to break “silo” thinking; a multi-year planning approach linked to integrated information systems; and strong leadership from the budget and planning ministry or authority.

Louis Meuleman, CEPA member (Netherlands), remarked that changing mindsets and building trust are fundamental for integration. Along with other CEPA members, he qualified the report as a “must read” for practitioners and students. He suggested that the next edition of the WPSR illustrate tensions between “rational analysis” and the “irrational reality of policy-makers,” and he called on practitioners, including CEPA members, to contribute to future WPSRs.

CEPA 17 took place from 23-27 April 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on the theme, ‘Readying Public Institutions for the Implementation of the SDGs.’ [Publication: Working Together: Integration, Institutions and the Sustainable Development Goals: World Public Sector Report 2018] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on release of WPSR 2018] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on CEPA 17] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on institutional arrangements in 64 countries] [DPADM website] [SDG Knowledge Hub sources]


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