World Public Sector Report 2019 Focuses on SDG 16, Public Institutions
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The 2019 edition of the World Public Sector Report focuses on progress on the institutional dimensions of SDG 16, corruption and the SDGs, budget processes in support of SDG implementation, risk management in public administration in the context of the SDGs, and institutions for gender equality.

The report was prepared by the UN Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government in DESA.

SDG 16 is one of the six Goals to be reviewed in depth during the July 2019 HLPF.

24 June 2019: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has released the 2019 edition of the World Public Sector Report, which focuses on the public institutions component of SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). SDG 16 is one of the six Goals that will be reviewed in-depth during the July 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The report titled, ‘Sustainable Development Goal 16: Focus on Public Institutions,’ was prepared by the UN Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) in DESA. The launch event took place during the UN Public Service Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 24 June 2019.

The publication includes five chapters on: progress on the institutional dimensions of SDG 16; corruption and the SDGs; budget processes in support of SDG implementation; risk management in public administration in the context of the SDGs; and institutions for gender equality. The report also builds on the institutional principles reflected in the targets of SDG 16 that address public institutions, including effectiveness, transparency, accountability, anti-corruption, inclusiveness of decision-making processes, access to information, and non-discrimination of laws and policies.

The authors identify challenges in institutional accountability, including a lack of resources and staff to conduct independent analysis, information gaps between governments and parliaments, governments’ lack of willingness to engage with parliamentary oversight, and a lack of independence for supreme audit institutions (SAIs), although the report notes that the scope and depth of the oversight exerted by SAIs varies across countries. The SDG Knowledge Hub reports on examples of SAI efforts, such as audits of each country’s preparedness to implement the SDGs.

On linking national budget processes with the SDGs, the report finds that while the SDGs have been integrated into sustainable development strategies, and are “increasingly” incorporated in sustainable development financing strategies, the integration of SDGs into national budget processes has been “more limited.” It adds that the most frequently adopted approaches focus on a specific SDG (for example, focusing on climate or biodiversity) rather than the 2030 Agenda overall, and are ad hoc rather than systemic. The authors suggest pooling knowledge from organizations and experts that have started to follow national efforts in SDG budgeting, such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and IISD, and developing a “simple systematic mapping dashboard of where countries are with respect to linking their budget processes with the SDGs” to monitor developments in this area.

On risk management, the report finds that several emerging economies and developing countries have adopted innovative approaches, as they coordinate and integrate risk management strategies and decision-making processes horizontally across various ministries, departments and agencies, with some establishing cross-cutting commissions. It further notes that a few countries have created a position of Chief Risk Officer or the equivalent, with a role of coordinating the government’s response across a broad range of risks. Some governments are integrating their risk management activities vertically by engaging subnational governments.

On gender-responsive national institutions, the report states that as of 2016, over 90 countries across all regions had adopted some form of gender-responsive budgeting. It adds that equal pay laws or regulations have multiplied, and are often used in combination with incentives and sanctions, and with enhanced disclosure requirements for employers, to promote accountability. The report notes, however, that women remain under-represented at all levels of public decision-making, and poor women are disproportionately impacted by corruption, which covers a wide range of exploitative practices.

Previous editions of the WPSR were issued in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2018. The 2018 edition reviewed countries’ public sector institutional arrangements to promote policy integration for SDG implementation at the national, sub-national and local levels.

Apart from SDG 16, the HLPF will also review the following Goals in July 2019: SDGs 4 (quality education), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 13 (climate action) and 17 (partnerships for the Goals). [DPIDG Website] [Publication: World Public Sector Report 2019: Sustainable Development Goal 16: Focus on Public Institutions] [DESA News]


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