Table of Contents

  • In September 2015 the United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. At the heart of the 2030 Agenda is a vision for transforming the world by ending poverty, transforming societies and protecting the planet. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets will stimulate action over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet - people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.

  • The Compendium of Innovative Practices in Public Governance and Administration for Sustainable Development is the product of a collective effort by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). In particular, the following people are acknowledged for their specific roles in its production.

  • On 25 September 2015 the United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sharing a vision of transforming the world in three main ways -- ending poverty, transforming all lives, and protecting the planet. By placing people and planet at the center of new agenda, they reinforced the importance of creating conditions for dignified life free of hunger, poverty, job insecurity and inequality and for addressing increasingly complex and pressing environmental issues. A common framework to achieve this vision is captured in ‘five Ps’-- people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership, to which the Member States agreed to commit 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets, leaving no one behind.

  • Good governance and the rule of law are among the core enablers of sustainable development in the 2030 Agenda, as recognized by the UN Member States. These, among others, are based on the principles of transparency, accountability, participation and responsiveness of public institutions, essential for promoting peaceful and inclusive societies.

  • The last few decades have witnessed rapid, technology-driven changes in communication, often referred to as The Information Age revolution with far reaching impact; unparalleled in its speed of advancement in human history. As mentioned by Keniston and Kumar (2003): 22 “It took at least one century before the printing press touched 50 million individuals; it took 38 years for radio to reach the same number and 13 years for television; but the World Wide Web in only four years, exceeded the 50 million mark. Never before has a communications revolution spread so rapidly”. The 21st century has been also named the age of Knowledge societies, where information and communication technology gives us fingertip access to a diverse range of sources of knowledge to billions of people, which allows them to use ICTs to transform the ways of doing business, delivering services and, improving the human condition, in general. This trend has, and continues to transform the way many countries organise their governance and social and political life. The following sections highlight some key ways in which technological advancement has and continues to shape public services.

  • “What we need to develop is people, not things”, mentioned former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, echoing the words of president Kagame of Rwanda about people being “the key ingredient of [a] country’s social and economic transformation”. People shape development vision and create institutions to implement it. Human resources determine the quality, strength and performance of institutions and underpin good governance as a condition sine qua non of a supportive framework for the sustainable development goals (SDGs), of which SDG 16 specifically calls for building “effective, accountable and transparent institutions”. The goal also promotes responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making which require “human resources [in public institutions] equipped with skills and capacities to deliver sustainable development”, as underscored by the UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon.

  • The importance of involving people in public reflection about important social, economic and environmental issues, policy formulation, and public service delivery is hardly contested nowadays. As demonstrated through cases in this publication, people are increasingly becoming empowered to engage in such processes particularly due to access to and availability of information and the advancement of communication technologies, including social media. But it is also a necessity to face increasingly complex and common problems, and engaging people can be a path for boosting innovation. In knowledge-societies of the 21st century, the most creative solutions are going to be generated through open interaction and reliance on shared resources.