Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM)
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Governance and Public Administration

Governance and Public Administration are crosscutting critical facilitating factors in the process of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, poverty reduction, and sustainable development. As the world focuses more and more on these broad goals whose achievement will lead to improvements in human life, and as globalization poses more and more challenges and provides opportunities, the issue of building the requisite capacities of governance and public administration becomes more pronounced, not only for developing countries but for developed ones as well. Consequently, there are emerging issues in governance and public administration that require intergovernmental attention and focused debate, exchange of information and innovative, successful experiences among countries as well as technical cooperation in the direction of public administration capacity-building. The work involves the following:

Redesigning and reconfiguration of governance systems and institutions
In search for better performing modes of governance and public administration, countries continue to undertake substantive work in restructuring, reforming, and reconfiguring their governance systems and institutions to make them more participative, decentralized and responsive to local, regional and global needs. The processes of public policy-making constantly need to more involve the local people and a wider spectrum of stakeholders (representatives of government, local governments, the private sector, and the civil society at the global, regional, national and local levels) rather than be a monopoly of the central government or public sector institutions.

Contacts: Mr. John-Mary Kauzya Mr. Alphonse Mekolo
Ms. Valentina Resta Ms.Adriana Alberti

Ethics, transparency and accountability in the public sector

Citizens in many countries are demanding more integrity, transparency and accountability in the conduct of public affairs. Many governments and their governance partners are responding by designing and strengthening institutions, systems and structures for safeguarding public sector integrity. DPADM is promoting ethics policies and programmes to preserve organizational integrity, increase access to information to foster transparency and accountability, and enhance the work of oversight bodies. In addition, DPADM is also supporting Regional Public Service Charters that aim to harmonize public service codes and structures that promote professional and ethical behaviour as various sub-regions and regions seek to integrate.

UNPAN Global Documents on Ethics

Contacts: Ms. Atnafu Almaz

Reforming institutions of the public service

Public sector reform has been on the agenda of many countries, both developed and developing. However, with the creation of the Millennium Development Goals and the push for reducing poverty, reforming institutions of the public sector has recently focused on strengthening their capacities for spearheading the achievement of these Goals. In addition, the environment shaped by an increasingly globalizing world is refocusing public-sector reform efforts to respond to the challenges and opportunities created by globalization. Technical cooperation efforts in this respect, especially in developing countries, in Africa and other regions, support Member States to reconfigure their public sector institutions to enable them to meet these challenges.
Contacts: Mr. Alphonse Mekolo Ms.Adriana Alberti

Strengthening the human resource capacity including leadership

The challenge of attracting, developing, utilizating and retaining capable human resources in the public sector is central to the effectiveness of governments all over the world. The United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration has reiterated this challenge during its first two meetings in New York (2002 and 2003) (The Committee of Experts on Public Administration). An Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on "New Challenges for Senior Leadership Enhancement for Improved Public Management in a Globalizing World" stressed the importance of human resource development in the struggle against poverty and put an extra accent on the critical role of senior leadership capacity in public sector management and overall development. Many countries need to take up the challenge of building human resource capacities in general, and leadership in particular. The substantive, normative, and technical cooperation work of Governance and Public Administration is focused on this challenge as well.
Contacts: Mr. John-Mary Kauzya

Elevating the image, values and status of the public service

An effective public service is indispensable to the overall struggle for strengthening the rule of law and sustainable development, principally because the public service is central to the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programmes that are directly related to the reduction of poverty. However, during several forums it has been observed that in a number of countries the image of the public service has been tinted. Many countries are embarking on revamping the image of the public service to enable it to attract and retain the best talent to sustain its effectiveness. African countries adopted the 23rd of June as Public Service Day, and the United Nations followed suit by adopting the same date as Public Service Day to be observed worldwide. The introduction of the United Nations Public Service Awards is also one of the efforts to uplift the image of the public service (UN Public Service Day). There is a need for sustained effort to diagnose and analyse the forces and factors that have led to the erosion of the image of the public service in almost every country these past years, and to find remedies that would re-establish the values, status, and prestige in serving the public.
Contacts: Ms.Adriana Alberti

Strengthening decentralized governance for reducing poverty

Many countries have embraced decentralized governance as a structural and practical arrangement for empowering local communities to fight poverty at a close range. Strengthening decentralized governance has involved building institutional and human capacities in central government institutions, local government institutions, and civil society organizations for supporting participatory planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development as well as accountability at the grass-roots level. Decentralization is increasingly becoming an instrument for people's political empowerment, a platform for sustainable democratization, an initiative for effective and people-friendly service delivery, and a structural arrangement for the mobilization of economic development energies, initiatives, and resources. During the Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on "Innovations in Governance and Public Administration for Poverty Reduction" held in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil in February 2003, decentralized governance for people's empowerment was highly commended for poverty reduction. ( Innovations in Governance and Public Administration for Poverty Reduction [13-14 February 2003, Bahia, Brazil])
Contacts: Mr. Alphonse Mekolo Ms.Adriana Alberti

Building capacities of governance and public administration for managing conflict

Efforts to integrate conflict management into the work of governance and public administration are founded in the observation that most violent conflicts all over the world are caused and sparked off by failures in governance and public administration systems, institutions, and practices, especially in the way public policies and programmes allocate resources or respond to socio-politico-economic needs. A number of countries are therefore engaging in activities for strengthening the capacities of their governance and public administration to make policies that are conflict-sensitive as part and parcel of conflict management.
Contact: Ms. Gay Rosenblum-Kumar

Focus on special needs of Africa

A number of initiatives need to be undertaken to pay particular attention to the special needs of Africa, especially in relation to strengthening the capacities of governance and public administration institutions. Substantive work is being done to support decentralized governance, public service reform, ethics and integrity in the public service and access to information through publications and the United Nations Online Network in Public Administration and Finance (UNPAN). Collaboration and partnerships with African institutions (such a NEPAD, CAFRAD, OFPA, and other management development institutes at the regional and national levels) whose mandate is to strengthen governance and public administration is a priority of the work of Governance and Public Administration.
Contacts: Mr. Alphonse Mekolo

Reconstruction governance and public administration after violent conflict

The world of today seems to be prone to conflicts, some of which are so violent that they pull down governance and public administration institutions and structures. In such instances, the whole governance and public administration system and structure has to be rebuilt from "scratch". The process is not only long and highly expensive, but also requires careful analysis of the causes of the conflict in the first place, and the nature of the governance and public administration that should be put in place to avoid the recurrence of conflict and destruction.
Contact: Ms. Gay Rosenblum-Kumar

For overall themes
, please contact: Mr. John-Mary Kauzya, Chief, Governance and Public Administration Branch, DPADM/DESA. Tel.: 212-963-1973; fax: 212-963-2916; email: kauzya@un.org.
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