Department of Economic and Social Affairs Public Institutions

Following the recommendations made at the Seventh Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts in Public Administration (CEPA), the On-line Glossary on Governance and Public Administration was developed by the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with CEPA.


The purpose of the Glossary is to provide United Nations Member States, and all other interested parties, with a common definition of the basic terms and concepts related to governance and public administration used in United Nations documents, and DPIDG. In particular, the Glossary aims at improving the clarity of the intergovernmental deliberations of the United Nations itself; and at assisting Member States to better implement United Nations resolutions by providing a more unified understanding of governance and public administration terminology.


This Glossary contains non-legally binding definitions of terms most frequently used in governance and public administration in (a) United Nations documents and (b) in the work of DPIDG.


Terms are displayed in alphabetical order or grouped by subject. For each term, the Glossary provides a short definition, links to other terms, and, where possible, reference material posted on the United Nations Network on Public Administration – UNPAN.


It is an “open” Glossary in that it represents work in progress, subject to periodical revisions, enlargements and review of its content.


Click here to access the UN Public Administration Glossary.


If you wish to add information to an existing definition in the Glossary, please send an e-mail to DPIDG at