Principles of Effective Governance for Sustainable Development

Institutions play a critical role in the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets. But, public sector reforms needed to implement the SDGs continue to be a major and vexing challenge in many countries. In order to address this challenge concretely, the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) has developed a set of principles of effective governance for sustainable development. The essential purpose of these voluntary principles is to provide practical, expert guidance to interested countries in a broad range of governance challenges associated with implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 


The principles of effective governance for sustainable development are available in six languages: 


 Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish 


The principles, endorsed by the Economic and Social Council on 2 July 2018, highlight the need for pragmatic and ongoing improvements in national and local governance capabilities to reach the SDGs. To this end, the principles are linked to a variety of commonly used strategies for operationalizing responsive and effective governance, many of which have been recognized and endorsed over the years in various United Nations forums, resolutions and treaties.  


Technical guidelines and relevant practices to operationalize the principles will also need to be identified – and reviewed for evidence of their impact on SDG-related outcomes. This is the next challenge for CEPA and the relevant United Nations organizations, regional organizations and professional and academic communities engaged in this evolving work.






Strategy guidance notes


Sound policy making


    •   Strategic planning and foresight

    •   Regulatory impact assessment
    •   Promotion of coherent policymaking

    •   Strengthening of national statistical systems

    •   Monitoring and evaluation systems

    •   Science-policy interface

    •   Risk management frameworks

    •   Data sharing


Intergenerational equity

    •   Impact assessment for sustainable development

    •   Long-term public debt management

    •   Long-term territorial planning and spatial development

    •   Ecosystem management


Leaving no one behind

    •   Promotion of equitable fiscal and monetary policy (forthcoming)

    •   Promotion of social equity

    •   Data disaggregation (forthcoming)

    •   Systematic follow-up and review (forthcoming)



    •   Fiscal and budget transparency



    •   Draft strategy guidance note on promotion of public sector workforce diversity



    •   Participatory budgeting



Workshops on sound policymaking for sustainable development


•   Workshop with a focus on Africa (16 February 2021)

•   Workshop with a focus on Latin America (18 February 2021)


Workshop on promotion of intergenerational equity for sustainable development


•   Workshop (8 March 2022)