Administration publique et gestion du développement
Département des affaires économiques et sociales

 

Virtual Format
12-21 April 2021

 

The Committee of Experts on Public Administration held its twentieth session from 12 to 21 April 2021 in a virtual format.

 

Committee of Experts on Public Administration, 20th session

The official report is available in six languages

Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

 

Resolution adopted by the Economic and Social Council on the report of the 20th session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (E/RES/2021/12)
Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish 
 

Decision adopted by the Economic and Social Council on the provisional agenda for the 21st session of CEPA (2021/232)
Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

 

 

The Committee of Experts on Public Administration held its twentieth session from 12 to 21 April 2021 using a virtual platform. The overall theme was “Building inclusive, effective and resilient institutions for sustainable recovery from the coronavirus disease pandemic and timely implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.


One of the key messages of the Committee was that recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of the Goals should not be seen as sequential or separate. The 2030 Agenda provided a roadmap to recover from the pandemic and build resilience to future shocks. Achieving sustainable development and strengthening resilience required a long-term perspective in policymaking together with institution-building at all levels, based on effective governance for sustainable development, and a steadfast commitment to promoting peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Azerbaijan, Colombia and Indonesia made presentations on various institutional issues as part of an interactive dialogue with the experts.


The Committee emphasized that transparent, accountable and participatory management of public finances was a key element of effective governance, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic, when governments around the world face decreasing revenues and increasing expenditures. Extraordinary circumstances could not be an excuse for a lack of transparency, accountability and participation. Such decisions would impact the effectiveness of public spending and public service provision, fairness in the distribution of public funds, political dynamics, and the well-being of people, especially of vulnerable and excluded groups, including refugees and displaced persons, altogether affecting implementation of the Goals.


The Committee underscored the need for ownership of the eleven principles of effective governance to accelerate action on building strong institutions and action. For this to happen, mechanisms were needed to support a culture of realizing the principles at all levels and among both older and younger generations of public sector workers. In addition, greater effort could be made to promote awareness among parliamentarians and permanent secretaries with an emphasis on encouraging “ministerial excellence” and leadership development to enable implementation.


The Committee recommended that national budgets be aligned with the Goals, which in most cases required that the budgets be reorganized around programmes and activities. Implementing the Goals by incorporating them into national budgeting systems required a strategic decision by political leaders, as well as technical efforts. Reorganization of budgets from a traditional format to activity-based budgeting and programme budgeting was a key step that would enable the government to allocate funds toward the achievement of the Goals, and to monitor outcomes. Better budgeting in the context of the Goals entailed participation, such as by informing and engaging legislatures, supreme audit institutions, civil society and the public. Budget transparency and literacy were enablers for public participation throughout the budget process.


The Committee stressed that the potential of sustainable public procurement was underutilized. Public procurement represented, on average, 13 to 20 per cent of GDP. By leveraging public expenditure, Governments could lead by example, stimulating markets for sustainable products and services and helping steer society towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns. Market mechanisms could be used to expand procurement options but required inspection and enforcement along with the capacity in the public sector to support them. Supreme audit institutions could play a crucial role in monitoring progress at the national level and adequate legislation should be in place to do so effectively.


The Committee highlighted that the pandemic had accelerated the trend of digitalization and flexible work in the public sector and had opened up possibilities for new work modalities, with the use of technology, and new types of contracts. Benefits and compensation schemes and reasonable work contracts for all types of frontline workers should reflect the changing nature of public sector work and the risks that frontline workers faced. New ways of working had also exposed inequalities and digital divides across the public sector workforce. Equal opportunities should be given for the provision of digital capacity with special attention to the local level. For sustainable recovery from the pandemic, public services should be delivered with a focus on citizen-centricity and workforce management in harmony with people’s expectations.


The Committee also observed that the pandemic was likely to exacerbate existing challenges in conflict-affected countries and increase pressure on already struggling institutions. Sexual and gender-based violence had increased due to the pandemic where security forces were empowered and had the opportunity to abuse their position. The proactive leadership of governments was key to the recovery from the pandemic and should be free of political considerations. Clear, verified information backed up by evidence was essential to overcoming challenges related to fake news and mistrust of government. Local leaders and civil society organizations on the ground remained critical partners both in terms of peacebuilding and aiding vaccination programmes that rely on trust and legitimacy.


The Committee adopted a draft resolution and a draft decision for the consideration of the Economic and Social Council. The Committee also reaffirmed its contribution to the 2021 high-level political forum on sustainable development on the 2021 theme from a governance and public administration perspective.

 

 

Decision adopted by the Economic and Social Council on the dates of the 20th session of CEPA (2021/215 adopted 24 February 2021)

Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

 

Decision adopted by the Economic and Social Council on the provisional agenda for the 20th session of CEPA (2020/228)
Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

Programme


Programme of work as of 18 April 2021

 

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval Mendiolea, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council [Spanish]

Remarks by Mr. Liu Zhemin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

 

CEPA Bureau Members

 

Chair: 
Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi (South Africa) 
 
Vice-Chairs: 

Geert Bouckaert (Belgium)
Louis Meuleman (Netherlands)
Lamia Moubayed Bissat (Lebanon)
 
Rapporteur: 

Henry Sardaryan (Russian Federation)

Documents

 

  • Item 2: Adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters
  •  
  •      Annotated provisional agenda (E/C.16/2021/1)
  • Item 3: Governance and public administration aspects of the theme of the 2021 session of the Economic and Social Council and the 2021 high-level political forum on sustainable development
    •  
    • Building inclusive, effective and resilient institutions for sustainable recovery from the coronavirus disease pandemic and timely implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (E/C.16/2021/2)
    • Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish
    •  
  • Item 4: Dialogue with voluntary national review countries on institutional aspects of SDG 16

          Remarks and presentations

  • Item 6: Integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into national and subnational budgeting and financial management
  •  
    • Integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into national and subnational budgeting and financial management with a focus on Cabo Verde (E/C.16/2021/3)
    • Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish
    •  
    Item 8: Impact of the coronavirus disease pandemic on essential workers in the public sector
  •  
  •      Issues in public sector workforce management in the recovery from coronavirus disease pandemic (E/C.16/2021/5)

          Other inputs

          Instittute of Public Policy and Public Affairs

 

 

    Dedicated consultation with observers

 

A two-hour virtual interactive dialogue with observers was held as part of the 20th CEPA session on 19 April from 9 to 11 a.m. EDT (New York time). This event was open to observers from Member States, UN system organizations, UN Permanent Observers, NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC and other organizations related to public administration. Please refer to the observer consultation note for further details. The on-demand video is available here.

 

 

Participants

List of observers and invited speakers

Webcast

Schedule (9:00 to 11:00 a.m. New York time)
 
12 April 2021 – Virtual meeting 1 on governance and public administration aspects of the theme of the 2021 session of ECOSOC and the 2021 HLPF [item 3] 
13 April 2021 – Virtual meeting 2 on strengthening the analytical basis for reform policies based on the principles of effective governance for sustainable development [item 5]

14 April 2021 – Virtual meeting 3 on integrating the SDGs into national and subnational budgeting and financial management [item 6] and Sustainable public procurement in the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development  [item 7]

15 April 2021 morning – Virtual meeting 4 on dialogue with voluntary national review countries on institutional aspects of SDG 16 [item 4]

15 April 2021 afternoon – Virtual meeting 5 on building strong institutions for sustainable development in conflict-affected countries  [item 9]

16 April 2021 – Virtual meeting 6 on impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on essential workers in the public sector [item 8]

19 April 2021 – Virtual meeting 7 on dedicated consultation with observers

20 April 2021 – Virtual meeting 8 on provisional agenda of the 21th session [item 10]

 

 

Multimedia

 

Video

Video on the theme of the 20th CEPA Session is available below.

 

 

Photos

 

                            

       

Contacts


Mr. Patrick Spearing, Secretary of the Committee
Tel: 1-212-963-3352
E-mail: spearing@un.org

 

Ms. Adriana Ribeiro, Progamme Management Assistant
Tel: 1-212-963-2764
E-mail: ribeiroa@un.org