2016 E-Government in Support of Sustainable Development

The UN E-Government Survey 2016 on “E-Government in Support of Sustainable Development” offers a snapshot of trends in the development of e-government in countries across the globe. According to the Survey more governments are embracing information and communication technologies (ICTs) to deliver services and to engage people in decision-making processes in all regions of the world.

The 2016 UN E-Government Survey provides new evidence that e-government has the potential to help support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Survey indicates a positive global trend towards higher levels of e-government development as countries in all regions are increasingly embracing innovation and utilizing new ICTs to deliver services and engage people in decision-making processes. It underscores that one of the most important new trends is the advancement of people-driven services – services that reflect people’s needs and are driven by them. At the same time, disparities remain within and among countries. Lack of access to technology, poverty and inequality prevent people from fully taking advantage of the potential of ICTs and e-government for sustainable development.

Download the 2016 E-Government in Support of Sustainable Development.

UN E-Government Knowledge Database



Innovations in Governance and Public Administration




“Innovations in Governance in the Mediterranean Region with a Special Focus on Methodologies for the Transfer of Innovations”

Knowledge management implies transferring ideas, as well as know how, skills and lessons learned in the implementation process of an innovation. Knowledge management depends heavily on the ability of both parties to recognize and communicate knowledge. For example, when it comes to recognition, the idea behind a specific innovation is more important than the innovation itself. The originating organization has to articulate knowledge, while the recipient organization has to explain and use knowledge for good practice, often in a modified or adapted form.

Organizational change starts with strong leadership, a clear vision and an organizational culture supportive of innovation. The chances that change may occur increase if leaders communicate about the need for change within the organization, as well as with other stakeholders. The latter has to be managed carefully resulting in a sense of direction. Social capital is vital to the creation, implementation and dissemination of innovation.

Factors that hinder innovation are for example administrative formalism, a change in a law or adoption of a practice without reference to contextual variables and structural/institutional barriers that inhibit the implementation of an innovation. The natural tendency of people to reject a practice ‘that is not invented here’ doesn’t facilitate the innovation process either. One of the purposes of this Meeting is to provide a methodology for the transfer of innovations in public administration. As you know, the objective of this Meeting is to provide a platform to:



The United Nations Programme in Public Administration: reinventing itself to help reinvent public administration

In a world that is changing rapidly and constantly, public administration needs to be able to respond as rapidly and as effectively as possible to new challenges and priorities. The process of reinvention and revitalization requires vision, knowledge and capacity. The same qualities are required from the United Nations if they are to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition effectively in their efforts to reform public administration. This article provides an historical excursus of how the conception of the role of the state has changed in the past decades and its impact on developing countries; how instrumental the United Nations was in re-establishing awareness of the role of public administration in development, and the significant preparatory work done in this area by the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS). The article also illustrates how the United Nations Programme in Public Administration has reinvented itself in order to help reinvent government and singles out some of the emerging challenges in the field of public administration.

Accountable public administration for sustainable development

Without an inclusive and accountable public administration, it is unlikely that the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development will be achieved. To share knowledge of innovative practices and lessons learned on how to build such an administration, UN DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) is hosting a symposium in Cochamba, Bolivia on 16-17 March.

We asked Marion Barthelemy, Acting Director of DPADM, and Adriana Alberti, Senior Governance and Public Administration Officer of DPADM, to share their views on the role of public administration in sustainable development.

How important is inclusive and accountable public administration for the achievement of sustainable development?

Read more at UN Expert Voices: https://www.un.org/development/desa/undesavoice/expert-voices/2016/03

Good Practices and Innovations in Public Governance, Volume II, 2012-2013

Improvements in the delivery of public services contribute greatly to good governance for the achievement of international development goals. The UNPSA Programme inspires public servants all over the world to work towards perfecting their approaches, methodologies, practices, systems and processes, in the delivery of public services. Coupled with the United Nations Public Service Day celebrations, the Awards Programme has enhanced the visibility and transferability of innovations, as well as opportunities for sharing experience on the improvement of public service performance. Increasing knowledge about successful experiences in public administration is a catalyst for change in other public organizations.


Good Practices and Innovations in Public Governance, Volume I

This publication provides an overview of 85 successful innovations in governance and public administration from 40 countries that received the United Nations Public Service Awards, which is the most prestigious international recogition of excellence in public service. The purpose of this book is to disseminate, through descriptive case studies, information about innovative practices by looking at the problem that led to an innovation; the solution that was designed and implemented to respond to the specific challenge; the actors and steps involved in the innovation process, and lessons learned. Learning more about how public institutions from around the world have solved difficult governance challenges can be a powerful and inspirational tool for those engaged in improving public sector performance.


Challenges and Priorities in Reforming Governance and Public Administration in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Western Balkans, DPADM Discussion Paper, 2007

These are challenging times for Governments around the world. Since the middle of the twentieth century, and particularly since the beginning of the new millennium, Governments have been under growing pressure to respond to the evolving demands of citizens and to function within an increasingly complex global environment. Governments must address domestic priorities such as poverty, unemployment, educational deficits, and environmental degradation while simultaneously introducing whatever changes are necessary to ensure effective integration into the world economy.

This paper highlights the governance challenges that countries from the Southern and Western part of the Mediterranean region have been facing in the past years. It also analyzes the priority areas of reform in public administration at the regional and sub- regional levels.


Reconstructing Public Administration after Conflict: Challenges, Practices and Lessons Learned, World Public Sector Report 2010

The 2010 World Public Sector Report brings to the fore a very critical issue – how to reconstruct public administration in post-conflict situations so as to enable it to promote peace and development in countries that have been affected by civil war and destruction. It is a question that has remained unresolved for decades and has brought poverty, despair, and death to people in many corners of the world. The Report shows that no progress can be made in promoting peace, development and protection of human rights unless appropriate governance and public administration institutions are established, leadership and human resources capacities are re-built, citizens are engaged in the process of reconstruction through decentralized participatory mechanisms and basic public services are delivered. In fact, unless newly established governments are able to provide essential public services to the population, including safety, security, health, education, shelter, access to water and sanitation and job opportunities, there will be no durable peace.

The report also emphasizes that because post-conflict situations are heterogeneous, there are no “one size fits all” solutions to governance challenges. In each country, public administration reforms should be tailored to local needs. Finally, the report highlights that contrary to commonly held belief, post-conflict situations not only present challenges, but also offer numerous opportunities to leapfrog stages of development by adopting innovative practices in public administration, particularly through the application of ICTs in government and service delivery.


“Whole of government and collaborative governance”, 2014 UN E-Government Survey

Although sustainable development challenges have significantly changed over the past decades and are becoming increasingly interdependent, government in- stitutions and their functions are still largely shaped by early 20th century models of public administration in which ministries and their leaders work in “silos” and is- sues are tackled through a sectoral rather than a collaborative perspective. At the same time, citizens and businesses are demanding more open, transparent, ac- countable and effective governance, while new technologies, especially ICT, are enabling effective knowledge management, sharing and collaboration between all sectors and at all levels of government whether cross-border, national or local.

The 2014 Survey focuses even more than in previous years on whole of govern- ment and collaborative public governance issues at the national level as the key to addressing these complex and wide scope challenges which require integrated responses. In this context, a number of enabling factors are needed to advance whole of government. First, there is a critical need for new forms of collaborative leadership and shared organizational culture, including re-shaping values, mind- sets, attitudes and behaviours in the public sector through visible guiding prin- ciples and leadership. Second, new forms of institutional frameworks for effec- tive coordination, cooperation and accountability need to be put in place across government, between governments and with relevant non-public actors which can contribute to creating public value. Third, innovative coordination processes and mechanisms for service delivery, and citizen engagement and empowerment are essential, as is making such services inclusive and accessible by all groups in society, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Fourth, and linked to this, collaborative mechanisms are required to engage citizens in service delivery and decision-making processes which are citizen- and user-centric and, where relevant, user-driven via co-creation and crowdsourcing through decentralized governance systems.

Finally, and often underpinning the other enabling factors, it is essential to harness the power of new technology through appropriate ICT management strategies for enhanced collaboration. The global spread of the Internet and the application of ICT in government, as well as greater investments in telecommunication infrastructure coupled with capacity-building in human capital, can provide opportunities to transform public administration into an instrument of collaborative governance which directly supports sustainable development outcomes.