Participation of UCLG Africa to the 23rd Annual Session of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (UN-CEPA) 

The 23rd Session of the United Nation’s Committee of Experts on Public Administration (UN-CEPA) took place at the UN Headquarters in New York from 15 to 19 April 2024.  The official opening was marked by the remarks of H.E. Ms. Paula Narvaez, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and Mr. Navid Hanif, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. They both emphasized that the implementation of the SDGs is not on a good track due to the current challenging context, and that urgent actions must be taken through public institutions and effective governance. 

The Committee had the opportunity to examine a range of issues in governance and public administration that are central to ongoing efforts to implement the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including: 1. Institutional aspects of the theme of the 2024 session of the Economic and Social Council and the 2024 High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development. 2. Peer exchange with Voluntary National Review (VNRs) countries and Voluntary Local Review (VLRs) cities on experiences and promising practices in implementing Sustainable Development Goals 16 and 17. 3. Institutions, climate action and environment. 4. Principles of effective governance for sustainable development. 5. Public sector workforce matters. 6. Public financial management. 7. Digital government. 8. Institution building in fragile and conflict-affected areas. 

As a leader and coordinator of the CEPA Working Group on the Principles of Effective Governance for Sustainable Development, Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of Development, Knowledge Management and the African Local Governments Academy (ALGA) of UCLG Africa, coordinated the preparation of a UN document on: “Building inclusive institutions that leave no one behind at the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” 

In the framework of the sound partnership with the UCLG Capacity and Institution Building (CIB) Working Group, the VNG Association and The Hague Academy, Dr.  Zarrouk mobilized the Hon. Mr. Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague and member of the Presidency of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), who granted an inspiring segment through a video message below. 

Peer exchange with VNRs countries and VLRs cities on experiences and promising practices on implementing SDG 16 and 17 

For its 23rd session, the Committee invited again a small number of Voluntary National Review (VNRs) countries and Voluntary Local Review (VLRs) cities to engage in an interactive exchange on the institutional aspects of Sustainable Development Goals 16 and 17, considering the interlinkages with the other SDGs. This segment included reflections on the use of effective governance principles for sustainable development, endorsed by the Council in July 2018 as a guide to reinforcing the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises. The experts were invited to prepare insights for consideration based on country inputs, identify challenges, pose questions and provide proposals that could contribute to accelerated actions towards SDG 13. The Committee continued its consideration of how best to support the effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions to advance the Decade of action and deliver on the SDGs, building on the process of VNRs reviews conducted by the High-Level Political Forum. 

Participation to the CEPA Annual Session side events  

On 15 April 2024 was held a side event on “Inter-Federative relations to reduce inequalities and accelerate the implementation of the SDGs”, co-organized by UN-DESA, the National School of Public Administration of Brazil (ENAP) and the Ministry of Management and Innovation in Public Services. The panelists shared their training and capacity building vision, activities and methodologies targeting 11 million civil servants at the 3 levels of governance (federal, sub-federal and municipal), mobilizing a massive financial and intellectual investment, making sure to move from theory to practice, and thinking differently. Their strategy is based on strategic and concrete actions based on systemic, holistic and transformative approaches.  

Another side event took place on 17 April on the theme “Progress, challenges and prospects of e-government: experience and cases of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan”, organized by UNDP Astana Civil Service Hub (ACSH). 

The annual meeting of the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) was organized by UN DESA’s Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) on 18 April.   In the framework of the sound collaboration between UNDESA-DPIDG and the UCLG Africa Academy (ALGA), Dr. Najat Zarrouk took part in this annual meeting alongside the UNPAN community. As a global platform, UNPAN was created in 1999 and gathers today more than 200 members from around the world. It’s a platform for access to information on public institutions and public governance, capacity building, benchmarking, and showcasing best practices, which benefits thousands of users. 

On 19 April, a visit was undertaken to the African Union Mission to the United Nations. Based on an initiative from the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a delegation of CEPA members and participants to the annual session, led by CEPA Chairperson, Hon. Ms. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, was welcomed by H.E. Ambassador Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, to discuss the Committee proceedings and recommendations, as well as the APRM continental support to mainstream UNDESA/CEPA Principles of Effective Governance. Both parties agreed to take advantage of the CEPA annual session to organize African events and highlight the African perspective, challenges and innovations. 

Read the the paper prepared by Committee member Najat Zarrouk, in collaboration with fellow Committee members Sherifa Sherif,  Augustin Fosu, Aigul Kosherbayeva, Juraj Nemec and Carlos Santiso : LNOB PAPER UN CEPA 2024 n2402456