The UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration, created by ECOSOC in 2001, meets on an annual basis. There are 24 experts from various backgrounds who are appointed by the UN for a period of 4 years. The latest CEPA meeting started Monday and DGG Director was invited to speak in one if the opening sessions (for details see: http://www.unpan.org/DPADM/CEPA/12thSession/tabid/1544/language/en-US/Default.aspx).
CEPA prepared a paper on governance and the post-2015 development agenda (see CEPA – Annex 8) which tackled several issues including the MDGs, local governance, e-government and ICT for development. UNDP was supposed to provide inputs on this paper at the panel. I was requested to provide feedback with very little time.
This is what I submitted.
1. Governance: Governance in indeed a critical enabler for the achievement of the MDGs and the upcoming post2015 agenda. But governance, specially democratic governance can also be seen as en end itself, a necessary one to support long term sustainable development. We cannot simply say for example that once the MDGs are achieve governance stop being a factor in the development equation.
2. MAF. UNDP along with the UNDG developed the MAF in 2010 to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs. UNDP has produce over 100 MAF reports on the situation in developing countries which should be taken into account not only for this paper but also for the post-2015 agenda. These reports, completed by local partners to support national ownership, contain values information on good practices, lessons learned and current challenges and failures on the implementation of the MDGs. We need to learn from the past to avoid making the same mistakes in the future ( I am attaching my paper on ICTS and MAF which I presented at the Global MDG Meeting – MDG-innovations-ICTs).
3. Localization. Around 2006, UNDP launched a global campaign and programmes to localize the MDGs, in response to the apparent lack of national
ownership. Over 80 countries were involved and some even developed their own MDGs. Again we should learn about this to beef up the recommendations that the paper makes on this topic. We must build on the shoulders of those who did plenty of on the ground work here.
4. Data at the local level. This is indeed an excellent point but one that need to be addressed properly. Nowadays, it is quite easy and affordable to get stakeholder inputs at the local level using new ICTs. Big data has become a buzz word and local governments need to be prepared to handle this. (link to the next point)
5. Transformational government/e-government. First, we should consider calling this transformational governance as the core issue is not only to transform government institutions but mail to have innovative governance mechanisms where citizens and stakeholders are on “equal” foot vis-a-vis governments in making decisions, overseeing processes, fostering transparency and accountability. Second, participation is thus the key governance factor that needs to be strengthened at all levels. Third, the rapid diffusion of new ICTs since 2000 have put in the hands of billions of people, specially the emerging middle classes in developing countries, new information and communication tools that are now being used to make additional demands on governments. The latter however are still ill prepared to handle this effectively. Governments, specially local one, need to build this capacity to ensure adequate response, target key service delivery and foster oversight by all parties. This entails not only the use of new ICTs as tools but also requires a new governance framework where the participation of local stakeholders is effectively institutionalized (but not co-opted!).