This Compendium of Innovative Practices in Public Governance and Administration for Sustainable Development explores three shifts in government-society interactions that have had significant impact on public administration and public service . These are the (i) demand for more people-centered governance, (ii) greater use of ICT technologies in public sector, and (iii) demand for high-quality human resources in public sector to deal with increasingly more complex development imperatives.
People-centered approaches (Chapter 2) represent an important shift in public governance. With this, policy making is brought closer to people by engaging them in policy development, implementation and more direct evaluation. Public service delivery is designed around the needs and preferences of people rather than organizational structure of government. People-centered models turn people into partners, collaborators and co-creators of public services. We move from governing for people to governing with people and the kind of “participatory decision making” to which the 2030 Agenda aspires.
The use of ICTs in public sector (Chapter 3) increasingly changes the models of public service delivery. Technology holds a potential to open new opportunities for people, promote participation and engagement, responsiveness, transparency, accountability, connectedness, innovation, and more sustainable outcomes of policy implementation. This can strengthen the overall legitimacy of governments. Although technology promotes progress, the process of empowering people through the use of technology is not spontaneous. Ensuring physical access to technology is one of the necessary conditions for capturing the huge opportunities of ICT for addressing poverty. Also important are the skills of potential users and their ability to access, analyze and interpret information. In this sense, ICTs should be seen as a means to people empowerment, not an end.
Highly trained and versatile human resources (Chapter 4) in public administration are in greater demand than ever. Governance for sustainability requires a well-functioning public administration with effective organizations and highly qualified, committed staff. It is essential that public administration is driven by the ultimate goal of sustainable development. This requires not only an alignment of public service incentives with the new sustainable developmental framework, but also an increased awareness of government employees on the challenge of sustainable development and their role in the process and in reaching the poorest and most vulnerable.
This Compendium contains both substantive analysis and case studies on these three important themes. It is our hope that the Compendium will function as a useful reference and illustrate that promoting innovative practices in public service delivery is vital for achieving the sustainable development goals and leaving no one behind.