International Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (IN-CSR) attendance at the 18th Session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) at the United Nation Headquarters New York, United States of America, 8-12th April 2019.

The International Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (IN-CSR) participated as the only Nigerian organisation at the just concluded 18th Session of Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA), as a Non-Governmental Organisation. The theme of this year’s session is “Building Strong Institutions for Inclusive and Equal Societies “. Under this theme, Sustainable Development Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions appears prominently as pivotal to efficient and effective public administration.

The Chairman of the Session, Ms Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi worked through the challenges and areas of innovation in the public service with member states of CEPA and other participants. It was evident that building strong institutions are the necessary elements in creating an inclusive and equal societies. Inclusiveness and equality are encompassed in access to justice, a goal of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16. As a focus of the 18th Session, SDG 16 is broad and deep which aims to target institutions such as administration of justice as a cardinal pathway to an equal and inclusive society.One of the issues raised at the meeting revolves around the adverse effect of inequality which one argues, breaks societies apart. One of the ways to lessen the gap requires empowerment which the local governments and civil society organisations have a role to play in engendering inclusiveness and empowerment.

In addition, access to quality education was considered the key driver for achieving the sustainable development goals. Education is vital to the development agenda of any society and so, for a country like Bangaladeshh and many other developing countries, it is an important development agenda intended to ensure inclusiveness and growth. Nigeria may need to review its priorities as regards the sustainable development goals in this light.

For many countries as well, access to justice is fundamental to maintain a functional and civil society as it guarantees equality before the law and by implication, inclusiveness. Therefore, developing appropriate and functional national policies for administration of justice is very important to many countries. Uruguay is one of the countries that have developed a participatory model whereby public prosecutors have access to single digital registry for crimes so that they are able to access information on the number of charges made. The judiciary is vital for accountability in the administrative system of any country which is why in Guatemala, the three arms of government have made commitment to high ethical standard, transparency and accountability – the basis on which they engage with SDG 16.Integrating the SDGs into the National Development Plan of countries is imperative for efficient public administration. It is, therefore, not misplaced to have an integrative approach to public service because it in only through such model that access to information, participatory governance and access to justice are promoted.

In the public service administration across the countries, the 18th session of CEPA recognized that corruption is a major obstacle to achieving SDG 16. The question then becomes how can the public service be made sustainable? This issue was raised against the backdrop of lack of access to information, lack of access to justice and corruption, which all undermine institutions that sustain the society and the economy.It is recommended that there should be empowerment which must come through participation, mandatory and open information regarding positions in the public service, salaries, and promotion. Further, innovation in the public service administration should also be encouraged through competition, strengthening of human resources and establishment of transparency law.


UN Reference page for other publications on the Conference

Prepared by Dr Rita Ozoemena [Executive Secretary,IN-CSR]