Embracing the new global development agenda

Jun 11, 2015

Experts from the United Nations Development Programme spoke at the Civil Service University about the role of civil servants in embracing the new global development agenda. Organized by the university as part of its public lecture series, the event enabled the participants understand the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and identify the roles they could play in its implementation.

UNDP guest speaker and policy specialist, Mr. Fekadu Terefe, outlined how the SDGs are designed, its nature compared with the ending Millennium Development Goals and the consultations that took place following the formulation of the goals in the RIO+20 meeting in Brazil.  

He elucidated that the SDGs are broadly defined as ambitious carrying 17 goals vis-à-vis the predecessor MDGs which contained eight goals. “The unfinished business of the MDGs on the eradication of poverty and hunger and on meeting other basic human needs is incorporated in the SDGs,” he affirmed.

The lecture pointed out the universal nature of the new goals to be implemented by both developed and developing nations. The challenge of the implementation will not be easy for developing countries like Ethiopia. However, contextualizing the level of development, investing in data, designing of sound indicators, capacity building, good governance, citizen engagement and national ownership of the goals could help in the successful implementation of the SDGs.

The lecture also explicitly stated the critical role civil servants play in the achievement of the SDGs. Speaking at the event, Mr. Fisseha Mekonnen, Governance Programme Specialist at the UNDP, stressed that, “civil servants need to understand the SDGs in its entirety to establish an efficient, accountable and transparent public institutions that are capable of implementing the SDGs.”

The support of UNDP to the Institute of Leadership and Good Governance is a good example of such efforts that builds the capacity of civil servants and institutions responsible to advance the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan.

Mr. Fisseha added that investment in human capital, realistic policy design, the use of data for decision making, e-governance and the fight against corruption are some of the other factors that facilitate the implementation of the SDGs.

Following both talks, the audience raised questions that needed further clarification. Some of these included the practicality of the SDGs in developing countries, the issue of the capacity of the civil service in Ethiopia to implement the SDGs and the financing of the development goals.

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