Statement by RR Walid Badawi, at the Official Launching of APRM Baseline Study on CEPA Principles for Effective Governance of SDGs in Africa

September 28, 2021

UNDP Kenya RR Walid Badawi at the APRM Baseline Study

Your Excellencies

Distinguished participants

It is gives me great pleasure to join you today at the official launch of the APRM Baseline Study on UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) Principles for Effective Governance of SDGs in Africa. I am also pleased to welcome you to the beautiful city of Nairobi and hoping you enjoy every moment of your stay here. That you have made efforts to be here in-person to participate in this important occasion despite COVID 19, reflects your commitment to the achievement of the SDGs in Africa.

Let me congratulate the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) for the efforts to undertake the baseline study and articulating how the Principles can be implemented for the achievement of the SDGs as well as the African Union Agenda 2063 in respective member states.  Implementation of CEPA Principles will accelerate progress on the SDGs which must be heightened considering we have less than 9 years to go.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

The CEPA Principles have never been more relevant than today with the outbreak of COVID19 pandemic. As we all know, the pandemic has helped to expose the under belly of the weaknesses in health systems and institutions in various countries and has posed a serious concern for public administration. We are well aware that institutions play a critical role in the achievement of the SDGs and Agenda 2063. While many countries have initiated reforms to fast track the implementation of SDG targets, COVID-19 has delayed progress in implementing those reforms thereby inhibiting government effectiveness in many countries. It is estimated that Africa’s economic growth fell from 3.4% in 2019 to 1.8% in 2020[1]. It is projected that the pandemic will push an additional 43 million Africans into poverty[2]. COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of the service sector in Africa, in particular travel and tourism which were hardest hit. The weak health sector, laid bare in the inadequate testing and tracing capacity, insufficient hospital beds for COVID-19 patients and limited access to vaccines, is contrary to the 2001 Abuja Declaration commitment to allocate at least 15% of annual budgets to health sectors.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Here is where the CEPA Principles will become the silver bullet in the process of building back better and recovering from the pandemic. First, it is the duty of both the public and private sectors to support implementation of the SDGs but how they work to deliver the results remains challenging. Second, there is the acknowledgement that governance is central to the implementation of all the SDGs targets - governance that addresses institutional arrangements and structures that support implementation of the SDGs and governance as a goal to be achieved as articulated in Goal 16. The contexts of effectiveness, accountability and inclusiveness within which CEPA principles are framed aim to ensure that no-one is left behind.

The African Union has articulated many progressive normative frameworks that contribute effectively towards the implementation of the CEPA Principles. For instance, the African Union’s Charter on Governance, Democracy and Elections is anchored on the recognition that effective governance, peacebuilding and conflict prevention are critical to strengthening the social contract between the people and the state, promoting social cohesion among citizens, and sustaining political stability. Effective, accountable and responsive institutions, a democratic culture, protection of human rights, gender equality, youth engagement, inclusivity, transparency, peaceful co-existence, social cohesion, and rule of law and transformational leadership are pre-requisites for Africa’s political and socioeconomic development.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Norms setting provide the pathway for achieving the desired changes. Those norms have to be implemented. On this note, I wish to congratulate and commend the Government of Kenya for ratifying the African Union Charter on Governance, Democracy and Elections which provides a solid foundation for the implementation of the CEPA principles in Kenya. These principles are embedded in UNDP core work in Kenya as well as in many countries around the world. UNDP goes beyond the traditional concept of governance, to promote the concept of “The Governance of Things” which is critical to focus on frameworks and institutions that facilitate the delivery of political, social, environmental, security, financial and economic services to all citizens at household, community, sub-national and national levels. It also includes ensuring democratic governance of the security sector to limit the proliferation of small arms and light weapons especially in the Borderlands.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

UNDP has embarked on reimaging governance and peacebuilding in Africa. The need for a people-centered approach to governance and peacebuilding cannot be overstated, especially at a time when the trust between the people and the state is under strain. Effective governance is critical to achieving the SDGs and, therefore, a foundation for UNDP’s development work. UNDP is therefore examining the different levels of governance (national, provincial/state and local) recognizing that the main interface between the citizens and the state is typically at the sub-national levels. COVID-19 has shown that as national levels of governance have been overwhelmed, sub-national levels of government have taken on more tasks. Exploring the interface and dynamics between national and local level is important in order to ensure service delivery, equality and accountability at the various tiers of government. The process which started in July 2021 is expected to support post-pandemic recovery through key people-centered approaches for deeper investment and focus on the governance and peacebuilding areas that support the restoration of the social contract, promote transformational leadership, promote digital governance and support inclusive governance through leveraging on new opportunities to deliver on the SDG16 targets.

We at UNDP are committed to pressing the frontiers of development such that no-one is left behind; to accelerating local action for global change while pushing the boundaries in how we think, deliver, invest and manage to drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. We are proud to say that UNDP interventions in Kenya help to address poverty, inequality and exclusion by supporting communities and government through innovative sustainable interventions for inclusive human development and economic growth through the Country Programme Document (CPD 2018-22) under three main priorities: (i) Governance, Peace and Security; (ii) Inclusive Growth and Structural Transformation; and (iii) Environmental Sustainability, Climate Change and Resilience which is fully aligned to the UNDAF (2018-2022). We are also excited to announce that we will leverage our SDGs integrator role to bring together other UN agencies to design and facilitate relevant opportunities and platforms accessible to young people as key drivers for infusing innovative approaches and thinking in development through our Accelerator Lab which focuses on youth employment and empowerment.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish you a very successful launch of the Baseline Study on CEPA Principles for Effective Governance of SDGs in Africa.

Asanteni Sana


[1] See Economic Commission for Africa: 2020 Economic Report on Africa (ECA: Addis Ababa), page XVI. 

[2] See Akinwumi A. Adesina, “Building African economies back, better and stronger than before”,Foresight Africa 2021, (Washington DC-Brookings Institution 2021), page 67.