Major investment is needed to strengthen public sector capabilities to accelerate the SDGs

Statement delivered by Haoliang Xu at the FutureGov High Impact Initiative, event of the SDGs Action Weekend, UNGA, NY HQ

September 18, 2023

Excellencies, Ministers, distinguished delegates, and colleagues, 

It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of UNDP and UN DESA, to open this session marking the launch of the  High Impact Initiative “FutureGov: building public sector capabilities for the future.” 

Why are we here?

We are gathered here at the halfway point to the 2030 deadline. We have been hearing of the urgent need to accelerate progress towards the SDGs. 

At this pivotal juncture, we must collectively renew momentum, rally political leadership, and provide support to national plans and priorities to meet the 2030 targets.

To accomplish this, the United Nations development system has mobilized behind 12 high impact initiatives, which provide platforms to accelerate and scale SDGs progress. 

Importance of Public Sector/FutureGov

The FutureGov High Impact Initiative on “Building Public Sector Capabilities’, led by UN DESA and UNDP, is one of the key means of implementation in closing the SDGs gap.

The public sector plays an essential role in supporting populations, and providing delivery capacity for critical services, including shelter, food, education, social protection and healthcare, as well as upholding fundamental rights, including gender equality and the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

However, as the world becomes increasingly volatile, uncertain, and complex, public institutions can no longer do business as usual. 

Governments must be equipped to anticipate development risks and effectively adapt and transform their capacities for sustainable and inclusive development in ways that address the aspirations of their people. 

Major investment is needed to strengthen public sector capabilities to unlock accelerated delivery of the SDGs.

In this context, the FutureGov initiative will rally Member States and development partners to collectively create and deliver innovative approaches to public sector capacity building.

To achieve this vision, FutureGov focuses on three pillars of public sector transformation – 

  • building public sector skillsets, 
  • shifting mindsets towards system thinking and foresight, and 
  • enabling broader and more impactful innovation, beyond digital innovation, incorporating social and policy innovation.

FutureGov Implementation

It therefore gives me great pleasure to launch the FutureGov Facility – a collaboration between UN DESA, UNDP, and a coalition of countries and development partners committed to enhancing this public sector transformation vision.

FutureGov will assemble a coalition of front-runner member states and institutions to form a Group of Friends of FutureGov, committed to supporting peer countries through the FutureGov Facility.

Aligning Capabilities and Efforts

The FutureGov initiative will build on the core competencies and work of UNDP teams in governance, strategic and social innovation, gender equality and sustainable finance. It will leverage the global network of UNDP accelerator labs, as well as drawing on foresight work led by the UNDP Administrator’s Office.

It will bring UNDESA’s expertise in public administration and e-governance, including through the insights and experience of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA).

This initiative will also align closely with the Secretary General’s vision for UN 2.0, which you will hear more about shortly from USG Guy Ryder.

We also welcome the participation and collaboration of our development partner – the World Bank Group (VP Pablo Saavedra) – present here on this occasion. We look forward to working with you.

Most importantly, the FutureGov Facility will draw upon the collective strength and knowledge of the champions assembled here. I warmly welcome insights on public sector transformation to be shared by your excellencies from Ecuador, Georgia, Italy, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, Romania, Singapore, and the UAE, as well as our youth representative.

In closing, I would reiterate that although much work needs to be accomplished, I am confident that our concerted efforts in the post-summit follow-up activities, can accelerate the progress which is so critical during these challenging times. 

The FutureGov Facility supported by our Group of Friends will produce an actionable roadmap for implementation and reporting at upcoming HLPF meetings, including next year’s Summit of the Future.

I wish you all success at this meeting and for all post-session interactions and activities, as the real work commences.

Thank you.