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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development goals constitute a transformational agenda for the whole world. “Public service is a critical component for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) […] we need to pioneer new approaches, work differently, take risks and innovate,” (Secretary-General Guterres at the TazaKoom Conference on Public Service in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, June 2017). The values and principles contained in the 2030 Agenda, notably inclusion, equity, equality, social justice and social protection, integration, leaving no one behind, transformation, partnership, collaboration and resilience when inculcated in society and development processes will lead to sustainable development and a good society. This will happen if, among other things, the public service and other public-sector institutions undergo transformation to be creative and innovative. In any country, the public service is a critical contributor to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. There are many things the public service in every country has to do to implement or facilitate the implementation of the Agenda to achieve SDGs.

These include: policy and strategy planning, providing accessible, affordable and quality services to all, developing infrastructure, mobilizing resources, monitoring and evaluating public programs, projects and development activities and developing institutional and human resource capacities. Such important tasks cannot lead to transformation if they are undertaken ‘as usual”. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for transformation through enhanced creativity and innovation in the public service at all levels of governance and public administration. Through advocacy, empirical and analytical research as well as leadership and human resource capacity development, the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government supports the efforts of Member States to make the public service creative and innovative. One of the flagship activities in this endeavor is the United Nations Public Service Awards programme through which advice, research and capacity development in the public service as well as creativity and innovation are promoted among public sector leaders, human resource managers and public servants.

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