Helping countries build strong institutions for the achievement of the SDGs
The Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) is a UN technical advisory body that studies and makes recommendations to improve governance and public administration structures and processes for development. It assists ECOSOC by reviewing trends, issues and priorities in public administration, notably in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in support of the implementation and progress reviews of the SDGs.
Executive direction of the Committee’s work is provided by five officers elected from among the members who together constitute the Bureau. The Bureau comprises the Chair, three Vice-Chairs and a Rapporteur. The officers are elected by the members for a one-year period bearing in mind the need to ensure geographical and gender balance.
The Committee is comprised of 24 experts who serve in their personal capacity. The experts are nominated by the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, and approved by ECOSOC. The membership is drawn from the interrelated fields of public economics, public administration, and public finance and reflects geographical and gender balance. The term of office is four years.
Frequency of meetings
The Committee meets annually for one week at UN Headquarters in New York. On an exceptional basis, the Committee met virtually in 2020 and 2021, and in a hybrid format in 2022, due to limitations on in-person meetings related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Next session:
The provisional agenda for the session is approved by ECOSOC on the recommendation of the Committee. The Committee prepares its agenda with an emphasis on the forward-looking study of critical issues in governance and public administration relevant to the implementation of and follow-up to the 2030 Agenda. In discussing its agenda, the Committee also reflects on its longer-term programme of work, aiming to build on the experience and accomplishments of previous years.
The principles of effective governance for sustainable development, endorsed by ECOSOC in July 2018, provide a cross-cutting and interconnected framework for the Committee’s work. Subnational perspectives may also become a cross cutting component of the Committee’s future policy analysis.
Methods of work
During the intersessional period, the members organize themselves into informal working groups based on the agenda to prepare the groundwork for the annual session. Working group members collaborate to produce expert papers that form part of the official documentation and starting point for the Committee’s in-person deliberations. Supplementary conference room papers are sometimes also circulated for information and reflection.
The documentation is prepared bearing in mind the need to produce technical and expert analysis, assessments and policy recommendations to inform efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda, as stipulated in GA resolution 72/305. The Committee has shown increasing interest in pursuing interdisciplinary approaches to the items on its approved agenda and emphasizes that the analysis of problems, to the extent possible, should be accompanied by actionable advice on policy solutions.
Current working groups:
Application of governance principles
Climate change and natural resources
Dialogue with VNR countries/VLR cities
ECOSOC and HLPF theme
Public financial management
Public sector workforce
The outcome of the session takes the form of a draft resolution that is reviewed and eventually adopted as a resolution of ECOSOC, and a draft report that documents the discussions. The draft resolution is the key normative outcome of CEPA and calls for follow-up by various actors. The report conveys the main observations and conclusions that led to the policy advice in the draft resolution and serves to keep ECOSOC abreast of the work of the Committee.
At the invitation of the President of ECOSOC, CEPA also conveys a written input to the high-level political forum on sustainable development, which addresses governance and public administrations aspects of the annual theme and contains key messages and recommendations for possible inclusion in the Ministerial Declaration.
Participation of observers
The Committee welcomes the participation of observers in its sessions, including Member States, Permanent Observers, UN organizations, schools and institutes of public administration, non-Governmental organizations competent in the field of public administration and other relevant stakeholders.
CEPA is supported by a small Secretariat in the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA).
Secretariat of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration
Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
2 UN Plaza, Room DC2-1729
New York, NY 10017
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