Photo: UNDP Azerbaijan

As prepared for delivery

UN Public Service Forum 2019

Workshop 3: Developing effective and accountable public institutions organized jointly by UNDP and UN DESA

Location: Conference Room №3 2nd Floor (Heydar Aliyev Center)

14:30 – 16:00

Session I. Opening session: The role of effective, inclusive and accountable public sector institutions in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and achievement of SDGs

Dear Ms./Mr. (ASAN representative name TBC), Ms. Severino, Dr. Papuashvili, excellences, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon and a very warm welcome to Baku and to our session on “The role of effective, inclusive and accountable public sector institutions in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and achievement of SDGs”, organized by UNDP with support from UNDESA.

Now, you might think that the title of our session is too long but let me assure you that if we all want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, then effective, inclusive and accountable public sector institutions become of vital importance.

During this dedicated workshop on role of effective, inclusive and accountable public sector institutions, we will zoom in to SDG 16, which promotes effective and accountable institutions for peaceful and inclusive societies, and acts as an important enabler for the achievement of all other SDGs.

Dear colleagues, we are living in the fourth industrial revolution. Disruptive technologies, such as, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, cognitive computing, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D and 4D printing, virtual, augmented and mixed reality, sophisticated digital assistants, autonomous vehicles, cutting-edge genetic technologies and the Internet of Things, they all should be utilized to make the life of our citizens better by transforming institutions to make them more effective, inclusive and accountable. Governments that invest in digital and data capabilities are 3,5 times more likely to deliver successful transformation than those that don’t.

As noted by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner at the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Copenhagen last year, “New technologies, carefully managed, could offer a new generation of open and participatory governance.” At the same time, we should be aware how new technologies can adversely affect the citizens if they are not used in an ethical manner.

However, it is simply not enough for the government to be effective. It should also be transparent, accountable and clean from corruption. Corruption reduces access to quality services, erodes public trust towards public institutions, and undermines sustainable development, peace and security.

Now I would like to remind you of the devastating costs of corruption: according to World Economic Forum, it is estimated that corruption equals more than 5% of global GDP (US$2.6 trillion) with more than US$1 trillion paid in bribes every year. OECD reports that corruption increases the cost of doing business by up to 10% on average.

In Europe and Central Asia 1 in 3 citizens believe that corruption is a main challenge faced by their countries. According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer, 53% of the population consider that governments are doing poor job fighting corruption in public sectors and 3 in 5 citizens think that wealthy individuals have too much undue influence over government decisions. Private sector is no exception – 26% of citizens say that business executives are highly corrupt. At the same time, the main reason more people don’t come forward to report corruption is that they are afraid of the consequences.

With the many challenges that corruption brings, UNDP has assisted the national governments in Europe and Central Asia to strengthen their public administration and anti-corruption mechanisms. Just to give you a couple of examples, UNDP has worked together with our national stakeholders across the ECIS region to improve public service delivery through opening one-stop-shops and digitizing critical services, such as, company and real estate registrations, passports, licenses, permits, more transparent and accessible government-held data for citizens, public procurement reform, and assets and interests’ declaration systems from paper to electronic form.

We are working not only in capitals, but also on the local levels. For example, we have assisted municipalities in the ECIS region to conduct corruption risk assessments and based on these results, design integrity action plans to mitigate corruption risks.

Together with our partners we are also working to strengthen business integrity in private and state-owned companies. This way we try to target the supply side of corruption crime and encourage responsible and ethical business practices.

Corruption can be prevented also by improving public service delivery. To this end, we have been working with a number of governments in the region, in enabling the use of ICT in the public sector to increase its effectiveness, transparency and accountability, with e-services being an important part of UNDP’s assistance. As a result of UNDP’s long history of enhancing the capacity of countries’ public sector with the help of e-Government solutions, there is a lot of good practice, experience and lessons learned that has been accumulated in the region.

“ASAN service” in Azerbaijan is one of such good examples – acting as a one-stop-shop solution for effective and transparent public service delivery. I’m honoured to say that UNDP has a proven track record of success in partnering with the State Agency. Our cooperation involved the establishment of the national citizen feedback system and improved capacity-building for the ISO certification practices. Throughout the years, we have delivered a series of training programs, including

on gender sensitivity in service delivery, have organized study tours, and published a success story on ASAN operations as we facilitated sharing of experience between Azerbaijan and other countries. This has been achieved by utilizing the South-South Cooperation framework as well as through the presentation of the ASAN model in the UNDP Headquarters in New York.

UNDP is committed to supporting countries in strengthening public administration and anti-corruption mechanisms to develop effective, accountable and inclusive institutions that meet the needs of all people, so that no one is left behind. Through innovative, transparent and data-driven approaches, we can address the challenges posed by corruption, improve transparency, accountability and integrity, and accelerate progress on all the SDGs.

Ladies and gentlemen, in closing, I would like to thank you for joining our event and encourage you to actively participate in our workshops.

I thank you and wish you a successful event!

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