Public Administration & Governance for the SDGs

MAY 2021 – In an Open Access article on Public Administration and Governance (PAG) for the SDGs, Louis Meuleman proposes four priorities to accelerate implementation of the SDGs:  1) making PAG a strategic policy area; 2) starting mission-oriented PAG reform; 3) metagovernance as management & design; 4) policy coherence as mindset. 

Abstract: This article highlights four key reform challenges regarding the quality of public administration and governance (PAG), aimed at increasing ‘SDG-readiness’ at all levels of administration, in a nexus characterized by complexity, volatility, pluriformity and uncertainty. Based on others’ research into how EU Member States institutionalize the implementation of the SDGs, a critical review of SDG-governance approaches, as well as a review paper on the management of the SDGs, it is concluded that that four priority areas could guide research and policy development to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Firstly, to recognize that creating an effective public administration and governance is an important strategic policy area. Secondly, to begin with mission-oriented public administration and governance reform for SDG implementation, replacing the efficiency-driven public sector reform of the past decades. Thirdly, to apply culturally sensitive metagovernance to design, define and manage trade-offs and achieving synergies between SDGs and their targets. Fourthly, to start concerted efforts to improve policy coherence with a mindset beyond political, institutional, and mental ‘silos’.