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Kenya to host symposium on strengthening capacities of public institutions in East Africa

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Kenya will next week host a three-day symposium on Strengthening Capacities of Public Institutions for Transformation, Innovation and Ethical Leadership to Realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 in East Africa.

The symposium, which is being organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), in collaboration with the Kenyan government and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), seeks to strengthen the capacities of government officials in East Africa to transform their public institutions and accelerate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), a key partner of the African Union, will participate in the symposium.

Economic Affairs Officer, Eunice Ajambo, is one of those representing the ECA at the symposium.

“The achievement of Agendas 2030 and 2063 is wholly hinged on public service. All the development goals require the provision of public services, or the implementation of policy that requires public service to coordinate, mediate or provide,” says Ms. Ajambo.

“From the perspective of the ordinary African, we are asking ourselves, what is the scorecard on how well are we doing, to deliver to them come 2030? What is the status of our institutions? How effectively are we sourcing, and efficiently utilizing resources towards public investment? What is the role of, and the feedback from the average African public servant? It is about principles of accountability, transparency, participation, inclusiveness, responsiveness. It is about the place of innovation.  And public service motivation is a must.”

The symposium aims to reflect on how best to mobilize, organize and equip institutions to effectively promote sustainable development by taking stock of progress made in the implementation of both agendas.

It will also provide an opportunity to discuss how to promote government innovation for social inclusion of vulnerable groups, with a focus on youth, gender and persons with disabilities. It will also engage with the task force of schools of public administration from East Africa under the Global Initiative of Schools of Public Administration to Implement the SDGs with the aim to develop and update public service training curricula and public service performance management frameworks, integrating key competencies and skills needed for public servants to implement the 2030 Agenda.

Organizers say the 2063 Agenda and the 2030 Agenda will not be realized unless public institutions in Africa become more effective, accountable and inclusive and unless services are delivered in a more equitable manner, considering the needs of the most vulnerable groups in society.

“This is about promoting, supporting, and strengthening the capacities, and the enabling environment in which public services can be effectively and efficiently delivered and provided by all relevant actors,” adds Ms. Ajambo.

While countries in East Africa have registered great progress in establishing democratic governance systems, including by regularly holding elections, significant efforts and country-level commitments are needed to consolidate good governance and build lasting peace. East African countries highlighted, through the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) they presented at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 that: “weak multi-sectoral implementation planning” and national to local “community engagement” are still major challenges.

The symposium will be held from 16 to 18 October 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya at the Kenya School of Government.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).