A professional, capable and responsive public service is important to deliver value and drive citizens’ trust in public institutions.
Civil servants at all levels and in all institutions will need to obtain skills that take them beyond their traditional operating environment and challenge them to think and act in new, cross- disciplinary ways.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pose a serious set of challenges.
The concept of sustainability is no longer only about the environment. Today, sustainability implies the need for a common strategy to manage threats to our shared future.
The SDGs recognize that responding to these threats and implementing the proposed targets will require innovative and cross-cutting approaches.
While this role has often been attributed to the sciences and natural science in particular, it is important to stress the fundamental role and contributions of other disciplines, including the often-overlooked learning sciences and their impact on education systems and policies.
SDGs cover a wide range of topics that span across a number of government sectors.
Addressing issues such as hunger, inequality, or gender has required a level of transversal effort and horizontal coordination that inevitably transcends the traditional limits of sectorial or ministerial mandates.
For civil services, this requires being able to identify interactions and balance the economic, social, and environmental aspects of policies, while at the same time consider the implications of domestic actions and policies on other countries.
Civil servants need to learn to apply new tools and methods in systems thinking and experimental policy design; and to develop leadership styles that encourage collaboration across ministries and agencies to meet the challenges.
Communicating sustainable development proved to be difficult.
An effective strategy for sustainable development brings together the aspirations and capacities of government, civil society and the private sector to create a vision for the future, and to work tactically and progressively towards it.
It needs commitment to long-term social interaction to achieve a shared understanding of sustainable development and its implications, and promoting capacity building to find solutions to the challenges.
It requires much more than public relations initiatives through information campaigns and the media.