I. Thematic Focus
Ensuring no one is left behind is the overarching principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As highlighted by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, leaving no one behind means, “listening to the views and guidance of people living in poverty and acting together with them”. In every country, vulnerable groups – typically the youth, women, older persons, refugees, migrants, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities or other minorities – confront barriers that prevent them from fully participating in their nation’s political, economic, and social life. These groups are excluded through several practices that discriminate people based on gender, race, ethnicity, or disability status.
Most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are linked to the delivery of inclusive and equitable public services, which are especially critical for vulnerable groups. Vulnerable groups, especially those experiencing multiple dimensions of vulnerability and limited by their social condition and position in society, can benefit from innovative public service delivery that is targeted to meet their complex needs. The COVID-19 pandemic has further marginalized vulnerable groups and exacerbated their vulnerabilities, pushing back into extreme poverty an estimated 71 million people in 2020, the first rise in global poverty since 1998. Inclusive and participatory governance and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are essential to address these challenges, particularly by improving service delivery and engaging vulnerable groups in policy designing, implementation and monitoring and reviewing. Empowerment is essential to support vulnerable groups to take part in social and economic life, as well as to contribute to economic development and employment.
These vulnerabilities facing vulnerable groups, especially during public health emergencies like the COVID-19, range from lack of resilience in the face of disasters to the inability to cope with external shocks, and in the short, medium as well as the long term. If the vulnerabilities of vulnerable groups are not duly addressed, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be not be achieved.
Countries have fully acknowledged the need to move from business-as-usual governance to innovation for inclusiveness of vulnerable groups, especially the youth, women, and older persons. Governments expressed their difficulties in empowering vulnerable groups and involving them in decision-making, building local leadership, and enhancing collaboration among government, civil society organizations, local communities, and vulnerable groups.
These challenges call for innovation in the government approaches and for increased and tailored public administration capacities at all levels, with transformational leadership and changing mindsets of public officials at the local level. This implies the need for a new direction in public-sector reform, at all levels of government: moving away from a sole focus on efficiency and restoring the balance with the three headline principles of effective governance for sustainable development proposed by the UN Committee of Expert on Public Administration (CEPA) and endorsed by UN ECOSOC in 2018 which are: effectiveness, inclusiveness and accountability. Particularly, government innovation requires a paradigm shift in governance towards inclusive and participatory governance, which fosters the inclusiveness and empowerment of vulnerable groups.
ICTs, especially frontier technologies and digital government, are effective means of government innovation to enable the social inclusion of vulnerable groups. To better exploit the potential of ICTs and digital government for social inclusion of vulnerable groups, government should work together with ICT businesses, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to bridge the digital divide and improve the digital inclusion for all.
Moreover, due to the limited capacities of governments to break the cycle and barriers of social inclusion of vulnerable groups, especially in many developing countries, government would have to adopt new approaches to financing and partnership building to overcome the financing gap and solicit whole-of-society support.
II. Learning Objectives
By the end of the Online Training, participants will be able to:
- Improve the understanding of different approaches to governance innovation and challenges in government innovation for social inclusion of vulnerable groups;
- Acquire the knowledge on the innovative approaches and strategies, especially leveraging frontier technologies and digital government, for effective social inclusion;
- Learn how to ensure that the special vulnerabilities and demands of vulnerable groups are reflected in responses and policies during public health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Strengthen capacities in innovative financing and building effective partnerships for social inclusion of vulnerable groups;
- Understand the importance of fostering inclusive mindsets of government officials and other relevant stakeholders, which leads to more inclusive societies through the empowerment and engagement of vulnerable groups; and
- Share knowledge and exchange good practices of innovating governance for social inclusion of vulnerable groups.
III. Structure & Session Themes
Opening and Introduction
Session 1: Innovative Governance Toward Inclusive and Participatory Governance
This Session will address governance innovation in the context of social inclusion of vulnerable groups. It will introduce diverse fundamental issues, including key principles of effective governance, i.e. effectiveness, accountability and inclusiveness, innovating governance to integrate inclusiveness, and empowerment of vulnerable groups.
This Session will also cover the capacities which public servants are required to be equipped with to promote and implement government innovation for social inclusion of vulnerable groups. It will specifically address leadership and mindset change, i.e. flexibility, thinking out-of-the-box and overcoming silo behavior, as well as institutional, organizational and technical capacities of public institutions; and provide policy suggestions on how to foster the capacities to innovate and how to remove factors that hinder those capacities.
Session 2: Leveraging Digital Government and Frontier Technologies
This Session will showcase the practical applications of frontier technologies and digital government for social inclusion of vulnerable groups. By leveraging technologies such as big data and data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and more, governments can be better equipped to effectively include vulnerable groups in policy consultation and decision-making process.
Experts will present solutions that countries have in integrating innovations and ICTs into government programming for social inclusion of vulnerable groups. It will cover many areas such as enhancing the role of ICTs and digital government for engagement and inclusion of vulnerable groups.
Session 3: Ensuring Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups during Public Health Emergencies
This Session will examine the special vulnerabilities of vulnerable groups during public health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic; the impact of public health emergencies to vulnerable groups; the strategies and approaches of government innovation for inclusion of vulnerable groups during public health emergencies; and challenges and policy considerations. This Session will also present innovative practices of engaging the vulnerable groups in disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy designing, implementation, and monitoring and review processes and building an enabling ecosystem for inclusive DRR strategies, especially by harnessing data and ICTs/frontier technologies.
Session 4: Financing ad Partnerships for Social Inclusion
This Session will introduce new approaches to financing and partnership for social inclusion, especially the private funding and blended financing to overcome the financing gap. In addition to the traditional approaches to partnership such as Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), an enabling ecosystem with the full engagement of all stakeholders, particularly civil society organizations, academia, and volunteers, has to be built up to achieve more comprehensive solutions. Effective partnership will be conducive to delivering more inclusive essential services, especially employment, education, health, social protection, and water and sanitation, and facilitating engagement of vulnerable groups through multi-channels. Innovative financing and effective partnership are critical for breaking the vicious cycle and barriers to social inclusion.
This Session will also introduce the innovative approach to promoting private sector contributions through creating a strategic framework based on leadership, mobilization of funds, channeling of those funds social inclusion of vulnerable groups.
Summary & Closing
- Tuesday 3 & Thursday 5 November 2020
- Contact Information
Ms. Mi Kyoung Park
Governance and Public Administration Officer
Mr. Prabin Maharjan
Associate Research and Policy Analysis Expert
Ms. Arifah Sharifuddin
Digital Inclusion Division
Mr. Jaspreet Singh
Global Manager, Innovations and Financial Health