Report on Changing Mindsets to Realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Leadership and Public Servants’ Capacities
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The idea of producing a publication on Changing Mindsets to Realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was conceived in 2019 as a follow-up to the workshop on “Mobilizing and Equipping Public Servants to Realize the 2030 Agenda”. The workshop brought together worldwide experts on the subject matter of changing mindsets and allowed for insightful discussions with many schools of public administration. It was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) during the United Nations Public Service Forum in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan.

The publication is intended as a companion document to the Curriculum on Governance for the Sustainable Development Goals and its Toolkit on Changing Mindsets in Public Institutions to Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development developed by UN DESA, Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG). UN DESA/DPIDG’s mission is to support governments in strengthening their capacities to translate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed goals into institutional arrangements, strategies, and programmes for effective service delivery and participatory, accountable, and inclusive decision-making processes.

To facilitate the mainstreaming of the SDGs in the curricula of the schools of public administration, and promote knowledge sharing among these schools, DPIDG has established in 2017 the Global Initiative on Governance for the SDGs to equip public servants with the capacities to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Global Initiative was officially launched during the 2018 UN Public Service Forum in Marrakech, Kingdom of Morocco. It aims to bring into collaboration the directors and trainers from schools, civil service colleges, and similar training institutions to set the foundation for a holistic, participatory and action-oriented learning system, which is essential for generating positive change in the public service and for promoting sustainable development. The Global Initiative also aims at developing the capacities of governments and public servants (in terms of mindsets, knowledge, skills, and leadership competences) to support the implementation of the SDGs, provide data and information about development of national and local governments’ capacities across the world; and support institutional capacity development for improved public service delivery. Finally, the Initiative facilitates North-South and South-South exchange of policy ideas, methodologies and effective governance practices to ensure cross-fertilization and mutual learning.

Scope of the publication
This publication aims to support countries in building their capacities to realize Agenda 2030. It does so by providing key recommendations on how to promote public servants’ mindsets, competencies, and behaviors to foster effectiveness, accountability, and inclusiveness in the public sector.

The publication is divided into two parts. Part I (Chapters 1 to 10) examines key concepts related to changing mindsets. It offers strategies, approaches and tools that can facilitate a change in public servants’ mindsets and behaviors. Part II (Chapters 11 to 15) of the publication provides a regional perspective of what schools of public administration are doing to promote new mindsets and behaviors to achieve the SDGs. It features opportunities, approaches, and accelerators for developing capacities and promoting change in public service.

Access the Toolkit on Changing Mindsets in Public Institutions to Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development​

File added date: 1 October 2021


Download the publication: English


Download the Chapters:

Executive Summary

Chapter 1 - New Mindsets, Capacities and Competencies in the Public Sector to Promote Effective Governance for Sustainable Development

Chapter 2 - Changing Mindsets to Realize Agenda 2030: The Critical Role of Socially Conscious Leadership

Chapter 3 - From Reactive Policy to Agile Governance: Building an Agile Mindset and Strategic Intelligence in Public Administration

Chapter 4 - Promoting an Experimental Problem-Solving Mindset among Public Servants

Chapter 5 - Developing an Evidence-Based Mindset: Fostering a Culture of Evidence-Based Policymaking through Research, Training, and Policy Engagements

Chapter 6 - Promoting an Inclusive Mindset in the Public Sector to Leave No One Behind

Chapter 7 - Fit for Purpose: Using Behavioral Insights to Equip Public Servants for Agenda 2030

Chapter 8 - Change in Organisational Culture in the Public Sector: Lessons from Behavioral Science

Chapter 9 - How to Attract the Best Talent and Motivate Public Servants to be Champions of Change and Embrace Mindsets for Sustainable Development

Chapter 10 - Rethinking Performance Management to Support Changing Mindsets for Sustainable Development

Chapter 11 - Capacity Development to Transform Mindsets of Public Servants – the Case of the African Association of Public Administration and Management (AAPAM)

Chapter 12 - Capacity Development for Changing Mindsets in the Arab Region – Governance Institutes Forum for Training in the Middle East and North Africa (GIFT-MENA)

Chapter 13 - Strengthening the Role of Schools of Public Administration in Asia and the Pacific to Promote Mindsets for the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

Chapter 14 - Europe and Central Asia – Sustainable Development Goals in European Public Administration Institutes: Mainstreaming or Decoupling?

Chapter 15 - Capacity Development for Changing Mindsets in Latin America