On 21 June 2017, Permanent Missions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Kenya to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva organized a side event, on the margins of the 35th session of the Human Rights Council, dedicated to the topic of “Innovative approaches in the promotion of SDGs, good governance and human rights: cases of Azerbaijan and Kenya”.
The side event hosted participants from different Permanent Missions in Geneva, international organizations, civil society organizations, NGOs based in Geneva, as well as other stakeholders attending the HRC 35th session. Its main focus was to show how innovative approaches to governance promote the implementation of SDGs, good governance and human rights by using Azerbaijan and Kenya as case examples.
Introducing ASAN Service, Azerbaijani national brand of excellence in public service, Mr. Azad Jafarli, Chief of Staff of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations, informed the participants of the event that ASAN Service has brought many innovations to the delivery of public services in Azerbaijan. He described how ASAN Service applies the technological innovations and the mobility means to deliver the public services to the citizens residing in distant locations from the capital city. According to Mr. Jafarli, contribution of ASAN Service to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the national level is invaluable.
Ms. Saba Kassa, the representative of the research department of the Basel Institute on Governance spoke about the role of best practices in good governance in the implementation of the SDGs. Based on the Institute’s research focus, she highlighted the importance of contextualization and how this supports the development of sustainable governance approaches and ultimately the implementation of the SDGs.
Ambassador Andrew Kihurani, deputy permanent representative of Kenya to the UN Office at Geneva elaborated on innovative approaches to the promotion of SDGs from Kenya’s national perspectives. He introduced Kenya’s national best practice in public service delivery – Huduma Centers – which together with ASAN Service of Azerbaijan was awarded by UN Public Service Award in 2015 for the excellence in public service delivery in the African continent.
The last panelist, Mr. Mark Halle, senior fellow of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) - Canada-based NGO specialized in SDGs – highlighted the importance of the implementation of SDG 16 which envisages the establishment of strong, efficient and accountable public institutions. In this regard, he expressed his appreciation about the case examples of ASAN Service and Huduma Centers.
Wrapping up the panel discussion, Ambassador Stephen Karau, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the UN Office at Geneva, informed the audience that in both Azerbaijan and Kenya there is no doubt that transparent, accountable and efficient governance plays a key role in ensuring the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development. In that regard, Public service delivery is one of the most important measures of good governance, as ordinary citizens on a daily basis interact with public institutions.
Interactive panel discussion was followed up by photo exhibition dedicated to the activities of ASAN Service and cocktail reception.