The Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations was entrusted by the General Assembly in late 1999 to develop and implement an important programme entitled 'United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN)', (originally referred to as the United Nations Online Network in Public Administration and Finance).
UNPAN is designed to help countries, especially developing countries and countries in economic transition, to respond to the challenges that governments face in bridging the digital divide between the 'haves and have-nots' and to achieve their development goals.
The immediate objective of UNPAN is to establish an internet-based network that links regional and national institutions devoted to public administration, thereby facilitating information exchange, experience sharing, and training in the area of public sector policy and management.
The long-term objective of UNPAN is to build the capacity of these regional and national institutions, so that they can access, process and disseminate relevant information by means of up-to-date information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the promotion of better public administration.
Before the UNPAN network was established, these institutions could not exert their full impact due to the lack of the necessary ICTs and financial and skilled human resources. However, after several years of active participation in the UNPAN programme, the capacities of these institutions in e-information management have been strengthened and they are now better prepared to face the evolving needs of their respective member countries with reference to public administration development.
In short, UNPAN's mission is to promote the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices, throughout the world by means of ICTs, sound public policies, effective public administration and efficient civil services, and through capacity-building and cooperation among Member States, with an emphasis on South-South cooperation and UNPAN's commitment to integrity and excellence. It is the only network of its type in the world today.