Best Examples of White Papers by Governments

Key Insights from The Best White Paper Examples By Governments

September 12.2018 

Government agencies are best known for policy making and implementation. Much of the thinking that goes behind these policies is often revealed through white papers published on their websites. So, who is the target audience here? It is mostly consumed by private companies, academics, legal institutions, not-for-profit organizations, municipalities, corporations etc. These institutions use them to know the government’s vision and stance on socio-economic, political, financial issues et al and chart their future course of action.


If you've come this far, don't miss out on discovering the key insights from one of our earlier posts titled ‘The Best White Paper Examples for B2B Marketers,’ where we published findings from our research of more than 70 white papers across 9 industries.


In this post, we will focus on the best white paper examples by governments across the globe that are standout pieces for their authority, depth of research, wide coverage of topics, and the power of influence that they wield on their target audiences.


Some of these may not have a lot of visual content and will be text-heavy. But, that is what we have to acknowledge here – governments are trying to drive home their point of view and will not necessarily rely on imagery to get it across. They may not even have a marketing campaign to accentuate it. This is in stark contrast to corporate white papers that are looking to appeal to a specific target audiences with a mix of visuals, text, research etc. and have fixed objectives to meet - such as increasing website traffic, educating their target audience, boosting their subject authority etc.


White papers by governments are never commercial and are published for a broader audience with diverse needs and requirements. A few examples of their objectives could be:

1. Measures taken to reduce fiscal deficit and ways to boost forex reserves

2. Improving bilateral relations with neighboring countries with specific focus on export-import policy

3. Finding newer ways to feed the ever-growing population of their country

4. Steps taken to improve crop yield and subsidize agriculture

5. Publish state-sponsored research undertaken to fight national calamities, outbreak of diseases, famines etc.


Now that we have a fair idea why governments create white papers, let's look at some of the best examples:


The Best Examples of White Papers for GovernmenTS


1. The Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom And The European Union

Published by: Government of the United Kingdom

Why do we like this?

The first in our collection of government white papers, this piece was presented by Theresa May to the British Parliament laying out Britain’s roadmap and governing principles as they secede from the European Union (but not from Europe). It is an extremely detailed manuscript that outlines their exit policy from the United Kingdom. Each aspect of their exit from EU - vis-à-vis their economic partnerships with other EU members, security aspects, cross-cutting/cooperation and institutional agreements have been explained very well. Each of these chapters have a brief summary before delving into greater detail. Brexit was one of the biggest political events in 2017 and is by no means going to be easy for anybody in the EU. However, the government policy makers have done a commendable job in this 104-page document to ease out tensions across the border and have explained how they’re going to get that done in a structured manner in 2019.


The best white paper examples created by governments created across the globe.


2. 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper

Published by: Australian Government

Why do we like this?

The Australian government’s white paper on their foreign policy is another classic example. It begins by laying out its ideologies and doctrines and then slowly opening up the discussion to more important aspects such as its partnerships within the Indo-Pacific region, cooperation with global powerhouses, the threat of terrorism and extremism before concluding with where they envisage themselves in the near future. Similar to the earlier white paper by the UK government, this document has been signed by the then Australian Prime Minister which shows that it is literally the government’s mouthpiece of foreign policy affairs. It is substantiated with examples and case studies (that have benefited the international community) and has a sprinkling of visual imagery to support its principles. Australia is a growing economy and while it may not command the stature of the big boys, it wields considerable influence in the Indo-Pacific region – this white paper is an exhibit of their prowess. We think this piece is a perfect example of putting together a government’s duty and responsibility towards its citizens, neighbors, and trading partners in a manner that its citizens comprehend it.


3. Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future

Published by: Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Government of Ireland

Why do we like this?

One of the more livelier documents in our collection, it sets out Ireland’s energy future. And like many government white papers that we came across, this was ushered in by the minister for communications, energy and natural resources that validates the government’s vision in their transition to a low carbon energy system. However, unlike a lot of other white papers, this one had an 8-page executive summary that gave a glimpse of what was ensuing in the following pages in much granular detail. It explains the vision to achieve a low carbon future and follows it up with how ordinary citizens can contribute to it, the technology that enables it, the regulations that will kick in and the infrastructure that is needed. All of these aspects are supported by figures, charts and diagrams which is imperative from a government’s perspective. With every country requiring to lay out their planned actions for greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement, the Irish’s government’s commitment is a shining example of how to get the job done.


The best white paper examples created by governments created across the globe.


4. Strategy for Export and Internationalisation

Produced by: Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries

Why do we like this?

This white paper describes how Norwegian authorities are committed to facilitate internationalization and increase trade and investments to and from Norway. With a coastline that is one of the longest in the world, international trade is one of their primary focus areas to generate value and create employment – this white paper explains exactly that. A white paper where Norwegian ministers have stamped their signatures, it gives a blueprint of how they intend to create value for their country through free trade agreements, bilateral investment agreements, policy frameworks etc. We like this document for its exquisite details that is embellished not only with charts, diagrams and pictures, but also highlights from their continuing initiatives. A national government is expected to fund and execute the research that could go a long way in improving the country’s economic prospects – the Norwegian government’s white paper explains that very well.


5. White Paper on Education Reform

Published by: The Government of Iceland

Why do we like this?

The highlight of this white paper is the Icelandic government’s vision of improving the education system in Iceland. A relatively smaller document as compared to other pieces that we have included in this post, it initially talks about the need for education and competence in the new century and then maps out the country's position in the context of educational systems spread across international borders. This comparison is very useful in understanding the present problems that their education system is faced with. Moreover, while every government has problems to solve, acknowledging them in the first place by means of a public white paper and resolving to eradicate them is indeed a welcome move. Similar to other white papers, this one has charts and diagrams laden with figures that help put the problem in perspective.


We hope you liked this collection. Do write to us at if you have any favorites that you'd like to be featured in here.

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