13 June 2019, 09:30 - 09:50
Chairman Baimenov, distinguished guests,
It is a great pleasure for me to join you today at this Annual Conference on promoting Values, Trust and Technology in the Public Sector.
Allow me first to express my appreciation to Mr. Baimenov for his continued leadership and his abled team from the Regional Hub for organizing this conference.
I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Kazakhstan for its continuous commitment to support the Regional Hub. This important initiative could not be materialized without the generous funding by the Government back in 2014.
In recent years, the Regional Hub has become an effective multilateral platform for collaborative policymaking, exchanging knowledge, and sharing experience on civil service excellence. Since its launch, the Regional Hub has brought together over 40 countries and 5 international organizations responsible for public administration and civil service reforms. It is great to see that so many countries and organizations are able to benefit from the Hub’s activities, share best practices, and learn from one another on innovative solutions.
Coming to the theme of this event…
Technology is not a panacea, but if properly deployed, can help better address today’s increasingly complex developmental problems and assist in building trust between government and citizens.
Government institutions face multiple challenges in today’s constantly changing world, complicated by increased citizen expectations. If not met, these expectations work to erode trust. The challenges multiply when it comes to remote areas, posing additional difficulties to deliver quality services in a timely manner.
The rise of information technology and digital methods for interacting with citizens offer new opportunities to address these challenges but at the same time call for much higher capacities and new skill sets for the civil servants. Attracting those skills and capacities to civil service is a critical question for governments across the globe- accompanied by an ongoing soul searching for new ways of governance to bring governments closer to citizens with the use of information technology.
In this challenging and dynamic environment, the way we configure the public administration system with such skills and capacities will make a key difference. The state apparatus can be compared with the operating system of the whole society. When it works properly- in an efficient, effective, and accountable way to respond to the needs of people, then the whole society functions well.
We are pleased that the Government of Kazakhstan already initiated a large-scale governance reform agenda encompassing the Third Modernization Initiative, ‘Five Institutional Reforms’ and National Plan “100 concrete steps”. It is very important to ensure the consistency and continuity of these reforms in implementation.
Guided by this agenda and international standards, UNDP in Kazakhstan has been supporting the Government through multiple joint initiatives together with its national partners. For example,
- UNDP supported the Government in preparing draft amendments to the laws on:
o redistribution of powers between levels of public administration,
o transfer of state functions to the competitive environment,
o as well as remuneration of administrative civil servants.
- We have also worked with about 4,000 state officers through various capacity development and awareness raising activities on reforming the public administration system.
- More recently, UNDP is working with the Ministry of National Economy of Kazakhstan to develop a comprehensive register of state functions that will systematically record all functions, which are currently dispersed in 280 legislative acts and almost 4,000 by-laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
- We have been working with the regional hub closely as well on anti-corruption and public service. For example,
- We have piloted new approaches for corruption risks assessments in five state bodies.
- We have also developed a new framework of competencies, leading to the certification of 65,000 civil servants of Corps B, a factor-point scale of remuneration of civil servants- which was introduced in a pilot mode.
- We have been working with the government in assessment of ethics as well as monitoring of corruption risks through civil society involvement. We have conducted public opinion surveys covering 10 ministries and affiliated organizations on the perception of ethics in public service. At the regional level, our cooperation with Special Monitoring Group facilitates civic engagement to monitor corruption risks.
All these examples one way or another refer to the core issue of trust between citizens and public institutions. Whether it is about the ethics, integrity, or anti-corruption, our challenge is now to seek ways how technology can be instrumental to facilitate a more “trusted” public administration, in addition to the classical approaches to promote efficiency and effectiveness in services. Technology cannot be an end itself. It is a means to a long journey of building trust in an increasingly complex environment to serve citizens and deliver public services. I have the confidence that the distinguished speakers and participants in this event can provide insights into practical steps that we can all take along this journey.
On that note, I wish you a great gathering and fruitful discussions in the next two days.