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Civil service chiefs to meet on emerging challenges, opportunities

22 March 2019

Top civil service officials from across the Commonwealth will convene next week to look at how the public service can better respond to changing global dynamics and trends.

Cabinet Secretaries and Heads of Public Service will meet at the Pan-Commonwealth level for the first time on 25-27 March 2019 in London under the theme ‘Shifting global dynamics: Enhancing resilience of the Commonwealth Public Service’.

The meeting will focus the role of the public service in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighting best practices, capacity constraints, as well as suitable strategies to accelerate implementation. Delegates will also discuss key global challenges relating to public service delivery, such as securing development finance, combatting climate change, strengthening the rule of law, and countering violent extremism.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “Public service remains the main driver of development in most Commonwealth member countries. It is also directly and indirectly affected by global dynamics, which are constantly changing. It is therefore essential to ensure the public service is able to cope and adapt appropriately by building capacity, mobilising adequate resources and enhancing resilience.”

Senior Director for the Commonwealth’s Governance and Peace Directorate Katalaina Sapolu added: “Cabinet Secretaries and Heads of Public Service play a critical role in coordinating, managing and overseeing the performance of the public service. In the face of shocks and new challenges, as well as often limited resources, they have to ensure that national objectives continue to be met, including the SDGs.”

Cabinet Secretaries and Heads of Public Service are well-placed to coordinate multiple ministries and promote policy coherence across the public sector. They provide a crucial link between the Cabinet and the public service, especially in ensuring Cabinet decisions and national policies are adhered to and effectively implemented.

Key outcomes and recommendations of the meeting will be disseminated to all Commonwealth member countries.