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Commonwealth urged to consider public service ministerial meeting

26 October 2012
Strengthening dialogue and sharing experiences can spur action on development

Commonwealth public service ministers have agreed that leaders attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka in November 2013 should consider the elevation of the biennial Commonwealth Public Service Ministers Forum to an annual ministerial level meeting, if feasible.

In a statement issued by ministers at the end of their three-day meeting in New Delhi, India, on 26 October 2012, they said the ministerial meeting will give a greater focus to the deepening and broadening of dialogue and the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best-fit practices to build excellence in public administration.

The Commonwealth Public Service Ministers Forum brought together ministers and heads of public service from 21 countries to discuss The Role of Public Administration in Economic Growth and Job Creation.

They agreed on the important role of public policy in improving governance and strengthening public administration in support of national development objectives and to meet international challenges.

The ministers acknowledged the need for developing countries, in particular, to address challenges posed by a globalised economy, the competitiveness of markets and the capability of member countries to retain their comparative advantage.

They agreed that an efficient and effective public administration can enhance the role of just and honest government which can spur socio-economic and political development, leading to the transformation of societies.

Ministers welcomed the proposal by the Government of India to host an annual Commonwealth Symposium on Public Service Excellence from 2013 to be held in India. The event is to be organised in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Ministers agreed on the important and useful role of the Secretariat and Commonwealth networks to further strengthen the governance capabilities of member states to meet their development priorities. They acknowledged the value of using information and communication technologies, such as the Commonwealth Connects online platform, to build peer networks of influence for collaborative working and knowledge-sharing.

Building strong foundations for public service excellence is key

Commonwealth leaders will be urged to strengthen efforts to improve public administration, said India’s Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, V Narayanasamy.

Speaking at the closing of the forum, Mr Narayanasamy said strong leadership will be required not only to build the foundations for public service excellence, but also to nurture and sustain an efficient and responsive public administration.

He added that public service excellence is a fundamental requirement for good governance, which in turn is vital for development.

“Good governance is an essential requirement for economic growth and job creation as it builds trust between the state and citizenry, and stimulates markets and investments. Good governance for development requires special consideration as the needs and aspirations of developing nations deserve special attention and focused action. These strategies must take into consideration the diversity of contexts and circumstances within the Commonwealth,” said Mr Narayanasamy.

“Developing countries should consider placing priority in strengthening the capacity of public institutions that play a critical role in achieving economic growth and development. The need for steady economic growth and job creation is especially urgent as this underpins citizen wellbeing and provides the means for delivering essential services and strengthening national resilience.”

He stressed that more needs to be done to ensure that strong and effective public service institutions have the capacity to effectively and expeditiously implement government policies, programmes and services to meet the needs of citizens.