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Secretary-General visits Asia to promote innovation and integrity in public service

14 August 2016

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland travels to Malaysia on Monday for her first official visit to Asia to promote excellence in public service, good governance and human rights.

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will convene the sixth Commonwealth Ministers for Public Service Forum, hosted by the Government of Malaysia, on Wednesday 17 August in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

She will say: “A vital need in many of our Commonwealth member states at all levels of government is to create agile public institutions that are efficient, effective, and accountable.

“This requires greater public transparency, with democratic oversight and institutional responsiveness in all aspects of public procurement, public financial management, and rigorous provision and enforcement of anti-corruption measures.”

The Forum brings together senior government representatives from across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Americas and the Pacific.

It is the first time Commonwealth public service heads have met since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in September 2015, as pressure grows globally to reshape and reform the public sector to become more innovative and responsive to the needs of citizens.

During her visit, the Secretary-General is also expected to meet the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, as well as the leader of the opposition, civil society groups including the Malaysia Bar Association, the country’s human rights commission (SUHAKAM), and representatives of the diplomatic community.

Notes to Editors

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states. It is home to 2.2 billion citizens, of which over 60% are under the age of 30.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, led by the Secretary-General, promotes democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and social and economic development.

During the Commonwealth Ministers for Public Service Forum in Malaysia, Baroness Scotland will launch a new Commonwealth publication, titled ‘Key Principles of Public Sector Reforms’. It is based on successful initiatives, policy reforms and strategies to support sustained development and economic growth from selected Commonwealth countries.

On Tuesday 16 August, the Secretary-General will speak at an International Conference on Blue Ocean Strategy on the theme of ‘Transforming Nations through Creativity and Innovation’. 

The Commonwealth Ministers for Public Service Forum takes place on the eve of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) Biennial Conference, also in Putrajaya, between 18-20 August. Secretary-General Scotland will deliver a speech to the conference, hosted under the theme ‘Innovation: A Public Service Imperative’.

On Friday 19 August, the Secretary-General will unveil the new headquarters of the Commonwealth Youth Council, in association with Malaysia’s Ministry of Youth.