Consultative Meeting on Priorities in Innovating Governance and Public Administration in the Mediterranean Region. Opening Remarks

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1 Consultative Meeting on Priorities in Innovating Governance and Public Administration in the Mediterranean Region Opening Remarks Guido Bertucci, Director, Division for Public Administration and Development Management Department of Economic and Social Affairs Presented by Najet Karaborni Senior Interregional Adviser Office of the Under Secretary General (OUSG) / UNDESA Naples, Italy, May

2 Chers Mesdames et Messieurs, Chers collègues et amis, Quand le Directeur de la Division de l administration publique et de la gestion du développement du Département des affaires économiques et sociales des Nations Unies, M. Guido Bertucci, m a demandé il y a quelques jours de le représenter à cette grande réunion et de vous souhaiter la bienvenue en son nom, j étais à la fois très honorée et contente de le faire et d être avec des experts fameux et de hauts représentants de l administration publique et de la société civile de ma région. J étais aussi très contente de rencontrer et connaître les éminents responsables de FORMEZ et CAIMED qui sont nos grands partenaires ici en Italie. Enfin, j étais contente d être dans cette grande et belle ville méditerranéenne, Naples que j ai visitée il y a plus de 30 ans et où j ai d excellents souvenirs personnels. Sans plus tarder, j ai le plaisir de vous présenter l allocution d ouverture de notre Directeur, Monsieur Guido Bertucci. Mais avant de le faire, permettez moi Mesdames et Messieurs de commencer par remercier en son nom propre et au nom de notre Département, son Excellence, Monsieur le Chef d Etat de l Italie et le Secrétaire général de la Présidence italienne pour les mots chaleureux qu ils ont bien voulu adresser à Monsieur Bertucci ainsi qu à notre département, et bien sûr à nous tous, les participants à cette très importante réunion pour le devenir de l administration publique et son impact sur le développement de nos pays respectifs et de la région dans son ensemble Allocution de Monsieur Guido Bertucci aux participants de la Réunion de Naples Distinguished Experts and Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the United Nations, I wish to welcome all of you and to thank you for taking part in the Consultative Meeting on Priorities in Innovating Governance and Public Administration in the Euro-Mediterranean region. I also wish to thank Mr. Lefevbre, Director-General of Formez- Training and Study Centre -our host and partner- for all the support provided in organizing this important event. Let me also thank Mr. Pennella and his team for their constant collaboration with UNDESA and their dedication to the implementation of the activities of the Centre for Administrative Innovation in Public Administration in the Euro-Mediterranean Region CAIMED, which is jointly run by UNDESA and Formez. I am very pleased to have with us distinguished personalities, experts, and colleagues who will review and discuss the state of governance and public administration in each country of the Mediterranean region; identify the most critical priority areas of reform in the field of governance at the national level; and debate the challenges and opportunities in reforming governance in the Mediterranean countries. 2

3 This Meeting will be instrumental in comparing and contrasting the different national experiences of the region and in defining the priority areas of reform at the sub-regional and regional levels in order to promote more effective North-South and South-South cooperation and to ensure a more targeted exchange of successful experiences. The Meeting is one of the activities foreseen by the Programme for Innovation in Public Administration in the Euro-Mediterranean Region, which is implemented by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, through its Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), in collaboration with Formez, and with the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Italy. The Programme is undertaken in line with the activities of the Centre for Administrative Innovation in the Euro-Mediterranean Region C.A.I.MED, which as I mentioned is a joint collaborative effort between UNDESA and Formez. The Centre has been established to respond to the need to further promote social and economic development in the Mediterranean basin through the improvement and innovation of governance systems. As you are aware, these are challenging times for public administration around the world. In the last half of the twentieth century, and more even so at the beginning of the new millennium, Governments have been under pressure to respond to the demands from their citizens and to the increasing complexity and change in their global environments. On the one hand, governments need to respond to a number of social and economic issues, including poverty; unemployment; poor education systems; and environmental degradation. On the other hand, governments are being forced to readjust their policies and skills to effectively meet the challenges of globalization. To meet these challenges, the United Nations adopted in the year 2000 the Millennium Declaration, which was followed by the internationally agreed eight following Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2. achieve universal primary education 3. Promote gender equality and empower women 4. reduce child mortality 5. Improve maternal health 6. combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases 7. Ensure environmental sustainability 8. Develop a global partnership for development While the challenges are many, so are the opportunities for public administration. In fact, it has been gradually recognized that public administration has a crucial role to play in meeting all the Millennium Development Goals, notably, maintenance of peace and security, poverty eradication, upholding human rights and democratic ethos, making globalization work for all, protecting the vulnerable and meeting the special needs of Africa. The myth that markets and the private sector alone can accelerate development, spearhead growth, eliminate inequalities and make life better for all has been replaced by 3

4 bitter disappointment, so has the myth that the State alone can be the engine of growth and development. Both the State and market have a fundamental role to play in the development process, and partnerships between the State, private sector and civil society are greatly needed in this respect. It is also increasingly recognized that the State has a very important role to play as a catalytic force. But public administration cannot remain its old self. It needs to be revitalized, to become more proactive, more efficient, more accountable, and especially more service-oriented. Public administration needs to be transformed into a responsive instrument to meet the needs of all citizens, including the poor, and to be accountable to the most vulnerable populations. To accomplish this transformation, public administration needs to innovate and change its organizational structure, its practices and its capacities. It also needs to focus on the best ways to mobilize, deploy and utilize the human, material, information, technological and financial resources for service delivery to remote, disadvantaged and challenged people. Globalization also requires that states adapt to new and changing local, national and international forces. In fact, public sector reform is one of the most important ingredients in reinvigorating the economy and in allowing countries to integrate into the global economy. As part of this great movement, it should be mentioned that to revitalize public administration, we see all over the world, innovation and experimentation sprouting in central government, local government and individual agencies, particularly in the area of service delivery. As the United Nations Public Service Awards has shown, there is great capacity in all corners of the globe to reinvent Government and to implement innovative measures in various fields of the public sector. What is more, both developed and developing countries can benefit from pioneering initiatives in innovating public service delivery and in administrative innovation. For example, the SAC model (services to citizens) which originated in Brazil has now been adopted in Portugal and other Portuguese speaking countries. This proves that the exchange of information on innovation in public administration is a powerful tool to inspire governments in their reform process, and thus to improve the quality of a democracy, and that innovations can benefit any country, whether in the South or the North of the world. The exchange and sharing of these innovative experiences create a body of new knowledge which can be accessed by public administrations all over the world and improve the impact of their services on the well being of the populations where they are. 4

5 In view of the above, the United Nations is dedicated to promoting the exchange of experiences, ideas and best practices concerning innovations in governance and public administration in order to contribute to social and economic development. The General Assembly itself has reiterated that particular emphasis should be given to the exchange of experiences related to the role of public administration in the implementation of internationally agreed goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. It is within this framework, that the Programme for Innovation in Public Administration in the Euro-Mediterranean region has been established. My colleague Adriana Alberti, who is responsible for the implementation of the Programme, will provide you with a more comprehensive picture of its mission, focus and activities. I wish you all very fruitful and enriching deliberations, and a pleasant stay in this beautiful city of Naples. Thank you. 5

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