Civil service to be ‘backbone’ of good governance and development in south-east Asia

3 May 17

The civil service is to be upheld as the “backbone” of good governance and development in south-east Asia, according to a declaration signed by the region’s leaders last week.


Manila, Philippines at rush hour

Manila, Philippines at rush hour


The document, signed by members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), emphasises the role the civil service plays in achieving the organisation’s development plan for the region until 2025.

That includes its “pivotal role” in good governance, cross-sector and regional cooperation, public service delivery and ensuring people feel the benefits of ASEAN in their lives, the group said.

This theme of people-orientated development and a people-centred ASEAN is a priority of the group’s current chair, the Philippines, and one that Alicia dela Rosa-Bala, chair of the country’s Civil Service Commission, said is central to the declaration. 

 “[It] places premium on the role of the civil service as a driver of national and regional development towards the achievement of ASEAN goals and aspirations for a politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible community,” she added.

Governments across the region committed to launching initiatives aimed at ensuring high standards of professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness in the civil service, and promoting participatory, responsive and transparent approaches in its work.

These included working together to develop capacity-building programmes and share best practice and holding civil servants to good governance principles including citizen centricity and innovation.

It said it would “build government institutions that are resilient, trusted and future-ready, and capable of addressing new challenges and complexities”.

This was key, the declaration noted, in light of the civil service’s “critical mission”, not only in regard to providing public services but in driving national and social development, responsibly administering public resources and managing the evolving relationship between the government and the people.

ASEAN members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 

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