Astana Hosts Conference on Civil Service Organised with EU Support

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s Agencyfor Civil Service Affairs andAcademy of Public Administrationunder the President of Kazakhstan,in cooperation with the EU-fundedproject, “Civil Service Reform andModernisation of the Governmentof Kazakhstan,” and the UNDP inKazakhstan, presented The CivilService Personnel Management:

Current Issues and Prospects globalconference on May 22 at the 7thAstana Economic Forum.

Chairman of the Agency for Civil Service Affairs Alikhan Baimenov noted the significance of the discussion of opinions and experience on civil service while opening the dialogue platform that brought together prominent international experts, researchers and government managers.

He stressed that Kazakhstan is open to the world and is always ready to learn something new. He also noted the country’s readiness to share its own experience. Baimenov reminded conference participants about the new civil service model based on the principles of meritocracy, transparency and public accountability that the country adopted in 2013. He also spoke about the establishment of the managerial A Corps and the related eightfold reduction of the number of so-called political civil servants, as well as about the regional civil service hub that opened last year in Astana. It now brings together participants from 28 countries and five international organisations.

Many participants of the conference considered Kazakhstan’s successful experience in reforming this important area to be a valuable case study for other countries in the region.

The head of the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan, Ambassador Aurelia Bouchez, noted that the European Union fully recognizes Kazakhstan’s achievements and actively supports its government in further modernising its civil service through a multi-year project. Bouchez emphasised that the EU assists in civil service reforms, helping the Agency for Civil Service Affairs implement a new model of civil service and develop legislative initiatives in particular. In addition, the EU project will enable Kazakhstan to get access to the best EU wisdom on civil service modernisation. The EU project Civil Service Reform and Modernisation of the Government of Kazakhstan will operate for four years (2012-2016) and promote the formation of a professional state apparatus.

UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan Stephen Tull touched upon the importance of the practical implementation of meritocracy principles and upgrading the professionalism of civil servants in his speech.

“In listening to the speakers, I realised that the Kazakh state apparatus has gone a long way in a short period of time and much of this change has been for the better,” said Wu Yongping, associate dean of the School of Public Policy and Management of the Tsinghua University. According to the opinion of Honorary Professor of Public Administration of the University of Southern California Chester Newland, “the current system of civil service in Kazakhstan is one of the best in the world, even in comparison to the United States.”

The Global Conference had both theoretical and practical significance. It has become a useful platform for the exchange of experience and innovative ideas. Conference participants, including government officials from across the country, had the opportunity to learn about new trends and innovations in public administration.

Dr. Joachim Vollmuth, the former head of a division at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Germany, spoke on the evaluation of civil servants and gave examples of EU experience in his presentation. Management expert Professor Stefan Hlawacek, former director of the Economic Development Institute of the Chamber of Commerce of Austria, touched upon evaluating members of the A Corps. Baimenov noted that Kazakhstan has prepared and will introduce a new assessment system for civil servants which will create some change within the corporate culture of government bodies.

A seminar titled Modern Methods of Civil Servant Development: The Practices of EU Countries and a round table on relevant issues of civil service personnel management under the auspices of the EU project were also organised as part of the 7th Astana Economic Forum.

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