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‘Malta: ‘No country Can Exist in Isolation’: As Global Changes have Shown – Godwin Grima
Source: independent.com.mt
Source Date: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Focus: E-Procurement
Country: Malta
Created: Oct 22, 2010

The changes the world has experienced over the past couple of years have only gone towards proving that no country can exist in isolation, the head of the public service, Godwin Grima, said yesterday.

The rules of the game in world political and economic realities have changed, he said, leaving impacts on countries, administrations and societies across the world.

Addressing the biennial conference of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management, which is being held in Malta, Dr Grima said the topic ‘Building a Common Future: Global Challenges, Local Responses’ was particularly relevant, besides being topical.

CAPAM was first established in 1994, as a non-profit association representing members in a professional network. It brings together all the heads of public service in Commonwealth countries.

“Global challenges may be partially mitigated by global responses. But it is believed that these must be complemented by local responses in order to ensure success,” Dr Grima said.

Difficulties in one country can leave an impact on other countries, CAPAM president, Lynelle Briggs, said, and problems such as the threat of terrorism, the H1N1 virus and the economic recession cannot be solved by a government working alone.

Achieving public sector reform means thinking about issues in new ways, Ms Briggs said.

Dr Grima said that in Malta, firstly legislation to define the governance structure of the public administration was needed.

The overall objectives of the Public Administration Act included giving legal recognition to the organisation of the public service, strengthening its leadership by promoting and supporting principles such as integrity, openness, accountability and public interest.

Most importantly, however, to provide a clear legal framework that facilitates a more effective management of the public administration, he said. It also meant the introduction of a code of ethics, applicable to all public officials.

The Freedom of Information Act, intended to further strengthen transparency, was hailed as a milestone in the reform of the public service, as it is important that public officials be as open as possible about their actions and decisions.

Dr Grima also referred to the recently published Whistleblower Bill, which he said is still a work in progress.

Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, said CAPAM have developed a strong and lively network across the Commonwealth and a platform to exchange good practices, promote innovation and development, and raise the standard of the public service.

Good governance is both the oil and the machinery of democracy, and of its sister development, Mr Sharma said, adding that he wished to see it taken so much

Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, Chief Secretary to the Malaysian government, said that many of the challenges societies face today are the ripples left as a result of global realities.

He referred to the story of Offa’s gold coin, now found at the British Museum, explaining that even a thousand years ago leaders could see the importance of internationalisation.

King Offa was said to have ordered this coin, to facilitate doing business with the Muslim world, as the original coin bore a cross. He wanted to make it easy for his own traders to do business in new lands and cultures.

Globalisation today relies on the internationalisation of ideas, he said, adding that whereas once we saw the internationalisation of human capital and assets, today we focus more on the movement of ideas.

It is values, and not tradition, which go towards building sound societies, robust businesses, sustainable markets and competitive nations, Chief Sec Mohd Sidek Hassan said.

‘The Third Commonwealth Ministers Forum on Public Sector Development’, which brings ministers and their representatives together to discuss the public service in the different countries, begins tomorrow.
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