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
“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.
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
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.