ASEAN Conference on Civil Service Matters Addresses Modernizing Civil Service

21st ASEAN Conference on Civil Service Matters (ACCSM 21) was held under the theme of "Modernising civil service toward a cohesive and adaptive ASEAN Community" in Hanoi.

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Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh hosted heads of delegations

Standing Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh hosted a reception for heads of delegations of ASEAN and ASEAN Plus 3 countries to the 21st ASEAN Conference on Civil Service Matters (ACCSM 21) in Hanoi on August 4

Pham Binh Minh said that in terms of civil service cooperation, ASEAN countries have built a vision for the ASEAN Community in 2025, which targets building a strong ASEAN on three pillars: political-security cooperation, economic cooperation, and socio-culture cooperation. All these three pillars are people-oriented, thus contributing to building good governance in all areas, he stressed.

According to Deputy PM Minh, building civil service governance for the people will improve ASEAN’s role and help the bloc develop.

Minh also expressed his wish within the framework of ACCSM 21, which will open on August 5 under the theme of “Modernising civil service toward a cohesive and adaptive ASEAN Community”, ASEAN countries will exchange, share and learn from each other’s experience and, together with their partners, namely China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, to create good governance toward the 2025 Vision: A prosperous ASEAN.

On behalf of the heads of civil services, the Head of the Thai delegation appreciated the efforts made by the Vietnamese Minister of Home Affairs Pham Thi Thanh Tra and the ministry to fulfill its role as the ACCSM Chair over the past two years. The official expressed hope that at this conference, countries will continue discussing issues of mutual concern, especially challenges facing ASEAN’s civil service sector after the Covid-19 pandemic, and in the context of changing regional and global situations.

ASEAN Conference on Civil Service Matters Addresses Modernizing Civil Service
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh welcomes heads of delegations to ACCSM 21. (Photo: VOV)

Senior officials meet to discuss 2021-2025 work plan

A senior officials’ meeting (SOM) and the fourth non-official discussion on the modernization of civil services were held in Hanoi on August 3 as part of ACCSM 21.

Vu Chien Thang, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and rotating Chair of the ACCSM 21 welcomed the delegates to the event directly after two years of working online due to Covid-19 impacts. Thang said that activities have been implemented within the framework of the ACCSM 21 Work Plan for the 2021-2025 period. Member countries have also worked closely together in dealing with challenges, including the pandemic, and giving new orientations for their cooperation in civil service matters with the aim to build an ASEAN Community of strong development.

Senior officials updated and discussed the implementation of the ACCSM Work Plan for the 2021-2025 period while considering and approving new project proposals. They also discussed issues related to ACCSM such as the development of the post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision, as well as ways to expand ACCSM’s cooperation with other ASEAN agencies and units, and measures to build a transparent civil service associated with the improvement of public service ethics, the modernization of the civil service, the digitalization of public services, and the promotion of e-government.

ASEAN Conference on Civil Service Matters Addresses Modernizing Civil Service
Vu Chien Thang, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and rotating Chair of the ACCSM 21. (Photo: Hanoimoi)

Also at the meeting, the ASEAN Secretariat announced decisions of other ASEAN meetings held since the ACCSM focal points meeting took place in November 2021. Participants also discussed issues related to ACCSM such as building the post-2025 ASEAN Community Vision; the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF); ASEAN Action Plan on the Culture of Prevention; comprehensive ASEAN framework for the Care Economy; Consolidated Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution for ASEAN; ASEAN’s strategic policy framework on promoting an adaptive ASEAN Community with a broader understanding, tolerance, and sense of regional traditions among the peoples of ASEAN.

Within the meeting’s agenda, the officials exchanged views on the framework of ACCSM’s strategic partnership. This framework supports the role of ACCSM as a specialized body on cross-pillar issues of good governance, including anti-corruption. Brunei, as the rotating chair of ACCSM 22, delivered the plan, theme, and timetable for the 22nd ACCSM.

At the fourth non-official discussion session on the modernization of the civil service, Chu Tuan Tu, head of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Home Affairs, said that following the recommendations for civil service modernization, the ASEAN Secretariat coordinated with the Public Affairs and Communication Committee of Australia to organize the session. It aims to help the civil service sector to represent the people more broadly, ensuring gender balance with the engagement of more public servants with disabilities, and strengthening the capacity of the civil service in the digital context.

Representatives from the Public Affairs and Communication Committee of Australia said that the committee is focusing on implementing the gender equality strategy for the 2021-2026 period, ensuring the equal representation of all groups. It is expected to create a working environment of inclusion with the engagement of all groups.

ASEAN Conference on Civil Service Matters Addresses Modernizing Civil Service
Vietnamese Minister of Home Affairs Pham Thi Thanh Tra (Photo: VGP)

Minister of Home Affairs concludes ACCSM 21

The Heads of Civil Service Meeting themed “Modernising civil service towards a cohesive and responsive ASEAN Community” kicked off on August 5 as part of ACCSM 21. Vietnamese Minister of Home Affairs Pham Thi Thanh Tra, who is also Chairwoman of ACCSM 21, emphasized the important contributions of the civil service in the ASEAN community’s adaptation process to new challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years.

Modernizing the administrative system has helped both respond to new challenges and better serve people and businesses, contributing to supporting and maintaining stable socio-economic development in the region, she said. She expressed her hope that the important results at the meeting will contribute to shaping a professional, shared and sustainable ASEAN civil service, towards building a prosperous and sustainable ASEAN Community, thus strengthening the position of ASEAN in the world in general, and each of its member countries in particular.

Minister Tra officially transferred the role of the Chair of ACCSM22 to Brunei. In her conclusion speech, Tra said after more than two years, ministers, leaders, and representatives of ASEAN member countries had a full meeting at ACCSM 21, showing their confidence and determination to cooperate for a modern civil service and a cohesive and adaptive ASEAN Community that serves the people.

She expressed her belief that the results achieved at ACCSM 21 will be further promoted and developed by Brunei in the role of the rotating chair of ACCSM 22, towards an ASEAN Community with a vision of extensive connectivity and integration, proactive adaptation, comprehensive recovery, and sustainable development.

Valerie Mai