UN Workshop in Addis Ababa

by Frank Zerunyan

The quality of public service delivery and good governance are critical

Frank Zerunyan in Addis Ababa with officials from Ethiopia
Frank Zerunyan in Addis Ababa with officials from Ethiopia

to the development of any country, particularly in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2000, that elevated the urgency of seeking innovative public sector solutions as a way to combat challenges to achieve and sustain the goals of the MDGs to make the public sector more efficient, transparent, and citizen-oriented.

Building capacity and hastening the  adoption of global innovations is needed and Resolution 2005/55 recognized that all UN Member States, especially developing countries, would benefit from peer learning, sharing innovation experiences, and sharing public sector experiences. At the beginning of 2013, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs funded and implemented a capacity building project.

The project led to the appointment of an ad-hoc committee of public administration practitioner/academic experts and the design and delivery of at least two workshops in the Middle East and in Africa.

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I was appointed to this ad-hoc committee of experts in January of 2013 and help organize and taught at the first workshop in Bahrain. Immediately after our work in Bahrain, I was asked to participate at a second workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

I traveled to Addis Ababa and presented our discussion paper at the plenary session on March 17th and I led two workshops later that week to close to 130 government officials, representing 18 countries. My workshops were attended by several ministers of public service, deputy ministers, inspector generals, directors of public service departments, and senior staff.

The “High Level Workshop” provided participants with the opportunity to 1) gain knowledge about new trends, ideas and emerging issues in governance and innovation, 2) learn about concrete solutions to complex governance challenges and explore the possibility of adopting good practices, 3) share and discuss ideas about innovative tools and approaches to build capacity, 4) network with peers from various countries and 5) return with renewed commitment to public service and value.

Last but not least, the workshop offered a practical and concrete platform for attendees to increase their awareness of the innovations and methods available to implement public service delivery in their respective countries.

Based on the feedback and input, the workshop was successful. I will be presenting some findings to the annual conference of United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration (UN-CEPA) on April 7 in New York City. The Bedrosian Center at USC Price continues to be proud of its collaboration with DPADM/UNDESA in building capacity among global leaders.