Second Regional Meeting of Working Group I, Rabat, 19-20 April 2006
The key objective of the second meeting of Working Group I, held in Rabat, Morocco, on 19-20 April 2006, was to prepare the GfD Steering Group meeting at ministerial level held in Sharm El Sheikh on 19-20 May 2006.
It provided an opportunity for Arab countries’ policy experts to share and discuss their countries’ action plans in the field of civil service and integrity with other Arab and OECD countries, to identify core common challenges and to decide on the work plan of the Working Group for 2006-2007.
High-level participants attended from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, the Palestinian National Authority and Tunisia. OECD countries represented were Belgium, France, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and the United States of America. The project partner UNDP was represented at the meeting as well as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
The meeting was opened by H.E. Mohamed Boussaid, Minister for Public Sector Modernisation, Morocco, who highlighted the most recent efforts to improve integrity and performance in the civil service in Morocco. It was chaired by H.E. Monkid Mestassi, Secretary General, Ministry of General and Economic Affairs, Morocco, and co-chaired by H.E. Fernando Ballestero, Ambassador, Permanent Delegation of Spain to the OECD, and H.E. Emin Zararsiz, Deputy Undersecretary, Prime Ministry, Turkey.
The chairs and co-chairs renewed their commitment to the GfD initiative and particularly appreciated the progress made in preparing its next milestone: the Steering Group meeting at ministerial level held in Sharm El Sheikh on 19-20 May 2006.
They particularly welcomed the preparation of Country Action Plans and stocktaking results by several Arab countries as well as the thematic case studies and the survey on Human Resources Management in Arab Countries. Mrs. Odile Sallard, Director of Public Governance and Territorial Development, OECD, highlighted the strategic importance of the meeting for the implementation phase of the Initiative after Sharm El Sheikh. Mr. Ragaa Makharita, Senior Adviser, UNDP gave an overview of the progress made in other Working Groups.
The key outcomes of the meeting include the following:
Sharing of Country Action Plans
Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and the Palestinian Authority shared their Country Action Plans in the field of civil service and integrity with the other participating Arab and OECD countries. They agreed to finalise these Country Action Plans in preparation of the GfD Steering Group meeting at ministerial level in Sharm El Sheikh, taking into account the peer comments received during the meeting.
Identification of key common challenges for the future programme of work
The thematic discussions of the meeting resulted in the identification of the below core common challenges, which should become the subject of more intensive regional cooperation.
This co-operation can take different forms, including specific high-level seminars with broader participation, study visits to Arab and OECD countries of smaller groups of countries particularly engaged in a specific policy field and ongoing electronic discussion groups. In order to ensure synergies with the other Working Groups of the GfD Initiative and the Investment pillar of the OECD-MENA Programme, some of the cross-cutting themes could be addressed in joint seminars.
The choice of the most suitable form for each theme will be made depending on the demand of participating Arab and OECD countries and their offers to host such events. Arab and OECD countries have been invited to express their interest and make suggestions regarding the themes they are most interested in.
Integrity and anti-corruption
1. Codes of conduct: Formulation and implementation process
2. The functions of central bodies: Design, implementation and co-ordination of anticorruption policies
3. Managing conflict of interest: The role of disclosure of assets
4. Integrity in public procurement (jointly with GfD Working Group II and the Investment pillar)
5. Administrative simplification (jointly with GfD Working Group II)
6. Involving citizens: public scrutiny (jointly with GfD Working Group VI)
Ensuring integrity and staff performance
7. Assessing staff: recruitment and performance appraisal
8. Reforming central HRM agencies
Managing the wage bill and reforming individual pay
9. Individual pay and grading reform and modelling its fiscal implications (possibly jointly
with GfD Working Group 3);
10. Managing public sector employment in a context of weak private sector performance
(possibly jointly with GfD Working Group 3 and the Investment pillar)
The regular meeting of the Working Group will serve to co-ordinate these specific activities and to share their results. The frequency of regular meetings will be reduced to one or two per year.
Presentations on Country Action Plans
Presentation by Jordan: New Approaches Toward Pay and Grading in the Civil Service