Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP

UNDP Resident  Representative Louisa Vinton's Opening Remarks at the 

Georgian Civil Servant Day 2018

Georgian Museum of Fine Arts, Tbilisi

19 December 2017

 

Dear Mr. Prime Minister

Ambassador McKenzie


Smith

Heads of the Government Administration and the Civil Service Bureau

Excellencies, dear partners, colleagues, friends

 

  • Georgia has distinguished itself among countries in the region and indeed in the world through its determination to conduct a far-reaching reform of the public administration.

 

  • This resolve has remained unshaken over the decades since independence.

 

  • And it has withstood its fair share of political debate and upheaval.

 

  • One core component of this wider reform has been the creation of a modern civil service.

 

  • The ideal here, drawn from Europe’s best practices, has been to build a professional civil service where hiring is based on merit and advancement is based on performance.

 

  • Over the past six years, this idea has been translated into a concept, the concept into legislation, and, over 2017 and 2018, the legislation into implementation.

 

  • UNDP is proud to have supported this process from the earliest days.

 

  • We see a professional civil service as the cornerstone of a governance system that puts citizens first, ensuring that institutions serve the public rather than the other way around.

 

  • We see it as a crucial safeguard to prevent the practice – one seen far too often in the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union – of using the public administration as a political tool to award jobs for partisan loyalty rather than for merit.

 

  • This year has seen major advances towards our shared vision of a professional and apolitical civil service, thanks to the efforts of our partners in the Civil Service Bureau.

 

  • At UNDP we have worked this year to help ensure that the aims and expectations of the reform are communicated and understood clearly, both inside the civil service and among the wider public.

 

  • And we have helped to prepare policy guidance on key challenges for civil servants, for example on receiving gifts, something that is particularly important in this holiday period.

 

  • As we’ll here form our partners today, we have a lot to be proud of, but there is still a lot of work still ahead to ensure that our ideals are translated fully into everyday practice.

 

  • UNDP remains deeply committed to helping to complete this process.

 

  • So let me salute our partners’ efforts, and express our gratitude to the UK, Sweden and Denmark for the financial support and substantive advice that makes our work possible.

 

  • Finally, after a year filled with both daunting challenges and encouraging results, let me wish everyone a peaceful and restful holiday period, and a healthy and happy new year!
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