7th ReSPA Governing Board Meeting at Ministerial level: Cooperation of Public Administrations in Western Balkans
The Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) held its 7th Governing Board Meeting at Ministerial level. On this occasion, Serbia handed over chairmanship of the ReSPA to Albania, and ministers of the region agreed on further collaboration in delivering more effectively on Public Administration Reform. The ReSPA Governing Board Meeting was followed by the Regional Conference on Managing Implementation of Public Administration Reform (PAR) Strategies in the Western Balkans.
Danilovgrad, 12-13 December 2016 – The Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) held its 7th Governing Board Meeting at Ministerial level, with participation of ministers and senior officials responsible for public administrations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Observers from Kosovo* and from the European Commission also participated at this meeting.
Ministers and senior officials responsible for public administrations of the region discussed and agreed on further initiatives to enhance regional cooperation and new models for working together in the framework of ReSPA, with support from the European Commission, that would enable a more effective delivery of public services.
Ministers and senior officials responsible for public administrations of the region adopted the ReSPA Annual Report for the period November 2015 – December 2016, as well as the Annual budget for 2017. At the end of the meeting, Mr. Zeljko Ozegovic, State Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Serbia, representing Serbia as the 2016 Chair of the ReSPA Governing Board, handed over chairmanship to Albania and presented the ReSPA flag to Ms. Milena Harito, Minister of Innovation and Public Administration of the Republic of Albania.
„It is not only the flag that we are handing over, but also the responsibility for what ReSPA has done in the past year in terms of strengthening our public administrations and the work of our civil servants - those who are carrying the heaviest burden in the process of joining the European Union,“ said Mr. Ozegovic. „The process of EU negotiations being very long and complex, we have to have good public administrators to manage it. And we need ReSPA as a regional institution to be involved in this process,“ stated Ms. Harito.
The ReSPA Governing Board Meeting at Ministerial Level was followed by the Regional Conference on Managing Implementation of Public Administration Reform (PAR) Strategies in the Western Balkans the next day, with more than 50 participants representing relevant governmental institutions from Western Balkan countries. The Conference was focused on various models of managing the implementation of PAR strategies in the Western Balkans and readiness of ReSPA Members to effectively tackle this issue. In order to facilitate the conference discussion, ReSPA experts prepared the Analytical Paper on Managing Process of Implementation of Public Administration Reform Strategies in ReSPA Member Countries.
Some of the key conclusions of this Regional Conference are:
- As a rule, PAR strategies are prepared with significant support of various Technical Assistance projects using external expertise. Such situation offers opportunity to apply best practices, but the ownership of the PAR agenda is still limited;
- Administrative capacities of institutions in charge for PAR management and for coordination of the monitoring process are rather limited and need to be strengthened;
- Governments remain committed to reforming public administrations, and the European integration is a key driving force for public administration reforms.
Key recommendations of the Analytical Paper refer to the need for building the capacity of leading PAR institutions for coordination of preparations, implementation and monitoring of the related strategies. Recommendations for the ReSPA role in the process of strengthening capacities for managing the PAR strategies are the following:
- Exchange of information, know-how and regional and broader experience through PAR network working meetings on various levels, conferences and other regional events;
- Organization of regional and national trainings, seminars and workshops regarding specific issues in the process of preparation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of PAR action plans and coordination mechanisms and/or instruments;
- Development of specific manuals and methodologies for different optimisation initiatives.
 *This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and ICJ Advisory opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of independence