MANILA, 4 November 2017 – Ministers and Heads of Delegation of civil service agencies of ASEAN Member States gathered in Manila yesterday for their 2nd ASEAN Heads of Civil Service Retreat. At the core of the retreat is the follow up to the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Role of Civil Service as a Catalyst for Achieving the ASEAN Vision 2025 that was signed by the ASEAN Leaders at the 30th ASEAN Summit in April 2017 in Manila, Philippines.

The retreat recognised headways made in exploring and identifying possible areas where ASEAN cooperation on civil service at regional level and civil service agencies at national level could add value to other sectors of governments, particularly in promotion of civil service competency, responsive civil service, ASEAN awareness in the public sector, and standards in the public sector. The retreat also discussed the expansion of ASEAN civil service cooperation with more dialogue partners, in addition to its strong cooperation with the Plus Three Countries (China, Japan and Republic of Korea) which was formalised in 2010.

By reaching out and working with other government sectors on issues such as labour, gender equality, education, health, environment and disaster management and by strengthening its collaboration with dialogue partners, the ministers expressed optimism that these will contribute to high performing, dynamic, responsive and citizen-centric civil servants that are true catalysts for achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.

The ministers also exchanged views and ideas on how ASEAN cooperation and civil service agencies in member states can be strengthened in the advent of the 4th industrial revolution, rising public expectation and scrutiny, and the needed skills and competencies of civil servants. It was emphasised that civil service agency in each ASEAN Member State will need to develop policies and take concrete measures to address different challenges and maximise opportunities in this fast changing environment.

Following the retreat, delegates from ASEAN Member States were joined by civil servants of the Philippines and experts in the ASEAN Forum on Innovative Leadership held today. The forum provided a learning platform for participants on the different aspects of and approaches towards innovative leadership. The 2nd ASEAN Heads of Civil Service Retreat and the ASEAN Forum on Innovative Leadership are part of the activities led by the Philippines to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.