It gives me great pleasure to be in your midst this morning for this important initiative which aims to contribute to an overall change in the way that Government conducts its business in service to the citizens and others in Mauritius.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The importance of a resilient public sector, which takes a “whole of government approach” to public service delivery in support of equitable social development is undisputable. The United Nations Development Programme has a long history of extending financial and technical assistance to successive Governments in Mauritius; and I am especially pleased that under Component 3 of the current country programme on “Inclusive Development and Public Sector Efficiency”, we have been able to assist with this integrated approach towards organizational change in the ten pillars identified in the Public Sector Business Transformation Strategy. I am made to understand that the shift from civil service reform topublic sector business transformation has featured prominently in the Government Programme since 2015 and is aimed at achieving vision 2030.
Today we are witnessing a key step in the efforts from various stakeholders towards public service resilience underpinned by efficiency, accountability, excellent customer care and driven by innovation. No doubt such an initiative requires bold actions, ownership and leadership in bringing this programme to fruition. I would, therefore, like to extend congratulations to the Honourable Minister Boissézon in spearheading major public sector reforms and setting out a clear pathway for positive transformation in collaboration with all stakeholders.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For UNDP, it is our hope that this paradigm shift in the present institutional framework will support the development of an efficient and effective public service well positioned to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The Public Sector Business Transformation Strategy (PSBTS) will not only support gains for Goal 16 of the SDGs; but also have a cross cutting impact for the other goals; including Goal 8 on Economic Growth; Goal 9 on Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Goal 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities and Goal 5 on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality.
Moreover, Goal 16 stipulates the promotion of “peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. The targets under SDG 16 highlight several concepts that may be viewed as institutional principles. These include effectiveness, transparency, accountability, anti-corruption, inclusiveness of decision-making processes, access to information, and non-discrimination of laws and policies. Working towards the full implementation of SDG 16 by the Government of Mauritius is testimony to the strong signal being sent from the highest level of decision making that institutions are not neutral conduits for implementing strategies and policies; but rather, that the institutional setup is a primary enabler and determinant of sustainable development outcomes.
Sustainable Development Goal 17, which relates to Partnerships to Achieve the Goals, remains especially important to tapping into domestic resources to achieve the SDG agenda and build capacity for the achievement of national plans. Concurrently, the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations and the SDGs both state that strong and resilient institutions are necessary to achieve social accountability, human capital development. Therefore, the strengthening of the Public Sector is seen as a priority for many UN Member States.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Globalisation and the pluralisation of service provision have been the driving force behind the financial and technical assistance extended by the UNDP in different developing countries. We have learned that transformative coherent public sector reforms need to draw on a range of change management and public sector reform models that put the needs and interests of citizens at the heart of the transformation, within a rights-based approach to development across public sector agencies and rooted in democratic theory and inclusive structures with shared leadership and common visions. Furthermore, establishing a monitoring and evaluation mechanism informed by SMART gender sensitive indicators will also pave the way for constant improvement and guide evidence- based policy making.
I am, therefore, glad to see that amongst the 10 different pillars identified under the PSBTS, of special relevance is the need to address performance, growth and development to scale up the efficiency. I would like to suggest that the contribution of civil servants lies at the heart of the success in implementation of this Strategy. A change management process that puts employees at the heart of the transformation will be essential; and require deployment of sustainable mechanisms to provide capacity development on sectoral issues for the civil service in the light of emerging challenges both at the national level, and in line with international trends.
Likewise, accountability for results requires an effective performance evaluation system, which is aligned to the priority areas of Government, alongside a clear vision statement and gender sensitive performance indicators that resonate with productivity and work-life balance. The paradigm shift that is taking place in Mauritius will see the move towards result-orientation; and its’ success will depend to a large extent upon a cultural change in the public sector.
Moreover, adopting Results based management remains a crucial dimension that integrates strategy, people, resources, processes and measurements to improve decision-making, transparency, and accountability. The approach focuses on achieving outcomes, implementing performance measurement, learning, and adapting, as well as reporting performance. The existing Performance Appraisal System would, thus need to be aligned to the results management process.
On this note, please rest assured of UNDP Mauritius’ continued support to the Government of Mauritius in its endeavor to achieve the SDGs.
I look forward to hearing about the results of this workshop and wish you fruitful deliberations.