On August 5, in Hanoi, as the rotating Chair of the 21st ASEAN Cooperation on Civil Service Matter (ACCSM 21), the Ministry of Home Affairs of Viet Nam held the ASEAN Cooperation on Civil Service Matter Heads of Civil Service meeting (ACCSM HEAD) with the theme: “Modernizing the Civil Service toward a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community”.
Viet Nam’s Minister of Home Affairs Mrs. Pham Thi Thanh Tra chaired the meeting.
Attending the meeting were Heads of civil service from ASEAN countries, senior officials, ACCSM focal points, the ASEAN Secretariat, the Australian Public Service Commission, representatives of a number of ministries, central agencies and a number of dependent units under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Minister of Home Affairs Pham Thi Thanh Tra warmly welcomed the Ministers, Heads of Delegations and delegates and distinguished guests attending the ACCSM 21 Heads of Civil Service meeting.
Minister Pham Thi Thanh Tra said that the ACCSM 21 takes place in the context of the new normal when the COVID-19 pandemic has been controlled and countries are in the process of accelerating socio-economic recovery and development. The COVID-19 pandemic has made countries change their awareness, adapt, and flexibly adjust their approach to managing change. Therefore, the contribution of the civil service in this process is very important, in which administrative modernization is required to both respond to new challenges and better serve the people and businesses, thereby supporting and maintaining stable socio-economic development.
Minister Pham Thi Thanh Tra hoped that the important results at this meeting would shape the professional, sharing, and sustainable ASEAN civil service. (1) The introduction of solutions to promote ASEAN cooperation in the new situation, (2) the implementation of Singapore’s initiative to promote cooperation with dialogue partners such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India and bringing the relationship between ACCSM and these dialogue partner countries to a new level, as well as (3) the implementation of Viet Nam’s initiative on the Declaration on Fostering the Civil Service’s Adaptability to the New Challenges – officially adopted at the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits, will comprehensively promote cooperation in public services of ASEAN countries in a new stage of development, towards a prosperous and sustainable ASEAN Community, enhancing ASEAN’s position in the world and for the future of each member in the Community.
At the meeting, Mr. Vu Chien Thang, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, reported the results of the ACCSM 21 Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and the 6th ACCSM+3 SOM held on August 3, 2022.
Regarding the implementation of the ACCSM Work Plan for the 2021-2025 period, the ACCSM 21 SOM reviewed all 31 projects/activities. In which, there are 07 completed projects (23%); 05 ongoing projects (accounting for 16%) and 19 projects being planned for implementation (accounting for 61%).
As of August 3, 2022, 12 projects/activities have been completed or are being implemented (accounting for 39%); 19 projects are being planned for implementation (accounting for 61%). Thus, the five-year ACCSM Work Plan for the 2021-2025 period is still on schedule.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vu Chien Thang also said that after the SOM and SOM+3 on August 3, the ASEAN Secretariat compiled reports on the results of these meetings and sent it to all member countries. Up to now, all countries have basically agreed on the content of the report and have preliminarily approved it to report to the Heads of ASEAN Civil Service meeting on the morning of August 5.
On behalf of the ASEAN Secretariat, Mr. Ekkaphab Phantavong, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General, gave a brief report on the relevant decisions of the ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council Meeting, and other relevant ASEAN meetings held since the ACCSM Focal Points Meeting in November 2021.
Information includes (1) Building the ASEAN Community Vision Post-2025, (2) implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, (3) implementing the ASEAN Action Plan on Culture of Prevention, (4) implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Framework on Care Economy, (5) implemented Consolidated Strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for ASEAN, and (6) implementing the ASEAN Strategic Policy Framework on Promoting an Adaptive ASEAN Community of greater understanding, tolerance and a sense of regional agendas among the peoples of ASEAN.
Mr. Ekkaphab Phantavong also briefly presented the ACCSM Strategic Partnership Framework that was provisionally approved at the ACCSM SOM on June 15, 2021. The framework has supported the role of ACCSM as a specialized body on cross-pillar good governance, including anti-corruption.
At the meeting, the delegates noted updates and exchanged views on how to expand ACCSM’s cooperation with other specialized ASEAN bodies and external agencies through the use of the framework as guidance.
On behalf of Viet Nam’s Ministry of Home Affairs delegation, Mr. Chu Tuan Tu, Director of the International Cooperation Department, presented the Action Plan to implement the ASEAN Declaration on Fostering the Civil Service’s Adaptability to the New Challenges, which was provisionally approved by the ACCSM 21 Heads of Civil Service in 2021 and subsequently recognized at the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits.
Accordingly, the Action Plan will interpret the Declaration into practical activities at the national and regional levels through the following measures:
At the national level: Encouraging the ASEAN member countries to integrate/embed the Declaration into the policy development process; encouraging ASEAN member countries to disseminate the Declaration to ministries and other stakeholders and translate it into their respective national languages if necessary; encouraging ASEAN member countries to interpret the commitments in the Declaration into practice by integrating/embedding them into the policy development process.
At the regional level: Encouraging ASEAN member countries to develop new initiatives in the ACCSM and ACCSM+3 Work Plans for the 2021-2025 period to implement the Declaration; encouraging ASEAN member countries to form more cooperative relations with potential partners such as ASEAN+3 countries, dialogue partners, and international organizations; organizing meetings, dialogues, and joint activities to share information and best practices as activities on implementing the Declaration.
At the Conference, Mr. Grant Lovelock, First Assistant Commissioner, Australian Public Service Commission, shared information about Australia’s interest in collaborating with ACCSM on areas of common interest.
The delegates of ASEAN countries agreed on the program contents at the meeting.
By the end of the meeting, Minister Pham Thi Thanh Tra said that Ministers, leaders and representatives of the 10 ASEAN countries had fully attended the meeting, demonstrating trust and determination to cooperate for a modern civil service, for a cohesive and responsive ASEAN community, serving the people, taking the people as the center and socially responsible.
Minister Pham Thi Thanh Tra emphasized that in the meeting, ASEAN countries have agreed to continue effectively implementing the ACCSM Work Plan 2021-2025, building a vision of the ASEAN Community Post-2025, expanding ACCSM’s cooperation with other ASEAN bodies, implementing ASEAN frameworks, action plans and strategies on promoting a responsive ASEAN community with greater understanding and tolerance, which will aim to build an open, transparent, professional and modern civil service in association with improving civil service ethics, digitizing civil services, promoting e-government, digital government, and digital society.
Minister Pham Thi Thanh Tra believed that the results achieved at this meeting would be promoted and developed by Brunei Darussalam in the role of the successor Chair of the ACCSM 22, thereby bringing the ASEAN civil service to move forward and towards an ASEAN Community with a vision of deep integration, proactive adaptation, comprehensive recovery, and sustainable development.
As the Chair of the ACCSM 21, Minister Pham Thi Thanh Tra thanked the attendance of the Heads of Delegations of ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General, the Australian Public Service Commission, and all delegates.