Regional Conference on Service Delivery in the European Neighbourhood South Region: Administration for Citizens and Businesses



This conference was held in Marrakech on 14-15 November 2018 and was co-organised by SIGMA and the Moroccan Ministry of Administration Reform and Civil Service. The conference was opened by H.E. Mr. Mohamed Ben Abdelkader, Minister of Administration Reform and Civil Service and the Head of the EU Delegation in Morocco, H.E. Ms. Claudia Wiedey, as well as the Head of the SIGMA Programme, Ms. Karen Hill, and addressed the delivery of administrative services, the relationship between service users and the state, and improvement of the quality of services.

>> Agenda: Arabic I English I French I Concept note: Arabic I English I French I List of conference participants 

In the worldwide competition for investment, with fragile economic growth, the way in which an administration provides services to citizens and businesses can be a decisive factor between success and failure. The European Neighbourhood South region is also part of these changes and challenges. Reforms of administrative services, modern technologies and digitisation are government priorities in many countries in the region. Since 2008, the SIGMA Programme has been actively supporting the European Neighbourhood countries in reforming their public administration, including modernisation efforts for the delivery of administrative services.

The conference was interactive and was organised under three themes: the active role of citizens and businesses in modernising administrative services; simplification of administrative procedures as a prerequisite for good services; and converting digital innovations into tangible results for service users to improve access to information. These topics are all key enablers for developing citizen-centric, accountable administration and providing good administrative services corresponding to the regional context and adding to the sustainable development and competitiveness of these economies.

>> Presentations: Ms. Milena Harito Albania I Mr. Marcel Guenoun IMPGT I Ms. Ikram Himmi Morocco I Mr. João Vasconcelos OECD 
 Mr. Marek Helm Estonia

Each theme was discussed in a panel format with the participation of partner representatives and representatives of the OECD, an EU member country or another SIGMA partner country from a different region. The main points expressed by the participants at the conference were as follows:

  • Service delivery is a particular focus of the current public administration reform agenda and is being prioritised by administrations eager to deliver better services for their citizens and businesses. The quality of services is the litmus test of the quality of public administration. A well-functioning public administration fosters accountability, which is essential for democratic governance and economic development.

  • It was affirmed that citizens should be at the centre of modernisation. The participants recognised the need to engage citizens more and to learn from different segments of the population in order to understand what really matters to them. Citizen engagement should be the basis for prioritisation of focus topics, as well as an integral part of the reorganisation of services.

  • Public administrations need to adapt in order to be able to provide better services. This starts with good leadership and the way in which organisations are managed, but also includes the impetus and competences of civil servants. Technical tools are only a small part of this adaptation, which is fundamentally driven through policies and legislation.

  • Despite different contexts, the main challenges and lessons learned across the administrations are similar, indicating that there is common ground. There was also a shared interest in informal networking between the participants and the possible organisation of future follow-up events to enable further exchanges and learning.

The participants included professional, non-political senior managers (heads of agencies, senior civil servants of ministries) of the invited partner jurisdictions, responsible for horizontal or targeted service delivery and service modernisation initiatives. The conference provided a platform for peer-to-peer dialogue and the exchange of ideas for representatives of the ENP South SIGMA partners (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and the Palestinian Authority1) and Libya, while also introducing comparative insight from an international perspective through the participation of representatives of the EU and the OECD, as well as other international partners active in the region on service delivery issues.

ENP South Service Delivery Conference Morocco June 2018 image 4 ENP South Service Delivery Conference Morocco June 2018 image 3 ENP South Service Delivery Conference Morocco June 2018 image 2

1 Footnote by the European External Action Service and the European Commission: This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the European Union Member States on this issue.


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