Over the last three decades, phenomenal changes have taken place across all countries. One of the turning points was the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the first-ever global commitment to ensuring the development of the poor countries. Following the MDGs, the international community again signed up the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a far broader focus and objectives and more importantly with shared responsibilities of all actors, national governments, the international community, private sector, and other non-state actors. Because of the robust scope and objectives, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development calls for a new ideological imagination and institutional architecture for governance, development and human wellbeing. On the other hand, information communication technology (ICT) has had an overwhelming impact on the business process and lifestyle at every level of human society. ICT continues to transform the world tremendously. Today as we embrace the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), the implications of it over the economy, job opportunities, and social relationship are yet to be fully captured and concluded. However, the toll presumably would be high and complex. ICT has dramatically reduced the cost of service delivery and increased significantly people’s interaction and connectivity with public institutions. Thanks to continued and strong advocacy by the CSOs, NGOs, and academics, people, in general, have been more conscious of and demanding better goods and services. People now consider that a decent and dignified life is their basic right. The successive Human Development Reports (HDRs) of the UN and the inequality reports by the international research institutions have been able to convulse the moral compass of the world.
While encouraging economic growth is evident almost all over the world; inequality is rising sharply as well in tandem with economic growth in many parts of the world. It is reported that the world’s eight richest billionaires control the wealth worth $426bn and this is equivalent to the wealth of 3.6 billion people, half of the world’s population. This intolerable inequality pinpoints the inbuilt deficit of the current development trajectory. It means the current growth approach should be revisited and reoriented to ensure that the people at the bottom benefit from economic benefits. On the contrary, no government today remains the only source of goods and services for its people. Private sector and NGOs have emerged as important partners of governance and development. Much of the development activities are now being financed by the private sector. Alongside the government agencies, the non-state actors are increasingly becoming strong actors for articulating general people’s perspective on development and wellbeing. This evolving situation merits a new approach to partnership and collaboration to ensure synergy in development initiatives at the national level.
Nevertheless, there has been a major change in the global aid architecture and there has been increased global commitment to development effectiveness agenda, yet international development partners continue to influence the policy agenda and development trajectory of the developing countries. Policy ownership is still a pipe dream. This situation can only be reversed by a professional civil service which commands strong capability and leadership. While economic development of many developing counties suffers due to resource constraints, but the global financial integrity reports successively present the hard fact that capital flight is at an alarming level affecting all countries but the poor countries the most. This indicates serious accountability loopholes of the governance.
Climate change is now a hard reality. Moreover, most climate-vulnerable countries are economically poor. Global commitment to addressing climate-change-induced challenges is faltering. Some of the global superpowers have made many things far more complex in this regard. International trade regime continues to remain complex and biased towards the rich countries. The trade war between China and the US has further aggravated the situation. There is complex realignment emerging in the global and regional order.
The above discussions present a very compound and uncertain situation for all countries but more for the emerging economies like Bangladesh. Many countries of the world are undertaking a proactive posture to respond to the situation to address the constraints of the time to keep the national development agenda on track. The civil service as a professional body and the main state instrument for managing good governance and development neither can ignore the changes and challenges nor can afford to continue with this situation. Now, the civil service needs to rise to the occasion and in doing so a major revisit of the situation, institution, the business process is highly important. Within this context Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC) is organizing the 7th International Conference on Governance and Development with the key theme of ‘the evolving nature of governance and development and the need for realigning the civil service’. This international conference is expected to be a platform of interactions and discussions between academics, researchers and practitioners from different regions of the globe. Given the highly ambitious SDGs, countries of all regions need greater collaboration for new knowledge, insights, and skills to achieve the targets of the SDGs at the national level. The discussions of the conference are expected to focus on the special strategic needs of the developing and emerging economies.
The conference scope covers the following sub-themes:
|1||The evolving dimensions of governance and development and the need for recalibrating the rules of the game||Public administration; public policy; civil service; development; collaborative approach to governance; new human and institutional skills for the public sector; leadership; ethics and new values for the civil service; development aid; policy ownership; public-private partnership|
|2||Steering accelerated growth and managing inequality||Economic development; employment generation; managing the market; strategic financing for sustained growth; labor market; trade; inclusive growth model; social safety net; international financing; human development; quality education; private sector; public-private partnership|
|3||Agenda 2030 and the role of the civil service||SDGs; civil service; collaboration and partnership; new scheme for capacity; human and institutional setting; new public passion; developmental states experiences|
|4||ICT and innovation in the public service||Service process reengineering; effective and efficient service; people’s participation and feedback; transparency and accountability; openness; real-time-solution; artificial intelligence; data analytics; big data; e-service|
|5||Strategies for improving quality of governance||Ethical governance; corruption; e-service; e-application; integrity strategy; moral compass; accountability; good governance for development; service professionalism|
|6||The need for a new approach for capacity building for the civil service to work in the SDG regime||New skills; institutional environment; skills framework; global and regional practices; change management; knowledge sharing; training needs assessment; strategic HRM|
|7||Cross-cutting development challenges ||Climate change; international trade; current constraints of the global regime; climate financing; regionalism|