RAMALLAH, May 29, 2014 (WAFA) – A conference on the challenges facing the development of the civil service in Palestine took place in Ramallah on Thursday.
The First Conference of Civil Service development in Palestine: Experiences, Challenges and Risks was held by the General Personnel Council (GPC) in cooperation with an EU-funded project to support civil service reform in the West Bank and Gaza, with the presence of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter.
The conference was devoted to the actual issues of the development of the public administration and civil service in the Palestine National Authority. Welcoming notes were given by Hamdallah and the EU Gatt-Rutter. The introductory report was presented by the Chairman of the General Personnel Council Mousa Abu Zeid. A delegation from the Bahrain Institute of Public Administration led by Director General Ra’ed Ben Shams also attended as guests of the Conference.
The first session of the conference focused on reviewing the best international practices in civil service development in the European Union, the region and new developing democracies of the Middle East. Speakers from the EU project as well as from PNA stressed the importance of following key principles of the civil service: political neutrality, professionalism, orientation towards the needs of society, transparency and accountability.
The second session dealt with new developments, trends and challenges in the civil service in the Palestine National Authority. Representatives from the GPC and Ministry of Finance presented recent initiatives on job classification systems stressed the importance of efficient civil service in the context of public budget management, and perspectives of international cooperation.
Abu Zeid expressed his thanks to the European Union for supporting the civil service reform project: “This project is geared towards preparing the civil service to become one of the key state building forces in Palestine. It is in line with the General Personnel Council’s strategic plan and the 13th government program – Establishing the State: Ending the Occupation”. By supporting such initiatives, the EU is manifesting its role in state building in Palestine, he said.
“The civil service reform project aims to support the PA’s efforts in modernizing and streamlining its public administration. This is an important and challenging task for governments everywhere in order to ensure that they are able to deliver services to their people in an efficient and transparent manner,” said Gatt-Rutter. ‘A significant portion of the EU direct financial assistance goes to the PA recurrent expenditures, particularly to salaries and pensions. The EU is, therefore, sharing the PA’s interest of having public services that work with the maximum efficiency and, at the same time, delivering high quality services to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”