Public administration reform and modernisation in the Eastern Partnership

Project description

Title: Regional Fund for Public Administration Reform at the Local and Regional Level in the Eastern Partnership Countries
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine
Overall term: 2016 to 2019

Context

Launched in 2009, the Eastern Partnership aims to strengthen ties between the European Union (EU) and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In 2014, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine signed Association Agreements with the EU and undertook to implement institutional and legal reforms. Armenia has since joined the Eurasian Economic Union and plans to sign a new bilateral Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU in November 2017. Azerbaijan and the EU are also engaged in negotiations on a Strategic Partnership Agreement.

The governments of the Eastern Partnership countries face significant challenges in effectively communicating and successfully implementing the necessary and highly complex reforms. One of the key challenges involves achieving quick results in order to make the advantages of the EU association process tangible for the population.

Due to their respective historical legacies, the public administrations of Eastern Partnership countries remain largely inefficient. To differing degrees, they face the task of developing urgently needed financial, technical and personnel resources and skills. In addition, institutional and legal frameworks must also be developed which will enable these public administrations to operate effectively.

Democracy and good governance are at the centre of the Regional Fund’s cross-country cooperation. Reform processes within public administration represent a cross-cutting issue. Despite differing country-specific political dynamics and approaches to reform, the issues addressed by large-scale reforms are similar across these countries, This is a great opportunity to share approaches to solutionson issues such as improving services for their population and the economy. In the future, the public actions taken by the administrations must become considerably more citizen-oriented and transparent.

Objective

The conditions for the implementation of administration reform in the countries of the Eastern Partnership are improved.

Approach

The Regional Fund is used to finance sub-projects, which complement GIZ projects related to public administration reform and good governance. Thematic areas that have not received previous funding from these projects can be covered based on the needs of the partners. In this way,reform dynamics, political trends and needs in the countries of the Eastern Partnership can be flexibly addressed. The Regional Fund supports sub-projects with terms of up to two years and volumes of up to EUR 500.000.

The objectives of the sub-projects financed by the fund are:

  • Boosting the capacity of experts and managers involved in reforms
  • Enhancing the performance of public administrations, e.g. ministries, national and regional agencies, and municipalities
  • Networking relevant stakeholders and promoting cooperation and mutual learning
  • Improving the regulatory and institutional framework for implementing reforms

How the sub-projects are structured may vary depending on each country’s particular interest in reform, its current state of knowledge and its political dynamics.

SIGMA, a joint initiative by the OECD and the EU, has cooperated with the European Commission to define principles of effective and efficient public administration. On the basis of these SIGMA principles, the needs of the Eastern Partnership countries with EU Association Agreements as well as those of countries pursuing their own path are met. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, for example, have decided not to conclude Association Agreements with the EU.

Depending on their thematic area, sub-projects are designed to be either country-specific or cross-country and to focus on one or more of the three areas of action:

  1. Cross-country knowledge and experience sharing
  2. Improved capacities among selected stakeholders relevant to reform
  3. Tangibly positive changes for citizens and for public administration staff

Work commenced on the first four sub-projects in July and August 2017:

  1. E-governance for more citizen orientation and transparency in public administration
    Participating countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine
  2. Strengthening the Parliamentary Administration in the Eastern Partnership
    Participating countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine
  3. Exchange platform for the chapter on ‘regional development’ within the Association Agreements of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine
    Participating countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine
  4. Structural Reform of the Government of Moldova Participating country: Moldova