After three days of information sharing, debates, and discussions, the 26th EROPA General Assembly and Conference has formally ended on 14 September 2017 with the Second Business Meeting and Closing Ceremonies held at the Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas, Seoul, Korea. Dr. Dong-ho Oh, President of the National Human Resources Development Institute (NHI) and the President of the 26th EROPA General Assembly, presided over the session.
Director-General Hong-Jo Chun of NHI, the General Rapporteur of the General Assembly and Conference, delivered a summary report of what has been discussed in the plenary and parallel sessions of the conference. He explained that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a move forward from the MDGs, are transformative, universal, and inclusive international commitments, which require innovations in the public sector, empowerment of human resources, and stronger partnerships between different stakeholders in governance. He added that, while achieving SDGs is a tall order, given the different views and experiences of each of the countries committed to these goals, the said diversity allows institutions and partners to learn from one another in pursuit of SDGs.
Following is the Report on Future Plans and Programs, by the Chair of the Future Plans Committee, Dr. Masao Kikuchi. He laid down future projects for EROPA, such as extending the communication reach of EROPA to its members, continuation of the membership campaign, and development of ARPA as an online open-access journal. He invited EROPA members to be part of the Future Plans Committee, and proposed that a detailed timeline of activities be plotted in pursuit of the proposed programs and activities.
Meanwhile, Ms. Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones, Chair of the Resolutions Committee, presented for adoption of the 26th General Assembly the agreements that have been earlier agreed upon in the 63rd EROPA Executive Council Meeting. This included the approval of election of the new EROPA Executive Council officials effective 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2019.
Recognizing the efforts of NHI in organizing the conference, EROPA, through Secretary-General Mercado, awarded NHI President, officials and staff with plaques of appreciation. Dr. Akira Nakamura, Professor Emeritus at Meiji University, Japan, received the second Raul P. de Guzman Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Administration. Meanwhile, Mr. Muhammad Syafiq, Deputy for Policy Research at the National Institute of Public Administration, Indonesia, received the Carlos P. Ramos Award for Best Conference Paper for the study, “Public Perception Survey as an Early Warning Method in Reducing Negative Impact of Bureaucratization.”
The heads of state delegation of the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Iran, then gave their respective statements of gratitude to the conference participants. Ms. Alicia dela Rosa-Bala, head of the state delegation of the Philippines, remarked that the theme of the 2017 EROPA Conference, which centers on the SDGs, is very relevant and appropriate to the needs of the times, and highlights the value of governance in attaining the said goals. Dr. Pairote Pathranarakul, head of the state delegation of Thailand, congratulated the conference organizers for bringing together scholars and practitioners and giving them an opportunity to discuss possible innovations and reforms in public administration.
Dr. Luu Kiem Thanh, head of the state delegation of Vietnam, viewed the conference as an avenue for different state to promote adaptability, development and reform of state institutions and their partners. Finally, Mr. Emran Ramezani, head of the state delegation of Iran, expressed their interest to renew their ties with EROPA and actively participate in its activities. He remarked that insights from the conference will help them in improving their plans for administrative reform.
Dr. Muhammad Taufiq, representative from the National Institute of Public Administration, Indonesia, reiterated their plans to co-organize, with Gadjah Mada University, the 2018 EROPA Conference in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, with the theme, “The Future of Public Administration: Managing Global Megatrends.” The conference will be held from 16-20 September 2018.
Finally, in closing the conference, Dr. Dong-ho Oh reaffirmed the active participation of the Korean government in the programs and activities of EROPA. He noted the role of EROPA in establishing a strategy for implementation of programs that help achieve the SDGs. He hopes that future activities would help strengthen partnerships between EROPA and other countries. He expressed gratitude and appreciation to EROPA for recognizing their efforts in preparation for the conference.
A day after the conference, delegates indulged in a whole-day city tour in Seoul, which includes a trip to the National Museum of Korea and the Deongdaemeun Design Plaza.
RESEARCH ON DEBUREAUCRATIZATION IN INDONESIAN BUSINESS LICENSING WINS 1ST BEST CONFERENCE PAPER AWARD
Licensing is one of the government regulations that entrepreneurs need to hurdle in starting their own business. Unfortunately, this is where companies encounter bottlenecks in applying for permits and licenses. This poses transaction costs that would potentially discourage investments and eventually slow down the economy. This is especially evident in the case of Indonesia, which is ranked 41st in terms of the Competitiveness Index and 91st out of 190 countries in the recent World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) index.
It is under this context that Mr. Muhammad Syafiq and his colleague Mr. Naufal Sabda Auliya, researchers from the National Institute of Public Administration, Indonesia, explored means by which they can simplify business licensing in their country. Their study, “Public Perception Survey as an Early Warning Method in Reducing Negative Impact of Bureaucratization,” bagged the first Carlos P. Ramos Award for Best Conference Paper during the 2017 EROPA Conference in Seoul, Korea. Syafiq, Deputy for Policy Research of NIPA-RI, received the Award on behalf of his research team.
Aside from identifying what made business licensing difficult, Syafiq and Auliya also looked into how data from public perception surveys can be used to simplify the process. In particular, the survey data may serve as an Early Warning System that would help determine the optimal limit of the following factors of bureaucratization: hierarchy, impersonality, formalization, and specialization. Consequently, it will be the basis for simplification of the business licensing system.
The study examined procedure, cost, and time variables that affect business-licensing processes in Indonesia, based on surveys administered by the World Bank, Asia Foundation, and the Regional Autonomy Watch (KPPOD). The study found that the licensing system in Indonesia is extremely formalized and specialized, leading to further problems such as overlapping guidelines, partial delegation of authority, and delays due to dependence between tasks and procedures. The study also noted the lack of IT utilization and lack of professionalism of human resources (HR). From these findings, Syafiq and Auliya recommended clear delegation of authority, capacity building for HR, and synchronization of licensing guidelines. They also suggested the full use of IT tools for simplifying business licensing.
The Carlos P. Ramos Award for Best Conference Paper began this year to recognize excellent papers presented in annual EROPA Conferences. It also hopes to draw more quality paper submissions for the conference and for possible publication in academic journals such as ARPA. The Award consists of a certificate and a USD1,000 cash award.
Dr. Akira Nakamura, Professor Emeritus at Meiji University, Japan, received the Raul P. de Guzman (RPG) Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Administration during the Closing Ceremonies of the 2017 EROPA General Assembly and Conference in Seoul, Korea.
Considered as one of the "leading lights" of EROPA, Dr. Nakamura is also the Chair of the EROPA Revitalization Committee and a member of the Editorial Board of the Asian Review of Public Administration. He is also an adviser of the EROPA Local Government Center. In 2010, Dr. Nakamura, with Dr. Pan Suk Kim of Yonsei University, Korea, launched the Asian Leadership Forum (ALF), which serves as a platform for high-ranking officials and policymakers to discuss developments, issues, and insights in public administration. He has chaired eight ALF sessions since then.
A renowned expert in crisis management, political science, and public administration, Dr. Nakamura has been awarded many times for his academic and practical contributions to these fields. He was awarded the Sakurada Kai Sho by the Sakurada Association in 1984 for his renowned publication and research work in political science. In 2006, he was awarded the Medal of Contributions by the Kingdom of Malaysia, earning him the title, Johan Mangkok Nagara (The Most Outstanding Defender of the Realm). He was also awarded an Honor of Contributions to International Cooperation in 2008 for his work with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Dr. Nakamura remains active in his career as an academician and administrator in various academic institutions and government ministries. He was Chair of the Department of Political Science Vice President of Meiji University from 2006-2008, and Dean of Graduate School in the same university from 2002-2008. He is Visiting Professor at the Graduate Research Institute of Policy Studies (GRIPS) since 2009. He is also Adjunct Professor at Local Autonomy College, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan, since 1998.
Aside from this, Dr. Nakamura is affiliated with a number of professional organizations in public administration, such as the International Institute of Administrative Sciences, the Asian Association for Public Administration, Japan Association of the Study of Civil Society, and the Japanese Society of Crisis Management. He is member of the International Advisory Board of the Public Administration Review.
The Raul P. de Guzman Award was initiated by EROPA in 2014 to honor members of the Organization who have significantly contributed to the study and practice of public administration. Dr. Roger Wettenhall of the University of Canberra, Australia, formerly Associate Editor of ARPA and member of the EROPA Revitalization Committee, was the first RPG Awardee.
NHI’s Prof. Hun Hueon Cho chaired the last Parallel Session, 7B, which featured three different examples of empowerment – enabling participation from communities, capacitating government officials and upholding gender equality.
Professor Kenichi Nishimura of the Osaka University in Japan served as the first speaker for the session. His discussion revolved around People’s Participation and the Local Development Council (LDC), as illustrated by the Philippine Case with the primary aim of finding out how LDCs are operated, and how they contribute to the improvement in the performance of the LGUs. Conducting a survey in around 300 LGUs in the Philippines in 2010-2011 for mayors and city/municipal planning and development coordinators, Nishimura’s findings about LDCs have quite a number of implications contrary to the perception of inactiveness of the said council. Results revealed that LDCs are able to help formulate LGU development plans and programs, and are able to meet at least twice a year, as mandated by law. However, most LDCs proved to have difficulty in complying with the provision on representation to the councils. In terms of performance, Nishimura’s study indicated that NGO participation does not really have much to say about improving LGU performance, but in compliance to existing performance measures, more frequent meetings and presence of the mayor in the said gatherings give them higher ratings.
In the second presentation, Ms. Fatemeh Nadjar Shams of the University of Tehran, Iran shared the study made by Seyed Kamal Vaezi and In Pyo Hwang of NHI with regards to the experience of training of officials in Korea. Focusing on the efforts of NHI, she shared programs being promoted by the institution, especially making them internationally competitive and emphasized its current directions of expanding capacity-building in the international arena. The realization of the role of human resource development, as she mentioned, contributes greatly to the success of the (government) administration. The paper looked into training and development (T&D) tools for retention of desirable employees, and enumerated some of the innovative techniques employed by NHI such as development hubs, role-playing, idea development, ethics training, and talent pool management, among others.
The last presentation by Ms. Han Nu Ngoc Ton of Vietnam, who is currently studying at the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) of Thailand, brought gender equality into the spotlight in achieving SDGs. The study sought to introduce covering development policies in Vietnam, review the concept of gender equality in Vietnam, and analyze the achievements and challenges in gender equality. Focusing on the Vietnamese government’s action on gender equality by looking at its 2011-2020 national strategy and minimization of early and inbreeding marriage in the ethnic groups from 2015-2025, Ton recognized the nationwide efforts of gearing towards through guidelines formulated to ensure implementation, as well as supporting policies. She then cited achievements of women in four (4) domains – political, education and training, economic, and health care, particularly increasing ratios in the workforce, higher posts, and high participation rates in previously male-dominated sectors.
As what has initially been pointed out in Parallel Session 5C, this session stresses the importance of strong institutions in reform implementation. It points out some of the challenges in governance and response capacities of certain national and local institutions in the Philippines. The session is chaired by Mr. Daniel Gerson of OECD.
In her presentation, "Towards Strong Institutions: Challenges and Responses in Local Tourism Development in Maribojoc, Philippines," Dr. Maria Fe Villamejor-Mendoza, Dean of the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance, Philippines, argued that strong institutions are needed for sustainable development and tourism. Her study identifies the challenges in local tourism development in the town of Maribojoc, Bohol. It is seen that tourism can be a viable option for the said town, and it will require more capacity-building, multiple stakeholder engagement, participatory regulations, and networking.
Dr. Maria Victoria Raquiza, also of UP-NCPAG, shared the same sentiments as Dr. Villamejor-Mendoza. In her presentation, "Governance that Matters for Development and Structural Transformation," she argued that the current institutional policy and governance framework of the Philippines is insufficient to reduce poverty, and promote industrialization and structural transformation. Despite impressive growth rates, there is also high poverty incidence and high levels of inequality. She explained that, while structural transformation is imperative at this time, it will entail purposeful leadership with developmental vision.
Moving towards the capacity side of reform, the presentation by Dr. Ederson Tapia of the University of Makati, Philippines, focuses on selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Training Institutions (Tis) involved in Governance Education. Governance-capacity connection is recognized to be important in the LGU level. Capacity building is designed to increase knowledge, skills, competitiveness, and improved behavior to bring about desired changes.
Presentations in Parallel Sessions 6B looked at importance of policy research and analysis, taking into consideration the interplay of key actors and their interests, as basis for developing and executing policy reforms. The session is chaired by Professor Byeong-soo Yoon of the National Human Resources Development Institute, Korea. It features cases from Indonesia and the Philippines.
The first presenter, Mr. Muhammad Syafiq of the National Institute of Public Administration in Indonesia looked into the role of a public perception survey in reducing the negative impact of bureaucratization in their country. In particular, the survey involved the perceived problems during the process of business licensing. The study employed policy research, qualitative methods and case studies of six local governments’ business licensing services. Syafiq also looked into procedures, time and cost variables in order to measure the complexity of the services. Results of the perception survey showed problems such as lack of certainty of time and cost, as well as lack of standard procedures – these were further identified as partial delegation of authority, lack of professional HR, overlapping rules and less optimal use of IT. To address the problems, he recommended four simplification strategies: capacity building of human resource apparatus, optimizing the utilization of IT, delegating authority, and synchronizing policies or regulations.
The next presentation was also from Indonesia, which focused on how to use policy analysts for better policies. Ms. Agit Kristiana contextualized her presentation to her home country, she shared the situation and complexity of policy development – thus justifying the need for policy analysts in government institutions. The expected functions and roles of a policy analyst is to conduct policy research and analysis (knowledge to knowledge), bridging knowledge to policy, and bringing this knowledge to communities. However, in her findings, she emphasized the lack of maximization in utilizing policy analysts in the country. Thus, she recommended that her institution, NIPA has to work with the Government Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform in order to take advantage of the policy analysts’ existence in order to further develop policy-making in Indonesia.
The third presentation by Ms. Rosalina Yokomori of the University of the Philippines Diliman discusses regulatory governance done by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA). Laguna Lake, the largest inland body of water in Luzon, is plagued by environmental concerns (pollution and health concerns), resource use (fishery productivity and illegal settlements around the lake) and jurisdictional overlaps, among others. Managing the lake, according to Yokomori, ought to involve stakeholders from government, private sector and the civil society.
Dr. Paulito Nisperos and Ms. Anna Rose Lloren, meanwhile, looked into the situation of estate tax transfer in the Philippines, particularly in the Ilocos Region. The study explored the level of awareness on the documentary requirements of estate tax administration by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), assessors at the provincial, municipal and city levels and the Land Registration Authroity (LRA). It also delved on how much support is received from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) National office and the problems encountered in the process of transacting estate tax. While the authors emphasize the importance of tax transfer, results show that there was partial awareness by families and beneficiaries. At the same time, Lloren also shared that there is perceived inadequacy from the assistance given by BIR, thus the recommendation of having one stop shops with the joint effort of the concerned agencies to effectively process estate tax transfers.
The discussion of public sector reform in Parallel Session 6A2 looks back to the fundamentals, i.e., the kind and level of institutional change needed for attainment of development goals. The session explores incrementalism as a model for innovations in housing policy; indigenization of conservation policy; and the pivotal role of the academe in shaping public administration discourse. The session is chaired by Professor Sung Min Park of Sungkyunkwan University, Korea, and features presentations from Filipino scholars.
Ms. Haydee Jacklyn Quintana-Malubay of the University of the Philippines, in her presentation, "Sustainable Housing for the World’s Urban Masses: Incrementalism and the Policy Innovation Imperative," reviewed how incrementalism can ensure modest gains for sustainable housing. Her paper essentially digs deep into the following conferences that sets world policies on housing and urban development: (1) United Nations Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016, (2) at the Preparatory Committee for UN Habitat III in Surabaya, Indonesia in July of 2016, and (3) the Urban Thinkers Campus in Geneva, Switzerland in October 2015. In her paper, incrementalism might not exactly result to the ideal but she contended that as a general direction towards policy innovation, it could make real the vision to start making a dent in the field or urban housing and development.
Meanwhile, Ms. Loreta Vivian Galima probed into the strategies pursued by the government in restoring and conserving the world heritage areas in Ifugao. The results of the research revealed that the rice terraces of the Cordilleras have significantly transformed since the 1990s, when heritage and development became more intimately connected. The inclusion of these sites in the World Heritage List, and the restoration programs and projects in heritage conservation have clearly played a significant role in the changes of the sites. The study concluded that to optimize the opportunity, sharper handles on conservation and preservation may be adopted. Indigenization, respect for the people’s time-honored practices, recognition of the importance of preserving the people’s culture and not just the structures, shall spell the difference between sustainable measures for restoration and development.
Finally, Mr. Vincent Silarde provided a historical account and valuation of the role of the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), the first and premiere school of public administration in the Philippines, in shaping the academic and popular discourse on governance in the country and the internal and external factors that molded its intellectual foundations. In his presentation he concluded that PA as a field of study has been growing in scope and content as well as changing in focus and style with the times and climes under which the practice of public administration operates.
Are countries in the Asia Pacific ready to tap the gains of the so-called "technological revolution" to make governance more inclusive and participatory? Presentations in Parallel Session 6A1, chaired by Mr. Daniel Gerson of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), highlighted economic and political challenges that hinder the development and adoption of ICTs and other innovations at the national and local level. The session focuses on cases in the Philippines, Indonesia, and other countries.
According to Mr. Jaewon Peter Chun, the fourth industrial revolution, which is currently underway, is different from the previous industrial periods as its main movers are the users of the technology rather than the providers. Mr. Chun provided an overview of the changing dynamics between the government and the main actors in the context of Smart City and Open Innovations. As CEO of the startup company XnTree, Mr. Chun shared his experience in the smart city labs they established in Europe and the challenges they are facing in Asian countries.
On the other hand, Mr. Jhon Dave Llanto, in his presentation, "e-Government Implementation: The Case of City Local Government Units (LGUs) in Mindanao, the Philippines," argued that e-government is a vital tool of the government to achieve the SDGs, in particular Goal 16.7 which pertains to responsive, inclusive and participatory governance. However, the maturity of e-government implementation in the Philippines remains low. It is in this context that Mr. Lllanto’s study aims to assess the level of e-government implementation in city governments in Northern Mindanao through the level of functionality of their respective websites. Mr. Llanto found that the e-government implementation is moderately implemented by city governments as observed in their websites.
Inclusiveness is also the focus of Mr. Octa Sartono's presentation, "Does Public Policy Innovation Promote Inclusive Economic Growth?" Despite the decline in poverty incidence and economic growth in Indonesia, inequality continued to widen as evidenced by the increased Gini coefficient, from 0.33 in 2002 to 0.393 in 2016. This issue serves as the premise of Mr. Soehartono’s comparative study on the relationship between policy innovation and inclusiveness using the cases of Surabaya and Bandung. He found that innovation in public service has positive impact on the improvement of human development, which is more evident in the case of Surabaya than that of Bandung.
Lastly, the session discussed the impact of political factors on reform in the public sector. Professor Carl Marc Ramota of the University of the Philippines Manila contended that, despite having a minimalist-procedural democracy, the electoral system of both Indonesia and the Philippines is dominated by political dynasties. Comparing the case of the Banten province in Indonesia to Philippine experience, Prof. Ramota has drawn some observations and identified factors and characteristics of the Indonesian and Philippine politics and society that made the rise of political dynasties pervasive in their respective milieus.
The lone presenter of Parallel Session 5C, Mr. John Paul D. Antes of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, Philippines, explained some of the factors that drive biofuel production among the top 17 biofuel producing nations in the 2007 and 2008 Biofuels Country Attractiveness Indices commissioned by Ernst & Young. Empirical evidence suggests that environmental concerns appear to be the primary motivation behind the exploration and development of biofuels. Gross national income (GNI) is also a significant determinant of biofuel production. However, the effect of GNI on biofuel production for developed economies differs significantly from biofuel production in developing economies. In particular, strong institutions, in the form of markets, infrastructure and legal framework for the development and use of renewable biomass energy, helped develop the industry.
The author concluded that identifying the determinants of biofuels production and using the data of selected countries that are considered to be pioneers in the production of biofuels may help in developing more effective and efficient biofuel policies.
The session is chaired by Professor Kenichi Nishimura of Osaka University, Japan.
Central to the discussions in Parallel Session 5B is the development of skills, as well as cultural and ethical values, of public servants. Drawing from the experiences of Iran, Korea, and the Philippines, this session put premium on the individual morale and character as a valuable asset in the implementation of reforms for attaining SDGs. The session is chaired by Dr. Paulito C. Nisperos of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Philippines.
Professor Hun Hueon Cho of the National Human Resources Development Institute, Korea, presented a service model in designing course modules for human resource development. Prof. Cho argues that to be able to design an effective course module is to shift the perspective of the one designing from instructional designer’s point of view to the receiver’s. He proposed the following step-by-step process: Listen, Analyze, Develop, Deliver, Execute, and Revise.
Moving from skills and competencies, discussions then centered around values. Ms. Fatemeh Nadjar Shams of the University of Tehran, Iran, began her presentation with the concept of resilience and how resilient ethics plays a critical role, not only in conflict or crisis situations, but also in managing organizations. Ms. Shams tackled how to build the resilience of individuals, organizations and the society at large by developing a resilient administration plan. She underscored the need for resilient administration in conjunction with developing a crisis management system.
Meanwhile, Ms. Gina Salazar situated her study in the context of the lack of discussion on cultural governance in the field of Public Administration in the Philippines. This is despite crucial role of culture in promoting economic sustainability. Ms. Salazar proposed a conceptual framework to configure the relationship of cultural governance with economic and social stability.