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.