On 7-13 February 1958, the representatives of the governments of eleven countries in Asia gathered in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) to hold preliminary talks on establishing a permanent institution to promote and to improve public administration and governance in the region. At the Saigon meeting, it was decided that a general conference of states and institutions in the region should be convened in the Philippines in June of that year to consider the structure and other features of such a permanent regional body.
Accordingly, on 7-20 June 1958, a two-week event known as the Regional Conference of Public Administration (RECOPA) was held in the Philippine cities of Manila and Baguio. In attendance were some 80 delegates and observers from Australia, the Republic of China (Chinese Taipei), Hong Kong (then a British Crown Colony), India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, and the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). International organizations such as the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), the Public Administration Service (PAS), the Asia Foundation, the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS), and the United Nations Technical Assistance Administration (now United Nations Development Programme) were also represented.
Among other matters discussed in the conference, it was decided to create a regional organization in order to help advance the economic and social development of the region through the promotion of the study, practice and status of public administration and adoption of good administrative systems.
In the words of President Carlos P. Garcia, "It is therefore my fervent hope that the deliberations will provide the groundwork for the organization of an international body of public administrators whose leadership may well secure the most efficient and competent service from the particular states of which they are citizens."
The constitution was drafted and a provisional Executive Council was elected. The Committee on Constitutional Review was composed of Dr. Franklin Chi-Ch'ing Yao of the Republic of China (Chinese Taipei), Mr. Hiromu Fukada of Japan, Dr. Vu Quoc Thong of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), and Mr. Paul A. Schillings of the IIAS. This Council met in Hong Kong on 15-19 December 1959 to discuss the final details for implementing the plans of the organization. Prof. Carlos P. Ramos of the Philippines was made Provisional Chairman of the Executive Council, and Dr. Jose V. Abueva of the Philippines was made Provisional Secretary-General to prepare for the founding of the organization.
Centers were created in Saigon, Vietnam (Research, Documentation, and Diffusion), New Delhi, India (Training Center), and Manila, Philippines (Secretariat).
The First General Assembly and Conference of the Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration (EROPA) was conducted in Manila on 4-10 December 1960. The Constitution of EROPA took effect on 5 December, when five states in the region, namely Australia, the Republic of China (Chinese Taipei), Japan, the Philippines, and the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), became the founding state members of the organization. Honorable Serafin Salvador of the Philippines was elected the first Executive Council Chairperson, and Dr. Shou Sheng Hsueh of Hong Kong was elected the first Auditor. The representatives of Japan and Vietnam were elected Vice Chairpersons. Meanwhile, Ramos was elected the first Secretary-General. On the same day, the first EROPA General Assembly was formally opened in the Conference Hall of the regional headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Manila. Filipino President Carlos P. Garcia addressed the Assembly at the Opening Session, while Manila City Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson addressed the Assembly at the Closing Ceremony.
Founding institutional members (7) include the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), Indonesian Institute of National Administration (now National Institute of Public Administration), the University of Hong Kong, Korean Association of Public Administration, Society for Public Administration in the Philippines, Vietnamese Association for Administrative Research, and the Confederation of Government Employees Organization in the Philippines.
The conference accommodated delegates and observers from the United Nations (UN), International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS), International Union of Local Authorities (IULA), American Society of Public Administration (ASPA), International Cooperation Administration (now United States Agency for International Development), Association of Government Accountants in the Philippines (AGAP), Confederation of Records Management Associations of the Philippines, Government Training Officers Association of the Philippines, Indo-Pacific Council of Comité International pour l'Organisation Scientifique, League of Governors and City Mayors (later divided into the League of Provinces of the Philippines, and the League of Cities of the Philippines), and the University of the Philippines.
President Garcia signed Proclamation No. 722 on 18 November 1960 declaring 4-10 December as Public Administration Week.
In the tradition of geographers, a region is a definite unit, with its special individuality of geologic formation, climate, vegetation, landscape, and human culture. On the other hand, it may be hypothesized that perhaps the odd-line concept of a region cannot and should not apply to the purposes of RECOPA and of the proposed permanent organization. Thus, a "region" was assumed to exist for purposes of sharing common concerns. The very diversity of the participating countries drew them together to exchange ideas and practices from their varied national experiences to seek that common goal of improving public administration for economic and social advancement.
The Local Government Center was created on 1 October 1964 in Tokyo, Japan. Since then, they have been conducting international training programs which received more than 600 participants from 65 different countries.
The Third General Assembly and Conference held in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 7-17 November approved the creation of associate membership for institutions and individuals. This allowed institutions and individuals outside Asia and the Pacific region to join the EROPA. This also realized the notion of understanding "region" as "shared concerns and goals" than mere geographical or cultural considerations.
The First Asian Consultative Conference on Foreign Service Development was held in Manila, Philippines on 27 September to 1 October 1965. It had more than 70 participants from at least 20 countries. Among the keynote speakers were Honorable Nasrollah Entezam, President of the United Nations General Assembly from 1950 to 1951, and Dr. Victor Chi-tsai Hoo, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1946 to 1947.
Filipino President Diosdado Macapagal signed Proclamation No. 447 on 6 September 1965 declaring 27 September as EROPA Day. In signing, Macapagal states that since its formation in 1960, the EROPA has been an effective instrument for bringing about good government among the member countries and fostering regional cooperation in the field of public administration.
Pakistan was admitted as the ninth state member of the EROPA in October 1965.
In 1966, the organization was accorded with Special Consultative Status (formerly Consultative Status Category II) by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The organization was also accorded a permanent seat in the annual meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Thailand. This highlights the cooperation between EROPA and the United Nations. Since then, the EROPA had been sending representatives to the United Nations.
In the same year, the Organization and Management Center (now Development Management Center) was created in Seoul, Republic of Korea (South Korea). Since then, they have conducted international executive development and human resource development programs.
Malaysia was admitted as the tenth state member of the EROPA through the Public Service Department in December 1966.
The First Foreign Service Course was conducted from 21 July to 9 September 1967 in the Philippines. Upon the recommendations of its participants, the Second Foreign Service Course followed, which was held in the Republic of Korea from 5 July to 9 August 1969. The course was made to study and analyze significant problems of foreign relations, provide an opportunity for improving knowledge and skills in diplomacy, and broaden the perspective of foreign relations in terms of shared development.
In the words of President Ferdinand Marcos, "The establishment and preservation of regional harmony will exercise the vital role in the management of world peace."
In September 1967, the Center for Land Reform and Rural Development was created in Taipei, Republic of China (Chinese Taipei).
In cooperation with the Commemorative Association for the Japan World Exposition (日本万国博覧会, Expo '70), the EROPA was able to undertake a number of activities, including the Sixth Foreign Service Course, held on 22 June to 29 July 1974 in Manila, Philippines and Berlin, Germany, as well as the Eight General Assembly and Conference on Asian Development Strategies and the Role of Public Enterprise, held in Iran on 16-23 October 1976.
In January 1982, Dr. Raul P. De Guzman of the Philippines assumed the position of Secretary-General, succeeding Ramos. In the same year, the EROPA Bulletin resumed publication after a five-year hiatus with Arturo Pacho as editor.
The EROPA Journal was published to succeed the defunct EROPA Review as the organization's flagship journal. Dr. Inayatullah of Pakistan became its editor. The EROPA Journal will continue until 1984, when the organization shifted support to existing publications such as the Philippine Journal of Public Administration, and the Indian Journal of Public Administration.
EROPA commemorates its Silver Jubilee (25th anniversary) with eleven state members, 52 institutional/group members, and 105 individual members.
The EROPA Educational Development Fund was established to help finance scholarships, research projects, seminars, workshops, and related activities.
The EROPA cooperated with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to accomplish a special project on the assessment and evaluation of public administration education and research in 1986. Two years later, the two organizations collaborated for a special project on public management education.
In the same year, the 32nd Executive Council Meeting and Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand on 7-9 November approved the creation of associate membership for nations. This allowed states outside Asia and the Pacific region to join the EROPA. This also realized the notion of understanding "region" as "shared concerns and goals" than mere geographical or cultural considerations.
The Asian Review of Public Administration was launched as the flagship journal of the organization, succeeding the EROPA Journal in 1989. Prof. Mila Reforma was designated as its first editor-in-chief, and Dr. Danilo Reyes as its first associate editor. The journal continues to be published to this day.
In the same year, the People's Republic of China assumed the state membership of the Republic of China through the Ministry of Personnel (now Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security).
In 2012, the EROPA Online Youth Network (OYN) was set up in cooperation with the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) in accordance to an agreement between the two organizations to share research, information, experience, and skills, as well as undertake joint programming and publications to foster and support excellence in public administration.
In May 2014, the E-Government Research Center was created in Beijing, People's Republic of China. Since then, they have conducted international seminars on e-governance attended by participants from various countries.
The 26th General Assembly and Conference organized by the EROPA held from 11-15 September in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the agenda of the United Nations for international development set to be achieved by 2030. This displays the support of the organization to the aims of the United Nations. With more than 600 participants from at least 17 countries, it has become one of the largest conferences hosted by the organization.
Ahead of the 2017 conference, the Carlos P. Ramos Award for Best Conference Paper was launched. The introduction of this aims to invite quality paper quality submissions for the annual conferences.
December 5 marks the organization's diamond jubilee year, and in its 60 long years, the EROPA community grew to 10 state members, 100 institutional members, and 667 individual members