ACSH-ICSC Workshop in New York: Advancing Merit-Based Civil Service HRM in the 21st Century

From November 27 to 30, the Astana Civil Service Hub (ACSH) and the UN International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) jointly organized a capacity development workshop in New York, USA. This collaborative effort focused on 21st-century merit-based civil service human resource management (HRM) was specifically designed for the heads and representatives of the authorized state bodies from the ACSH participating countries. Building on the discussions initiated in the December 2022 workshop in Baku, the activity further delved into contemporary practices in strategic human resource management as outlined by the ICSC.

Opening the workshop, Chairman of the ICSC H.E. Mr. Larbi Djacta underlined the current imperative for organizations to have resilient staff capable of navigating uncertainty and diverse dynamics. To achieve this, he emphasized the need to focus on attracting and retaining individuals with the right values and skills from diverse backgrounds. Mr. Djacta highlighted the significance and uniqueness of the Astana Hub in assisting participating countries to shape the professional model for a career in civil service.


Welcoming the participants, Chairman of the ACSH Steering Committee Mr. Alikhan Baimenov pointed out that fostering a merit-based civil service is a common goal among the participating countries of the Hub. The establishment of specialized state bodies for civil service affairs in these countries has allowed to increase the level of professionalization of HR units within government entities. This, in turn, contributed to the overall strengthening of institutional and legislative frameworks of the civil service. At the same time, the countries of the region are facing certain challenges, and addressing them effectively requires learning from the best international practices observed in individual countries and global organizations, including the ICSC.

The International Civil Service Commission shared its perspectives on contemporary human resource management practices within the UN common system, encompassing the framework for HR management, sandards of conduct, job classification, compensation system, and performance appraisal. The workshop participants were also offered sessions on the UN Resident Coordinators system, UN Values and Behaviours Framework, performance management system, and talent acquisition, delivered by UN Development Coordination Office, Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, Department of Operational Support, and UNDP representatives.

Discussing cross cutting issues of the importance and benefits of merit-based civil service practice, the participants from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan also shared their experience and progress in human resource management policies, practices, and processes towards a merit-based civil service.

In his introductory remarks, Chairman of the Agency for Civil Service Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. Darkhan Zhazykbay shared some insights on measures to improve the civil service in Kazakhstan, aimed at creating a “human-centricity” and service-oriented state apparatus based on a hybrid model of civil service. He also spoke about the Agency’s projects to improve the quality of the country’s human resources through the creation of social elevators for youth, such as the Presidential Youth Personnel Reserve and the possibility of direct appointment to grassroots positions for university graduates with high academic performance, as well as attracting experienced specialists from the private sector.

These deliberations were enriched by the valuable contributions of distinguished public administration experts from the United States, representing the American Society for Public Administration. At the conclusion of the workshop, Mr. William Shields, the executive director of the ASPA, was honored with a special ACSH award for the valuable contribution to the enhancement of partnership.

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