Civil servants of Central Asia and the Caucasus are developing capacity in innovation and digitalisation

On November 4-5, the first in a series of capacity building seminars on Governance Innovation and Digitalisation was organised in the framework of a joint three-year project of the Government of the Republic of Korea, UNDP, and the Astana Civil Service Hub. It was attended by over 70 representatives of government agencies from 12 countries including the seven participating countries of the Project.

Launching the first seminar, the Chairman of the Astana Civil Service Hub Steering Committee, Mr. Alikhan Baimenov noted that “while the project covers various aspects of innovation and digitalization, it is important that the initial seminar is dedicated to ecosystems and conducive environment, which are prerequisites for their sustainable progress.” 

On Day One of the seminar, leading experts from Estonia, Finland, and Korea shared their expertise and experience in developing innovations and digitalizing public service delivery in their countries. 

In particular, the Vice President of the National Information Society Agency (NIA) of the Republic of Korea Dr. Kangtak Oh presented the digital government innovation strategy and solutions that the Republic of Korea employed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed that “the Government is now striving to transfer public sector information resources to the cloud, in data centres operated by the private sector. Next year all data will be transferred into one integrated Data Centre, to which 250 billion Korean won are invested.”
The Government Chief Technology Officer Mr. Kristo Vaher from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia shared a roadmap for a digital transformation and national digital agenda 2030. He highlighted the importance of investing on IT skills and knowledge development, switching to life-event based and proactive services, building a human-centric digital government, and promoting AI-powered government.

In his turn, Director-General of the Public Governance Department, Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Finland, Mr. Juha Sarkio presented the Finnish public sector innovations, including projects that utilize emerging technologies. He noted that “Amid constant changes, we cannot imagine and know in advance what will work and what will not. Instead, we should seek out information and conduct experiments so that we can act in ways that will benefit our citizens.” 

Also, the Senior Manager of the NIA Ms. Jungyeon Lee introduced the key goals, focus areas and implementation plans of the Korean’s “Digital New Deal Policy”, and the national development strategy for overcoming the crisis and revitalising the Korean economy after the pandemic. 

On Day II of the event, participants from the project beneficiary countries, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan from Central Asia, and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia from the Caucasus, exchanged experiences and share the accomplishments and new goals for the development of innovations and digital transformation. 

Particularly, the Head of the Digitalization Department of the Ministry of High-Tech Industry of the Republic of Armenia Mr. Arshak Kerobyan; the Deputy Director of E-Gov Development Center of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Soltan Bayramov; the Manager of Digital Governance and Cyber Security Strategic Directions of the Data Exchange Agency of Georgia Mr. Dimitri Gugunava; the Head of the Monitoring Activities of the “Digital Kazakhstan” State Program Department, Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. Kuanysh Zhomart; the Head of Project Management of the State Enterprise "Infocom" under the Ministry of Digital Development of Kyrgyz Republic Mr. Chyngyz Sultanov; and the Head of the New Technologies Department, Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr. Abubakr Pirov delivered presentations at the seminar.

During the seminar, participants had the opportunity to discuss the issues, related to the development of innovative ecosystem and technologies in the public sector, as well as get recommendations from leading practitioners.
This project is being implemented under the provisions of the signed Grant Arrangement Agreement between UNDP in Kazakhstan (UNDP) and the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) for the implementation of the project “Capacity Building for Innovations in Governance and Digitalization of Public Services”. The project is designed for three years and will be implemented by ACSH and UNDP in partnership with MOIS and NIA. The project is financed by the Government of the Republic of Korea.

The project envisions to conduct workshops to improve and/or upgrade the skills of civil servants with the involvement of leading Korean experts, as well as to organize study visits to government agencies of the Republic of Korea. As a result, civil servants are expected to enhance their knowledge and skills to for implementing best-fit innovative approaches in governance and various methods of delivering public services.

Main areas of activities