State secretaries and heads of agencies attended the top managers training by UNDP Mongolia

Specialized Training for Top Managers

Opening speech by Ms. Beate Trankmann, UNDP Resident Representative

The National Academy of Governance, 16 March 2019

Mr. Togtokhsuren, Member of Parliament,

Mr. Bayasgalan, Deputy Chief, Cabinet Secretariat,

Mr. Baatarzorig, Chairman of the Civil Service Council of Mongolia,

Dear State Secretaries, Heads of Agencies,

It is great to join you today to consider how we lead through complexity and change. We usually talk about change as something that is coming. But in our 21st century world great changes are increasingly present. And increasingly rapid. The shifts we see around us now are volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – or, ‘VUCA.’ The horrific terror attack that took place in New Zealand yesterday is an example of VUCA. My heart goes out to the families of the victims and injured. Like New Zealand, Mongolia is a country seen as a peaceful and safe. But as everywhere societies and leaders have to be increasingly vigilant against new emerging threats like extremism for example.  And while we do not always chose change, we can chose how we handle it. Even major changes can be navigated, influenced and managed by skillful leaders and strong teams.

The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2022 more than half of all employees will need considerable new skills. Mongolia and its public sector are no exception.

This means that professional skills, must evolve to remain relevant, and to allow public institutions to deliver the services needed today, all while anticipating the needs for tomorrow. Careers are becoming a life-long learning process. We must reinvent ourselves constantly, because change is the only certainty.

Countries that are creating the space within their public service to not only embrace but anticipate change, integrating fore-sighting, experimentation and innovation into their business models and processes, are the new global leaders in public service excellence. Singapore is one such example.

What is important though, is that these countries are able to stay nimble because they have built the strong foundation of a professional, merit-based and stable civil service. The core strengths of meritocracies – high-quality, efficient, and ever-inventive services – are what enables them to adapt, or even fly through, the winds of change.

The Government of Mongolia is responding to the need for change with the new civil service reform. And that reform is at a critical juncture. The new Civil Service Law took effect in January – but much work is still needed to realise the new merit--based approach that defines it.

The civil service wide professionalization training is a key element in this context and I congratulate the Civil Service Council, Cabinet Secretariat and the National Academy of Governance for getting this process underway today with the launch of the first certification training for Top Managers. UNDP is pleased to be associated with the important efforts pertaining to civil service reform in Mongolia and I would like to acknowledge with thanks the generous funding support provided by Canada.

   I am particularly delighted that we have Prof. Zeger van der Wal from the Lee Kuan Yuan School of Public Policy in Singapore and Mr. Ryan Orange, the former NZ Civil Service Commissioner with us. Thank you for your time and for agreeing to facilitate the discussion, and push us all to think through how to lead and inspire change and manage its complexities.

While the challenges of change are universal, Mongolia’s civil service reform needs are unique to Mongolia. You, as leaders in your institutions, are the ones who know what must change, and you have the power to make it happen.

A world without poverty, that can keep sustaining life, is what nations – including Mongolia – promised under the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are a call for change –to urgently address the seismic shifts of our times - driven by inequality, urbanization and climate change. Only by leading through these changes, can our shared future be secured.

The most powerful change begins with us. I wish you all fruitful discussions in how to not only navigate change, but to ignite it, to serve every Mongolian, today and tomorrow.

·     Thank you.


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