As Georgian civil servants celebrated UN Public Service Day, defining the ‘new normal’ was at the center of a lively debate. The ‘Digital and Remote Governance – Modern Challenges’ online conference drew over 300 national and local civil servants to discuss new trends in governance, service delivery and management. The conference also explored the innovative digital solutions that are available to civil servants and citizens alike.
Discussions touched upon a range of issues related to digital governance and remote work, including digital leadership and management tools, data protection, effective use of artificial intelligence, electronic mentoring and coaching systems and work-life balance solutions.
“Georgia’s civil service swiftly and efficiently adapted to pandemic realities,” said Civil Service Bureau Head Catherine Kardava. “In less than a year and a half, we shifted to an electronic operation and introduced new digital systems for training, human resource management and reporting.”
“The pandemic accelerated digital transformation across the public sector and created new opportunities for serving citizens faster and more effectively,” said Acting Head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Anna Chernyshova. “But this rapid process has also raised data security issues and deepened gaps related to unequal access to electronic resources. As Georgia emerges from the crisis, UNDP is assisting civil servants to address these challenges and meet increasing public demand.”
Speakers included representatives from the Government Administration, the Digital Governance Agency, a consulting company ‘Reforms Lab’, the Good Governance Initiative of the United States Agency for International Development, other international agencies and several academic institutions. The conference also featured two invited international speakers, Ayazhan Mukanova, Director of International Cooperation Department at the Zerde National ICT Holding (Kazakhstan), and Nick Thijs, Senior Policy Advisor at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development/SIGMA initiative (France).
Georgia’s Civil Service Bureau organized the event with assistance from UNDP and the Government of Sweden under their broader support for democratic reforms in Georgia.