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Opening remarks - Regional conference on the functioning of centres of government in the Western Balkans - Ms. Karen Hill

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Opening remarks given by the Head of Programme for SIGMA, Ms. Karen Hill, at the Regional conference on the functioning of centres of government in the Western Balkans held in Danilovgrad, Montenegro on 22-23 June 2017.

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Opening remarks - Regional conference on the functioning of centres of government in the Western Balkans - Ms. Karen Hill

  1. 1. 2 Rue André Pascal 75775 Paris Cedex 16 France mailto:sigmaweb@oecd.org Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 24 82 00 Fax: +33 (0) 1 45 24 13 05 www.sigmaweb.org This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. It should not be reported as representing the official views of the EU, the OECD or its member countries, or of beneficiaries participating in the SIGMA Programme. The opinions expressed and arguments employed are those of the authors. This document and any map included herein are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. As SIGMA is part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the same conditions of use apply to its publications: http://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions *This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo’s declaration of independence . Key messages for the introduction of the conference on the functioning of the Centres of Government in the Western Balkans (22-23 June 2017 – Danilovgrad, Montenegro) (Key message delivered by Karen Hill, Head of Programme, SIGMA) I am very happy that we produced this SIGMA paper, not only because it is a great paper, and very interesting, but also because a strong, effective and well co-ordinated centre of government (CoG) is essential for a citizen-focused public administration that delivers. Due to its horizontal outreach, the functioning of the CoG has effects on almost everything a government does in a country. Understanding and analysing how the CoG is organised and works has become increasingly important for scholars and practitioners, but is still an area that is somewhat under-developed in terms of comparative knowledge. The SIGMA comparative analysis in our paper (SIGMA Paper 53) is therefore an important attempt to systematically develop our knowledge of the functioning of the CoGs of the Western Balkans. Over the past few years, SIGMA has been working more and more with key CoG institutions to enhance their performance but it was only last year that a separate professional team within SIGMA was established which focuses its work partially on these matters. Working with CoGs in the Western Balkans (and elsewhere) also confirmed many of the key findings of our comparative study that will be introduced in more detail today. But the work on this report also helped us to better understand the similarities and differences of issues (and the reasons behind those issues) we identified while working with you. We are here today to engage in an open and collaborative discussion with you for two special reasons: 1) on the one hand, we at SIGMA truly believe that the best way we can contribute to the enhancement of our partner countries is through listening to them and finding good solutions to their specific needs together; 2) on the other hand we also believe that sharing country-specific experience, acknowledging similarities and engaging in discussion with peers, overall formulating and maintaining a network of professionals working on the same or similar issues is the best way to learn fast and build upon the experience of each other in order to avoid some failures and achieve good results faster. I hope that today’s discussions will serve both objectives and we can end the day by starting a new chapter in our co-operation with each other through developing our network of professionals from CoGs, supported by the presence of the EC and the expertise of the OECD, SIGMA, the ReSPA and the RCC.

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