Matchmaking workshop: “Dripping water hollows out a rock, not through force but through persistence”, 29 October 2021

On 29 October 2021, The South-South Network for Public Service Innovation (SSN4PSI) co-organised a matchmaking workshop  with the Astana Civil Service Hub (ASCH) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) on the sidelines of the Astana Civil Service Hub annual conference 2021. The workshop was conducted in a hybrid mode under the theme “Public Service Delivery in the Era of SDGs”. Approximately 88 people participated virtually and 40 attended physically from the Conference Venue in Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan.

In the opening session, Mr. Maxut Uteshev, Advisor to the Chairman and Head of the Secretariat, Astana Civil Service Hub, Republic of Kazakhstan, asserted that, “Certainly, today’s event is an important contribution to the development of partnerships for effective governance during this uncertain time….it combines efforts and partnership initiatives to share expertise, lessons learnt, know-how and best practices in public service delivery and innovative digitalisation.”

Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, Deputy Director for Programme and Operations, UNOSSC stated that the Global South endeavors to leave no one behind. “Yet, we still can see that many countries are still struggling in terms of innovation policies and institutions which are often not aligned with the real needs of the users.  Therefore, in the process of learning, sharing, match-making, and applying, we need to ensure that the technological innovations are sustainable, inclusive, and adaptable to local conditions and contexts”. Alluding to the power of persistence, she said,

Nine presentations from eight countries, including Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, India, Nepal, Nigeria and Fiji  were delivered.  The public service delivery solutions  presented covered  governance, accelerating digitalisation, education and skills development, and health.

The matchmaking resulted in  57 expressions of interest for partnerships under the South-South Network for Public Service Innovation.

In pursuit of the possibilities for partnerships, the Network Secretariat will follow up and facilitate on the potential partnerships with a view to prompt them to the next step of learning and sharing ideas such as facilitating field visits and adaptation.

In the closing session, Mr. Benjamin Kumpf, Head of OECD Innovation for Development Facility, OECD,  suggested  that, the real important aspect of South-South Collaboration is not only about scaling solutions; “it’s about scaling processes. How can we work in a more nimble way and enhance progress, how  can  we learn continuously and adapt our services with embracing our future thinking”? he reflected.

The last speaker, Mr. Denis Nkala, UNOSSC Regional Coordinator and representative for Asia and the Pacific, added,  “South-South and triangular cooperation are, should, and will play an important role in achieving the SDGs mostly through sharing of knowledge and development solutions, shortening the learning curve, and enabling an achievement of results faster because it has been done before. We are not going to re-invent the wheel but adjust and adapt for results”, he reflected.