Conference theme:

     Across the globe, growth and productivity have fluctuated while people of both developed and emerging countries still face rising levels of inequality as well as erosion of social cohesion. This has led to a global consensus on the need for a more inclusive and sustainable model of growth and development that promotes higher living standards for all. Central to the policy debate on the issue of inclusive growth is the ability of governments to put in place policies that deliver economic growth together with better sharing of the benefits among social groups. These benefits go beyond income to include inclusive outcomes across the different dimensions that matter for societal well-being, such as jobs, education, health, and other public services.

     The nature of inclusive growth itself demands strong government capacity to deal with complex problems as well as strong levels of policy coherence. Public governance, through the principles and mechanisms driving decision-making with accountability and engagement of stakeholders with the more advanced digital tools, can be a key reinforcement of sound and sustainable policy making for inclusive growth. This may require new approaches to policy making that cut across policy sectors and levels of governments with the aim of pursuing inclusive growth and development outcomes. In particular, a whole-of-government approach that aligns vision, incentives and delivery mechanisms across the policy-making cycle should be required.

     Despite relatively brighter economic growth prospect, at least in the near future, for the Asia Pacific countries, concerns over the issue of inequality and the sustainability of long-term growth that benefits all social groups remain strong and there are high demands for governments in the region to deal with this issue. The theme for 2020, therefore, focus on the role of public governance that is central to the promotion of inclusive growth and development across the region. There are four main related issues presented in the following sub-themes.


Greater accountability is needed to achieve more inclusive growth in developing Asia-Pacific countries. Despite being able to achieve economic growth, a high degree of inequality constrains the impact growth can have on reducing poverty and achieving desirable development outcomes. High levels of gross inequalities can also undermine social cohesion and stability. Making growth more inclusive requires greater accountability of public institutions as poor public sector management undermines economic growth as well as puts inclusion out of reach. A range of initiatives involving increased accountability in all level of governments’ activities should be supported. Policy implications on the improvement of accountability across the region are needed for governments to use as a tool to achieve inclusive growth.

This sub-theme will focus on the following areas:

  • Open and inclusive governance
  • Decentralization and local governance
  • Polycentric governance
  • Upward and downward accountability of public organization
  • Governance networks in the public sector
  • Social capital and institutional trust
  • Public-private-society partnerships

Better stakeholder engagement both within and outside the public sector can help ensure that policies to promote inclusive growth are the right ones and are implemented efficiently and successfully. There can be many economic and social benefits to be gained from effectively engaging stakeholders as policies are more coherent and more synergy among projects can be expected. Greater acceptance as well as public trust can also be gained from more engagement of stakeholders. Public administration solutions are crucial to promote engagement of all stakeholders at all level of public policy making in order to ensure that policies to promote economic growth are inclusive. Several issues concerning the role of the public sector to support stake holder engagement for inclusive policy making should be addressed critically and receive targeted attention from policy makers across the region.

The sub-theme will focus on the following areas.

  • Redistribution policies
  • Policy implementation and evaluation
  • Project management
  • Citizen engagement in public service delivery
  • Citizen engagement and poverty eradication
  • Participatory budgeting and auditing
  • Social innovation
  • Co-production and co-creation
  • Sustainability performance in public organizations

Digital transformation is rapidly changing service delivery practices. New and more demand for public services are expected from citizens. The shift from reactive to proactive service delivery mechanisms, enabled by a transition from e-government to digital government, offers the chance to better respond to user demand. Governments across the region need to mobilize a more effective response to widening inequality and stagnating median income as technological change and globalization have gathered force. Public data are powerful asset to move from citizen-centered to citizen-driven approaches, allowing governments to better design and tailor public service delivery processes.

  • Digital government for inclusive development
  • Public service Innovation
  • Digital transformation in public sector
  • Social Media and Inclusive growth
  • Digital welfare
  • Cloud computing services for government
  • Digital technology as a tool for inclusive development
  • Smart city management
  • Artificial intelligence in public service delivery
  • Transparent government through information disclosure
  • Inter-organizational information sharing
  • Making service delivery inclusive with the use of Big Data

Across the globe, the public sector has seen a sharp expansion in the amount of activity devoted to improving government performance. It is important to ensure that any government activities can produce the highest possible outputs in order to meet citizens’ expectation and hence lead to desirable development outcomes. One important tool to achieve higher performance in the public sector is through employee engagement. Civil service operations are at present considered to be in the very challenging times especially as they are faced with higher citizen expectations, yet, they have fewer resources. It is crucial for public sector administrators to find mechanisms that lead to stronger and more efficient employee engagement to achieve higher productivity and better performance at all levels.

This sub-theme addresses the question of how to improve public sector performance through employee engagement in the following issues.

  • Integrated human resource management strategies
  • Performance management reform
  • Policies in human resource development
  • Maintaining employee engagement and motivation
  • Building social and ethical capital in public sector organizations
  • Participatory monitoring and evaluation
  • Employee performance and public service improvement