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The prolonged, disruptive COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the public sector to a critical juncture. It has severely disrupted services and tested the continuity, responsiveness, and agility of the sector. It has also necessitated alternative work arrangements and created greater demand for e-government and contactless transactions, while reinforcing the need for strict rules and accountability in public-sector finances, which are being stretched by new needs and priorities arising from the pandemic.
Over the past four years, the APO has held a series of international conferences on public-sector productivity. This year, on 26 August, the APO held a conference on the theme Ensuring Public Services in the New Normal. The event included sessions on the challenges of the public sector in becoming more agile, resilient, and adaptive in the new normal; emerging technologies, innovations, and tools to enhance public service delivery under the new normal; and areas that will shape the future of the public sector and its productivity. The centrality of productivity was highlighted as one of the key result areas of the APO Vision 2025 and a key contributor to public service continuity through innovation. The speakers emphasized that productivity in the public sector would drive that in all other socioeconomic spheres.
Seventy-one participants from 14 member countries representing various public-sector organizations attended the virtual conference, while five speakers gave presentations and led discussions.