Issue 90, September 2010
Of public service excellence and liveable cities
At the first Asia-Pacific Mayors’ Forum in Guangzhou, government officials from various Chinese cities and from around the world discuss public service excellence and the branding of modern cities.

NTU alumni from across China congregated at Guangzhou to attend the Asia-Pacific Mayors’ Forum, jointly held for the first time by the university and the People’s Government of Guangzhou Municipality in China.

Among the attendees were some 500 government officials from several Chinese cities, as well as from around the world. Many of them who are vice-governors, party secretaries of municipalities and mayors had received training from NTU and promoted shortly after graduation.

They got to enjoy a forum of varied views, thanks to distinguished keynote speakers – Ms Grace Fu, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for National Development and Education; Mr Phil Gordon, Mayor of Phoenix City, Arizona, USA; Dr Wan Qingliang, Mayor of Guangzhou Municipality; and Mr Long Yongtu, Secretary General of Centre for the Study of the G20 and former Secretary General of Boao Forum for Asia.

The topics being discussed, “Pursuing Excellence in Public Service” and “Branding Modern Cities”, were current and relevant.

Sustainable city
Ms Fu suggested in her address that for Asian cities to achieve stable and sustainable development, they face three challenges.

These were: How can a modern city rely on resources to promote productivity, following its transformation into a knowledge-based economy; how to enhance the liveability of cities amid rapid population and economic growths; and how to help its people to adapt to increasing competition as the city transforms into a knowledge economy. 

Image and public service
The Mayors’ Forum had certainly provided a platform for mayors and senior officials from the Asia-Pacific region to exchange views and experience.

It was also an attempt at finding solutions: Ways to improve public service and make cities more liveable were surfaced for deliberation. A good public service augurs well for the image of a city in the international arena.

The forum also saw the introduction of the Lien Public Service Excellence Index for Chinese Cities. The public service excellence index will provide the China government with insight to the strengths and weaknesses of its public service and accelerate improvement.

The inaugural forum was one of several NTU’s initiatives to strengthen its long-standing ties with China. The platform also marks the 20th anniversary of Singapore’s bilateral ties with the country.

The forum was held on Sunday 19 September, in Guangzhou.

© Nanyang Centre for Public Administration