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United Nations Public Service Day is celebrated on 23rd June every year globally. This day is celebrated to recognize and reward the contributions of public service department worldwide to the community. In honour of those people, who work selflessly risking their lives for the benefits of the community around the world, United Nations organizes UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA) every year on June 23. It is known as the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in the field of public services. Presently,the importance of this day has highlighted like never before because of ongoing COVID – 19 pandemic. Due to the present situation we have all seen the hardwork, selfless acts and contributions of public service department from frontline health care workers, public health officials to teachers, sanitation workers, social welfare officers and more around the world striving to take care of the wellbeing of the community . In this article we will discuss about the history, significance and theme of UN Public Services Day.
History of UN Public Service Day
On 20th December 2002, the UN General Assembly announced 23rd June as Public Service Day by adopting resolution 57/277. This day is celebrated in order to value the virtues of public service department to the community and also to recognize the works of public servants and to encourage youngsters to pursue their careers in the public sector. In honour of this day, the United Nations established the UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA) programme in 2003, which was reviewed in 2016 to align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Theme of 2020 UN Public Service Day
The theme for 2020 UN public service Day was selected based on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2020 UN Public Service Forum will be held under the theme ‘Action Today, Impact Tomorrow: Innovating and Transforming Public Services and Institutions to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals”.
The United Nations Public Service Forum (UNPSF) 2019 was held in the Republic of Azerbaijan from 24th to 26th June 2019, under the theme ‘Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through effective Delivery of Services, Innovative Transformation and Accountable Institutions’.
Significance of the UN Public Service Day
- UN Public Services Day is celebrated annually to mark the invaluable contributions made by public servants and administrators.
- On this day, the United Nations holds a Public Service Awards ceremony to mark the valuable contributions and achievements made by Public Services institutions worldwide.
About the United Nations Public Service Forum Programme
The UN Public Service Forum is an annual event organized to mark UN Public Service Day, which is celebrated to value and raise awareness of virtues of public service to the community and in the development of the country. Each year United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) organizes the Forum with a host country. In this event host capacity – development workshops is conducted. Also the UN Public Service Awards ceremony and a Ministerial Round table with roughly 800 to 1,000 participants are held. The Forum is a space for world leaders, Ministers, and other senior decision-makers to debate on emerging issues and trends, discuss good practices, strategies, take actions, and innovative approaches for effective service delivery and transforming institutions.
The Forum also works for providing access to free sanitary pads in the Republic of Korea (UNPSA Winner 2019) and Up-scaling Basic Sanitation for the Urban Poor in Kenya (UNPSA Winner 2019) to Reducing Malaria Cases through Early Detection in Indonesia (UNPSA Winner 2018) and providing enhanced one-stop-shop delivery of public services through the Azerbaijan Service and Assessment Network (ASAN) (UNPSA Winner 2015) to name a few. The UNPSA offers practical insights into the work being carried out at local and national levels to innovate and enhance public service delivery.
How UN Public Service Day 2020 is celebrated?
- UN Public Service Day 2020 will be celebrated under the theme ‘Action Today, Impact Tomorrow: Innovating and Transforming Public Services and Institutions to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals” virtually due to COVID – 19 pandemic worldwide. People around the globe can join the celebration held virtually on 23 June, 9 am EST| webtv.un.org to celebrate UN Public Service Day and honour the public servants who have been working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The event will also include an orchestral piece performed by the UN Orchestra and feature a video showcasing public servants in action developed from over 80 submissions received from public servants at national and local levels worldwide.
United Nations Public service Awards (UNPSA)
In order to boost recognition of UN Public Service Day, the United Nations established the UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA) programme in 2003. The UNPSA aims to promote and reward innovation and excellence services done in the field of public service in the countries worldwide. Each year award is given to certain innovations and services done to well being of community by public service department worldwide. It is open to all public organizations, including local, regional and national governments, and public institutions engaged in public-private partnerships for making people’s lives better. Nominations are accepted in all six UN official languages.
This year’s (2020) awards will recognize the achievements and contributions of public services in the following five categories:
- Delivering inclusive and equitable services for all;
- Promoting integrated mechanisms for sustainable development;
- Developing transparent and accountable public institutions;
- Promoting digital transformation in public-sector institutions; and
- Promoting gender responsive public services to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
The UN Public Service 2020 Award Winners
1. The Republic of Korea Seongdong District’s (Seoul) “HYO Policy”programme makes health care services more accessible, including through home visits, to older persons suffering from poverty, health issues and social isolation.
2. The Automatic Social Energy Tariff (ASET) in Portugal automates the application process for an energy reduction tariff to low-income customers. The initiative greatly increased the uptake of the entitlement among low-income households.
3. In Brazil, the Joboatão Prepara Programme encourages middle school students’ attendance in secondary level technical schools by offering professional guidance and a free preparatory course for low-income students, greatly increasing the acceptance rates of students.
4. In the Mexican state of Nuevo León, a council was established to formulate long-term public policy resulting in a 15-year strategic plan that fosters sustainable development and general well-being of the citizens by integrating the experiences and knowledge of civil society, academia, businesses and government.
5. In Bangladesh, the e-Mutation initiative established a digital application mechanism to make land transfer applications easier and more accessible, efficient and transparent. The purpose is to better serve the most vulnerable populations and those facing discrimination, including the illiterate, women, older persons and the poor.
6. In Botswana, a platform called e-Thuto was developed to integrate ICT into teaching and learning in schools through a web-based interactive platform consisting of e-learning and data management modules.
7. In Spain, the Ministry of Justice developed the ‘Justicia Digital: La visión 360º de la Seguridad’ quality plan to improve the administrative management of judicial offices and processes through enhanced ICT solutions.
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