23 June 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12333

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General hails award winners, finalists for showing that public services

 

can be delivered more efficiently, effectively, equitably, worldwide

 


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Public Service Day Awards Ceremony in New York today, 23 June:


I am delighted to take part in this seventh United Nations Public Service Day Awards Ceremony.  My deep appreciation and congratulations go to the winners of this year’s United Nations Public Service Awards and to the finalists as well.  You have achieved extraordinary things in challenging times.


Governments and citizens are being buffeted by a cascade of crises.  For too many, the daily devastations of persistent poverty and inequality are being made worse by energy and food insecurity.  The global financial and economic crisis and the onset of climate change are further burdens.


The challenge for public servants is to seize opportunity whenever it is presented.  These awards recognize your inspirational examples in delivering results.  We have seen improved transparency and accountability in Canada, which strengthened bilingualism and minority rights; the Republic of Korea, which increased citizen trust in public water; and Sweden, which ensured a healthy government-citizen dialogue.


We have observed strengthened service delivery by Zambia, which improved community health; South Africa, which trained new administrative staff in tuberculosis care; Thailand, which interconnected hospitals; Slovenia, which streamlined business registration; Egypt, which simplified school enrolment procedures; and Oman, which created a National Civil Register.


We have witnessed enhanced participation in policymaking in India, which broadened access to water in rural areas; and the Republic of Korea, which built citizen-government partnerships.


And we have seen successful knowledge management by Poland, which provided advanced training in public administration.


Today we also recognize three institutions that have most actively contributed to knowledge-sharing through the United Nations Public Administration Network:  the Center for Public Service Innovation in South Africa; the Regional Cooperation Office for City Informatisation in China; and the Institute of Public Administration in Central America.


The United Nations has long recognized that effective governance and efficient public administration are central to the global development agenda, and particularly in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  We need sound public policies and supportive governance structures.  We need to respond swiftly and coherently.  And we need to show solidarity, especially with the poorest and most vulnerable.


We must also make the most of the information age.  Information technology and e-government are valuable tools for pulling the world out of crisis.  They will also be essential for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.


This year’s winners and finalists show that public services can be delivered more efficiently, effectively and equitably all over the world.  The ingredients are simple:  commitment; hard work; innovation; talent; and technological know-how.  Combined, they make a powerful recipe.  And together, these women and men make vital contributions to our efforts to build a better world for all.


Thank you very much and congratulations to all of you.


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For information media • not an official record