Hundreds of participants are expected to witness the most prestigious international recognition of innovation in public service at the United Nations Public Service Forum, Day and Awards Ceremony, to be held in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, from 24 to 27 June.
To have a strong, efficient, and professional public service is one of the key factors in the development process. One way to promote good practices is to recognize initiatives behind innovation, improvement and implementation of groundbreaking projects in the delivery of public services.
Since 2003, the United Nations Public Service Awards, given each year on 23 June, the day designated by the General Assembly as United Nations Public Service Day to “celebrate the value and virtue of service to the community”, have recognized and promoted the role, professionalism and visibility of public administration and fostered improvements in public administration worldwide.
Nominations are open to public organizations of all kinds, including governments and public-private partnerships, in delivering public services. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide.
Highlights from 2012
Last year, several initiatives were honored. Among them were the New York 311 initiative and a law that was approved in India to make requests from citizens to local authorities clearer and faster.
The 311 initiative consisted of a telephone number to guide people to get their demands solved. The initiative has had a direct impact on reducing the time needed for solutions and has reduced waste of state capacity when wrongly contacted. Saadia Chaudryl, Call Center Director, said that “when citizens don’t know what agency to call to get help, they call us, and in some cases 311 talks to the agencies for them”.
The Public Service Delivery Management Act, enacted by the Government of Madhya Pradesh, India, provides that public services should be delivered within a certain time frame, and when this does not happen, administrative personnel are fined and citizens can contact higher authorities to get their problem solved. It has had a positive impact on reducing time for delivering public services and made the system more transparent and accountable.
The 2013 Awards
This year, the award puts a spotlight on five categories:
1. Preventing and combating corruption in the public service
2. Improving the delivery of public services,
3. Fostering participation in public policy decision-making through innovative mechanisms
4. Promoting whole-of-government approaches in the information age
5. Promoting gender-responsive delivery of public services.
In each of these categories initiatives are awarded by region: Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Asia.
The initiatives that have won this year’s awards have been recently announced, and among them there are projects to increase transparency in the decision-making process in Moldova, to provide children in Peru with ID cards and the creation of a Government Contact Centre in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Each year the winners of the UN Public Service Awards are selected from the finalists in each category and region by the United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration, and this year will be recognized for their achievements on the last day of the Forum at the Awards Ceremony. The event will take place in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, from 24 to 27 June.
The Forum, which this year will focus on the theme of “Transformative e-Government and Innovation: Creating a Better Future for All”, is organized by DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) and the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain, in partnership with UN-WOMEN and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA).
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