Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Opening Remarks United Nations Public Service Day and Awards Ceremony

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome you to the 11th United Nations Public Service Day and Awards Ceremony.

The Public Service Day and the Awards Ceremony is taking place for the first time in this region.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Kingdom of Bahrain for hosting this event. I also wish to thank ministers and other high-level representatives for joining us from all over the world.

I wish to extend a special welcome to the winning institutions. Congratulations. You are being recognized for your exemplary efforts in: implementing innovative solutions in the areas of: 

  • preventing corruption in the public service,
  • fostering participation of citizens in policy-making,
  • promoting whole-of-government approaches,
  • promoting gender responsive delivery of public services, and
  • overall improvement of public service delivery.

United Nations entities, including my own Department of Economic and Social Affairs, as well as UN-ESCWA, UN-WOMEN, UNIDO and UNDP, have come together to share their critical knowledge on innovative practices.

I thank the e-Government Authority of Bahrain for working tirelessly to make this event a success. I also congratulate them for winning this year’s United Nations Public Service Awards.

This year, 47 public organizations from 28 countries will be awarded the United Nations Public Service Awards.

The first place winners are public sector institutions from Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Moldova, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Arab Emirates.

The second place winners are public sector institutions from Bahrain, Botswana, Brazil, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.

A number of these public institutions have adopted measures to improve efficiency, transparency and prevent corruption. They are doing this through increasing access to government data, such as public expenditures and assets of public officials. And, by enabling citizens to hold public officials accountable through improved regulatory frameworks.

Initiatives by the winning institutions have improved the quality of life for citizens through improved health care, water and sanitation services, timely disbursement of social welfare services and improving public safety, using mobile services and integrated management systems, among other initiatives.

Thanks to these initiatives, the participation of citizens in decision-making processes and public policy development has been achieved through systematic and deliberate efforts for inclusive development, recognizing that citizens play a central role in addressing service delivery challenges.

The commitment of Governments to improving public service delivery is evident in a number of whole-of-government initiatives being awarded.

Efficient management systems require significant investment in infrastructure, adjustments in institutional structures, policy reform and human capacity development. We commend today’s winners for having met these important requirements.

We are also pleased to note an improvement of economic opportunities for women, and an increase in women’s representation at senior decision-making levels.


The UN Public Service Awards programme has grown tremendously since its inception – from 81 nominations in 2003, to 601 for the 2013 cycle.

This growth also marks an over 100 percent increase with 299 submissions for 2011, and 470 submissions for 2012. In addition, the participation of the Member States of the United Nations has increased from 46 in 2003, to 82 in 2013.

With limited resources and mounting challenges facing Governments in the delivery of public services, today’s innovative winners inspire us to work harder to address public service challenges.

Looking ahead, the important question we must ask, is how? How can these initiatives be adapted to local conditions to achieve greater efficiency in public administration? How can these successes be scaled up?  How can the lessons learned be disseminated and applied more broadly?

UN-DESA, working with our colleagues in the UN system, including Regional Commissions, Funds and Progammes, remains committed to facilitating the adaptation of these innovations.

Through our capacity development projects, we will continue to assist Least Developed Countries to adapt initiatives that best address their unique circumstances.

The extraordinary achievements of this year’s winners of the United Nations Public Service Awards bear testimony to the fact that governance and public service challenges are not insurmountable. 

My department stands ready to facilitate a continued exchange of ideas and innovations for improved public service across the world.

Thank you very much.