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21 June 2021

We Must Ensure Universal Access to Online Services, Secretary-General Says, in Message for United Nations Public Service Day

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for United Nations Public Service Day, observed on 23 June:

United Nations Public Service Day honours the hundreds of millions of public servants across the globe who dedicate themselves to ensuring the well-being of our communities.  As the world continues to face the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, their work is more important than ever.

This year’s observance highlights digital innovations in public services.  From telecommuting to online teaching to telemedicine, public servants have mobilized digital technologies to ensure the continuation of public services across all sectors despite the challenging and life-threatening circumstances of the pandemic.

Yet, while many Governments have been able to move more and more of public services online, others have struggled.  Globally, the digital divides persist.  Not only do many people lack access to reliable broadband Internet, but many others face barriers to accessing digital technology or don’t have the skills needed to access and navigate online public services effectively.

As public service delivery becomes increasingly digital, we must ensure that public servants have the necessary skills.  We must also ensure that all persons, including persons with disabilities and other groups facing exclusion, are able to access online services.  We will fully achieve the Sustainable Development Goals only when no one is left offline.

As we mark Public Service Day, let us continue to recognize, support and invest in our public servants both on and offline.  Let our public servants be empowered to serve.

For information media. Not an official record.