Updated: February 25, 2021
The United Nations announced on Tuesday that seven innovative projects will receive this year’s UN Public Service Award, the highest global accolade for excellence in public service to institutions that contribute to a more effective and responsive public administration and that advance progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This year’s seven winners have developed and delivered some of the most innovative initiatives in their regions, ranging from improving access to health care to programmes that improve school attendance, or make land transfers easier for the poor.
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In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the importance of innovative and adaptive public service delivery and the critical role public servants play has been highlighted like never before.
“Every night, cities around the world erupt in applause for health care and other frontline public servants battling COVID-19,” said Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. This pandemic has taught us an important lesson about the critical role of public sector institutions in serving the people.”
“Whether through provision of health care, education, social welfare, sanitation, or other services, it is the institutions such as this year’s UN Public Service Awards winners, that keep our societies running,” he added.
Hailing from Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Republic of Korea, and Spain, the winning initiatives cover a variety of key public services, from health care for older persons, e-platforms for education, benefit entitlements, judicial proceedings and land mutation applications, to education for vulnerable youth.
The 2020 UN Public Service Award Winners
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.