United Nations Public Service Awards
The United Nations (UN) Public Service Award is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. Through an annual competition, the UN Public Service Awards promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service.
Establishment of the UNPSA
In 2003, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/57/277, designated June 23 as the UN Public Service Day to “celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community”. The UN Economic and Social Council established that the United Nations Public Service Awards be bestowed on Public Service Day for contributions made to the cause of enhancing the role, prestige and visibility of public service.
The United Nations Millennium Declaration emphasized the role of democratic and participatory governance in assuring the rights of men and women to “live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression, or injustice”. It also noted that good governance within each country is a prerequisite to “making development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want”.
Experience demonstrates that without good governance, nationally or internationally, and an efficient, competent, professional, responsive and highly dedicated public service, sustainable development and livelihood are jeopardized. The former UN Secretary-General, in his speech at the World Youth Forum in 1998, stressed the importance of public service by encouraging the world’s youth to enter into this field. He said, “In this changing world of new challenges, we need, more than ever before, dedicated and talented individuals to enter public service. More than ever before, we need people like you sitting here today, to make the choice of service to humankind.”
Purpose of the Awards
The overall purpose of the United Nations Public Service Awards is to recognize the institutional contribution made by public servants to enhance the role, professionalism, image and visibility of the public service (Economic and Social Council decision 2000/231). It can be translated into the following more specific objectives:
- (a) To reward service to citizens and motivate public servants worldwide to sustain the momentum of innovation and the improvement of the delivery of public services;
- (b) To collect and disseminate successful practices and experiences in public administration in order to support efforts for improvements in country level public service delivery;
- (c) Through success stories, to counterbalance any negative image of public administration, raise the image and prestige of public servants and revitalize public administration as a noble discipline on which development greatly depends;
- (d) To promote, encourage and facilitate networking among institutions and organizations relevant to public administration and strengthen the networks of the United Nations programme on public administration and development; and
- (e) To enhance professionalism in the public service in rewarding the successful experiences in innovations and excellence in the public service.
Who is eligible
All Public organizations/agencies at national and sub-national levels, as well as public/private partnerships and organizations performing outsourced public service functions, are eligible for nomination. The United Nations Public Service Awards take into consideration a geographical distribution of five regions. In order to level the playing field for nominations received from countries with varying levels of development and income, the following five regions have been established:
- (a) Africa
- (b) Asia and the Pacific
- (c) Europe and North America
- (d) Latin America and the Caribbean
- (e) Western Asia
Eligible nominators include: Government departments and agencies; universities, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, etc. Purely scientific innovations, e.g. in medical or environmental science, do not qualify for the United Nations Public Service Awards.
UNPSA categories and criteria
In 2019, the United Nations Public Service Awards will be given in the following five categories:
- Category 1: Delivering inclusive and equitable services to leave no one behind;
- Category 2: Ensuring integrated approaches in the public-sector institutions;
- Category 3: Developing effective and accountable public institutions;
- Category 4: Promoting digital transformation in public-sector institutions; and
- Category 5: Promoting gender responsive public services to achieve the SDGs.
For a description of the categories and application criteria, see UN Public Service Awards
The application process consists of two steps.
- Step 1
- An application form has to be completed online. Nominations are allowed to enter the competition in one of the six official United Nations languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish).
- Step 2
- Upon reception of the applications, the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) pre-selects nominations. Candidates are asked to submit additional information such as a cover letter, letters of reference, supporting documents (e.g., evaluation and audit reports, results of client surveys), etc during the application process. DPIDG then shortlists candidates on the basis of the documents provided. The short-listed are subsequently considered by the United Nations Committee of Experts in Public Administration. After due consideration, the Committee advises the UN Secretary-General concerning the winners of the Awards.
- What supporting documentation is required for the second round?
- a)Evaluation Report
- b)Two Letters of Reference
- c)Two to five Supporting Documents
- What is an Evaluation Report?
- A formal internal/external evaluation of the initiative which attests to the impact that the initiative has made in public service delivery.
- What are Reference Letters?
- Two letters of reference: A letter of reference is a letter written by any organization, public or private, different from the institution being nominated, pointing out the valuable achievements resulting from the implementation of the initiative submitted, and underlining why this initiative and/or institution is worthy of being awarded.
- What are Supporting Documents?
- A minimum of two and up to five supporting documents: Supporting documents are any kind of material (evaluation and audit reports, results of client/citizen surveys, books, DVDs, videotapes, newspaper articles, CD-ROMs, etc.) you may wish to submit to validate and highlight your nomination.
- How should the documentation be submitted to the UNPSA Programme?
- Institutions are required to upload relevant documents through the UNPSA online system.
UN Public Service Awards Ceremony
UN Public Service Awards' winners are recognized during UN Public Service Day on 23 June of every year at a high-level event held in New York at UN Headquarters or in a host country as part of the United Nations Public Service Forum. UN Public Service Day intends to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community; highlight the contribution of public service in the development process; recognize the work of public servants, and encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector. Since the first Awards Ceremony in 2003, the United Nations has received an increasing number of submissions from all around the world.
Past Award Winners
|Year||Category||Region||Country, Department / Project|
|2003||1||Europe & North America||Greece Ministry of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization for "Call centre to apply for administrative documents"|
|Asia & the Pacific||Singapore Infocom Development Authority of Singapore for "National Trust Council and TrustSg Programme"|
|Western Asia||Oman Muscat Municipality for "Cleanliness of Muscat"|
|Latin America||Bolivia Aduana Nacional de Bolivia "Un profundo proceso de reforma"|
|2||Europe & North America||Spain Ayuntamiento de Alcobendas "ITACA Proyecto"|
|Africa||Egypt Ministry of State for "Administrative Development Improvement of administrative machinery"|
|Asia & The Pacific||Singapore Legal Policy Division, Ministry of Law "Polygon of Good Laws"|
|Latin America||Mexico Victoria, Tamaulipas "Family system in Tamaulipas"|
|3||Europe & North America||Italy Public Administration Department for Efficiency in the Administrations for "Coordination Centre for Innovations in Administrations"|
|Africa||Zambia Patents and Companies Registration Office Commercialization|
|Asia & The Pacific||Republic of Korea Public Procurement Service for "Reform of procurement operations"|
|Western Asia||Lebanon Education Center for "Research and Development Research, training and continuous education"|
|Latin America||Chile Servicio de Impuestos Internos (SII) for "El sitio web del servicio"|
|2004||1||Africa||Morocco, Secretariat d'Etat Charge de l'eau, Morocco|
|Europe & North America||Canada, Network of Canada Business Service Centres|
|Latin America||Brazil, General Board for Development of Public Services and Public|
|2||Europe & North America||Austria, District Administrative Authority Zell am See Summary of the Project|
|Africa||Cameroon, Ministere de la Fonction Publique et de la Reforme|
|Asia & The Pacific||Australia, Australian Public Service Commission|
|Latin America||Brazil, City Hall of Belo Horizonte Summary of the Project|
|3||Africa||South Africa, South African Police Service|
|Asia & The Pacific||Malaysia, National Productivity Corporation|
|Asia & The Pacific||Philippines, City of Naga|
|2005||1||Asia & The Pacific||India, Bhagidari Cell, Office of the Chief Minister, Government of NCT of Delhi for "Citizen-Government Partnership: Bhagidari in New Delhi"|
|Europe & North America||Canada, Vancouver Agreement for "Innovative Partnerships between Government Agencies, and with Community Groups and Business"|
|2||Africa||Morocco, Etablissement Autonome de Contrôle et de Coordination des Exportations (EACCE) for "Decentralization and expansion of the quality monitoring process of fruits and vegetables for exportation".|
|Europe & North America||Spain, Public Employment Service of Castile and León (Ecyl) for "Modernization Program 2004"|
|Latin America||Mexico, Secretaria de Agua, Obra Publica e Infrastructura para el Desarrollo for "El Programa Hidraulico Integral del Estado de Mexico"|
|3||Asia & The Pacific||Singapore, Ministry of Trade and Industry for Online Application System for Integrated Services (OASIS)|
|Europe & North America||Canada, Industry Canada, Office of Consumer Affairs for "the Canadian Consumer Affairs Gateway (CCIG)"|
|Latin America||Mexico, Secretaría de la Función Pública - Unidad de Gobierno Electrónico y Política de Tecnologías de la Información (UGEPTI) for "La Estrategia de Gobierno Digital"|
|2006||1||Africa||Rwanda, National Examinations Council for "Assessment and Evaluation for Reconciliation"|
|Asia & The Pacific||Singapore, Ministry of Manpower, Work Pass Division for "Integrated Work Permit Online Services"|
|Europe & North America||The Netherlands, District Water Board for "Rijnland Internet Election System"|
|2||Africa||Zambia, District Health Management Board for "Masaiti"|
|Asia & The Pacific||India, Government of Karnataka, Revenue Department for "Online delivery of land records"|
|Europe & North America||Canada, the Provincial Court of Manitoba for "The Domestic Violence Front-End Project"|
|Latin America||Brazil, Secretaria de Desenvolvimento Urbano do Estado da Bahia, Brazil for "Implementation of the Self-Sustainable Sanitation Systems Programme,"|
|3||Asia & The Pacific||Australia, Australian Government Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources for "Business Entry Point"|
|Europe & North America||Belgium, Crossroads Bank for Social Security for "e-Government Program of the Belgian Social Security"|
|Western Asia||United Arab Emirates,Dubai Municipality for "e-Government Municipal Services"
|2007||WINNERS OF THE 2007 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2008||WINNERS OF THE 2008 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2009||WINNERS OF THE 2009 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2010||WINNERS OF THE 2010 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2011||WINNERS OF THE 2011 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2012||WINNERS OF THE 2012 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2013||WINNERS OF THE 2013 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2014||WINNERS OF THE 2014 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2015||WINNERS OF THE 2015 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2017||WINNERS OF THE 2017 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
|2018||WINNERS OF THE 2018 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS|
Management of the UNPSA Programme
It is managed by the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
- United Nations Public Services Award, Report of the First Awards Ceremony 2003 
- United Nations Public Services Award, Report of the Public Services Awards Ceremony 2004 
- LIST OF WINNERS FOR THE 2005 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS
- WINNERS OF THE 2006 UNITED NATIONS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS