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Join us for a Virtual Celebration of United Nations Public Service Day
 Innovating the Future Public Service

New Government Models for a New Era to Reach the SDGs
 23 June 2021 (9:00 – 10:30am EDT)



Watch live here at 9am EDT 23 June: UN Web TV
Secretary-General's message on Public Service Day

Background and Context

United Nations Public Service Day, celebrated on 23 June each year, recognizes the value and virtue of public service to the community; highlights the contribution of public service in the development process; recognizes the work of public servants, and encourages young people to pursue careers in the public sector.

Innovating for a new era: Leveraging the role of technology for the future public service

The last decade brought about a digital revolution that changed the way we live, work, and govern. Technology and data driven innovations have increased the pace of our daily life, opened up information and elevated civil society voices and changed how we solve problems, design policy and deliver services. In parallel, governments find themselves under resource pressures and increasing public demands, having to do much more, with less. The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic was a force multiplier to these trends, introducing remote work in government, digital service delivery, virtual service teams, and even new portfolios.


Today, every country in the world needs to re-think the structure and operating model of its civil service as we enter the third decade of the 21st century. The next era will see fundamental changes in how public servants, are hired, trained, and retained. We will see more technology being leveraged to make better decisions, monitor performance, and deliver service, and there will be a need for the private sector, and wider society, to play a bigger role in all aspect of creating public value. The future public service needs to be more agile, tech-savvy, data-driven, and human-centric. These are core elements to build future readiness, ensure inclusive policies and responsive services, to reduce inequalities and to raise trust in government.

Celebrating the 2021 United Nations Public Service Day: A virtual Event

In this context, to celebrate the 2021 United Nations Public Service Day,  the Division of Public Institutions and Digital Government of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the government of the United Arab Emirates hosted a 1.5-hour virtual event on the 23 June under the theme of “Innovating the Future Public Service: New Government Models for a New Era to Reach the SDGs”. The event brought together key stakeholders, public servants and UN officials to honor the work of public servants.


List of confirmed speakers


Moderator: Ms. Jelena Lagger, Management and Policy researcher University of Bath (UK) and Vice President of CAFRAD’s International Advisory Committee (confirmed)


  • Mr. Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
  • H.E. Ms. Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, United Arab Emirates
  • H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General, Head of the UAE Digital Government and Director General of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority), UAE
  • Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation
  • Hon. Emma Theofelus, Deputy Information and Technology Minister, Namibia
  • Dr. Julia Glidden, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector
  • H.E. Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, Deputy Director General for Telecommunications Sector at the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), UAE
  • Ms. Nele Leosk, Ambassador-at-Large for Digital Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Estonia
Objective of the event

The event highlighted and discussed the increasingly centric role that innovation and technology play in the delivery of public services and in doing so, examined how to better prepare the future public service for a new era, so as to reach the 2030 sustainable development goals. It examined the various approaches countries are taking to equip public servants with the skills necessary to be effective, responsive and relevant in the digital age. It also highlighted lessons learned from the past year, as many countries and public servants have been thrust into the digital era, quickly adopting, innovating and using online mechanisms to continue their work during the pandemic.


Supporting documents