Join us virtually on 23 June as we celebrate UN Public Service Day and honour the public servants who have been working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.


• Watch on demand under 23 June 9am EST here or on the UN Youtube Channel here.
• Press Release on 2020 UN Public Service Award Winners here and more details in our Innovation Hub


Whether working in healthcare or delivering essential services in the areas of sanitation, social welfare, education, postal delivery, transport, law enforcement, and more, public servants globally have continued to work in the community as many people shelter at home, risking their lives to ensure ours can continue.


The event brought together public servants and leaders to discuss the importance of the continuation of public service provision during times of pandemic. It examined the various approaches countries have taken during the crisis while looking at what measures they are undertaking to better mitigate such challenges in the future.


The also included an orchestral piece performed by the UN Orchestra and feature a video showcasing public servants in action developed from over 80 submissions received from public servants at national and local levels worldwide.



  • Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations (video statement)
  • Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the General Assembly
  • H.E. Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia
  • Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organization
  • Mr. Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
  • H.E. Mr. Chin Young, Minister of Interior and Safety, Republic of Korea
  • Dr. In-Jae Lee, Assistant Minister of the Interior and Safety, Republic of Korea
  • H.E. Ms. K.K. Shailaja Teacher, Minister of Health of Kerala State, India
  • Ms. Annette Kennedy, President, International Council of Nurses
  • Mr. Jim Campbell, Director, Health WorkForce Division, World Health Organization
  • Ms. Rosa Pavenelli, General Secretary, Public Services International

Moderator: Ms. Odette Ramsingh, Executive Director: Human Resources, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University


How to watch

Watch on demand via UN Web TV or on the UN Youtube Channel.


Event Documents

Speaker biographies

Report of the 2020 UN Public Service Day Event


Co-host event website

Check out additional resources and contributions to the Day on Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Interior and Safety event website


2020 United Nations Public Service Award Winners

Learn more about the 2020 UN Public Service Award Winners in our Innovation hub
Press Release on the 2020 UN Public Service Award Winners here


COVID-19 Policy Briefs on Governance and Institutions

As part of UN DESA's Policy Brief series on COVID-19, the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government has published four Policy Briefs.


The Policy Brief on Role of Public Service and Public Servants during the COVID-19 Pandemic outlines nine key roles public servants have been and must continue to play to ensure an effective response to the pandemic.


The Policy Brief on Embracing Digital Government during the Pandemic and Beyond addresses how digital government has played a central role as a key tool of communication and collaboration between policymakers and society during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Policy Brief on Resilient institutions in times of crisis: transparency, accountability and participation at the national level key to effective response to COVID-19 discusses the challenges of the COVID-19 emergency along key dimensions of national institutions highlighted in SDG 16.


The Policy Brief on Reaffirming State-People Governance Relationships discusses the role of effective governance, and in particular the relationship between the state and people, in building countries' resiliency and in responding to and managing nation-wide crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


All UN DESA COVID-19 Policy Briefs can be accessed here.