United Nations Public Service Award Winners








Initiative: Game Changing K-Innovation and K-Collaboration in Response to the COVID-19 


Institution: Ministry of Interior and Safety


Problem: In the future, outbreaks like the COVID-19 pandemic can occur at any time. Governments worldwide are realizing the importance of cultivating not only domestic disease response processes but also swift data collection and policy-based coordination to protect citizens and economies. For adequate disaster response, there is a need for crisis management governance systems that encourages the participation of central and local governments, private companies, citizens, and other relevant stakeholders.


Solution: The Ministry of Interior and Safety (MOIS), through the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (CDSCH), has worked with the central government, provincial governments, SMEs, small business owners, stakeholder groups, experts, and the public on a nationwide response since COVID-19 began.


Three important concepts of “innovation, cooperation, and digital transformation” and three major “Test, Trace, Treat” tactics were followed to prioritize Korean residents' health and safety during COVID-19. The “Test, Trace, Treat” approach focuses on preventing the spread of COVID-19; preventing the healthcare system from collapsing; avoiding large-scale lockdowns to reduce economic disruption; providing for the needs of the most vulnerable citizens; supporting healthcare providers and medical personnel by using cutting-edge digital technologies to deliver contactless public services whenever possible.


Concrete examples are:

  • • Drive-through screening and temporary screening centers
  • • Use of AI-based “Public Secretary” virtual assistant service to convert public
  • • Emergency Coronavirus Relief Funds (ECRF) payments, digitization of traditional markets and creation of local jobs, special grant tax, and issuance of regional gift certificates to revitalize local economies
  • • Online application for flexible working hours for health care professionals
  • • Emergency childcare support in central and local governments, public institutions, and private companies
  • • Establishment of a resident-led problem-solving platform
  • • Committee for Recovery of Normal Life from COVID-19 to collect broad-ranging feedback from society, based on which the committee is preparing a plan for Korea’s gradual transition to ordinary daily routines.


Impact: The MOIS created 100,000 public employment and 8,620 “local COVID-19 preventive positions” to help vulnerable people. Korea is currently transitioning to the “post-COVID-19” era, with a high vaccination rate of 79.9% (as of Nov. 30, 2021). From COVID-19 onwards, the MOIS established the Committee for Recovery of Normal Life to collect broad-based feedback from society, based on which the committee is creating a plan for Korea’s gradual return to normal daily activities. The CDSCH, which was established early in the pandemic as a ministry-wide response system that allows central ministries and all 17 metropolitan governments to freely share information and develop policies, is still operational. Through consultations with various organizations and 17 metropolitan governments, quarantine standards and immunization concerns were smoothed out.



Special Category:

Institutional resilience and innovative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic


Related SDGs: 







Republic of Korea



Asia and the Pacific Group


More information: 

Game Changing K-Innovation and K-Collaboration in Response to the COVID-19
Website: https://www.mois.go.kr/eng/a01/engMain.do

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