United Nations Public Service Awards for Rewarding Innovation and Excellence in the Public Sector 2020

Date limite : 27 nov. 2019

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United Nations Public Service Awards for Rewarding Innovation and Excellence in the Public Sector 2020

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs has announced the opening of the 2020 United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA). The United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) recognizes excellence in public service at the local, regional and national levels. It was launched in 2003 in order to promote and support innovations in public service delivery With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)1, the UNPSA is focused on promoting and recognizing transformative action that promotes creativity and innovation in public service delivery and the work of public sector institutions to enhance effectiveness, transparency, and inclusiveness to leave no one behind.

The UNPSA aims to:

  • Highlight innovations in governance.
  • Reward excellence in the public sector.
  • Motivate public servants to further promote innovation.
  • Enhance professionalism in public service.
  • Raise the image of public service.
  • Collect and disseminate successful practices for possible replication.

The Award’s Categories:

  • Delivering Inclusive and equitable services for all: The category of Delivering inclusive and equitable services for all promotes innovative ways to increase access to quality and affordable public services to all, especially to those living in poverty and the most vulnerable.
  • Promoting integrated mechanisms for sustainable development: The category of Promoting integrated mechanisms for sustainable development promotes institutional frameworks that facilitate harmonization and collaboration in government policies. The mechanisms put in place should aim to ensure the balance between collaboration and accountability. They should minimize the duplication of efforts or countereffects of conflicting policies and programs.
  • Developing transparent and accountable public institutions: The category of Developing transparent and accountable public institutions not only promotes transparency and accountability in public institutions but also aims to empower people through engagement. Initiatives should increase people’s access to information, promote participation, including monitoring and reporting of wrongdoings of public officials and entities.
  • Promoting digital transformation in the public sector: The category of Promoting digital transformation in the public sector promotes strategic approaches and applications of existing and frontier digital technologies to transform public administration. Innovative policies and mechanisms that address gaps and challenges in social, economic, and environmental sectors are encouraged, including through the development and use of artificial intelligence, open data, big data, analytics, machine learning, cloud computing and the Internet of Things.
  • Promoting gender-responsive public services to achieve the SDGs: The category on Promoting gender-responsive public services to achieve the SDGs promotes innovative public policies and services that address the specific needs of women and girls. Gender-responsive public services play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality and advancing the rights of women and girls. These services require enabling policy and legislative frameworks, institutional structures and administrative capacities for their full implementation. Initiatives should address gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at all stages of planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring, and evaluation.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The Award is open to all public-sector institutions at the national, sub-national and local levels from all UN member states. In the case of partnerships (including civil society, private sector, academia, etc.), the nominee must be a public-sector institution.
  • Both self-nomination and nomination by third parties are accepted. Applications should be made by an organization.
  • The initiative must be innovative and relevant to one of the UN Public Service Awards categories.
  • The initiative must have been implemented for a minimum of two years, with demonstrated and documented impact.
  • The application must be duly filled out.
  • The submission must include all the required supporting documents.
  • The initiative must not have already received a UNPS Award.
  • To avoid conflict of interest, the initiative must not be implemented by the United Nations System.
  • The application can be with any UN official language. However, it would be preferable, if possible, that applications be submitted in one of the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat, which are English and French.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Alignment with the 2030 Agenda: The 2030 Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. The initiative should be aligned to the principles of the Agenda and its overarching priorities of leaving no one behind. It should support the implementation of the Agenda and realization of the SDGs at the global, national, sub-national and local levels.
  • Innovation: The initiative should present an innovative idea, policy, new approach, or a unique mechanism that supports the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In the context of a given country or region, it could be to improve the delivery of public services, solve a problem of public concern, or strengthen public institutions.
  • Significance: The initiative should have made a positive impact on a group(s) of the population and address a significant issue of public concern within the context of a given country or region.
  • Adaptability: The initiative should be applicable and adaptable to other contexts for possible upscaling or replication. Ideally, it should be conducive to similar innovations in other public-sector institutions within a given country, region or at the global level.
  • Sustainability: The initiative should be sustainable in financial, social and environmental terms, that the desired outcome can be achieved and maintained.
  • Partnership: The initiative should demonstrate that it has engaged relevant stakeholders and partners. It should not be limited to public institutions and government entities but inclusive of non-state stakeholders of the community, civil society, and the private sector.


Up to five winners can be selected under each category of the Awards. Winners are considered within their UN regional groups as follows:

  • Africa.
  • Asia and the Pacific.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Eastern Europe.
  • Western Europe and other Groups.

The Awards are usually given on 23 June, a day designated by the General Assembly as the United Nations Public Service Day to “celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community”


The Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) is a division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). It provides secretariat support to the United Nations Programme in Public Administration and ECOSOC resolution. Through its normative and operative work, it assists countries on transformative governance and innovative public administration in advancing sustainable development, on the basis of an integrated approach by: Providing secretariat and substantive support to the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council on issues related to governance and public administration Promoting greater awareness, common approaches, understanding and sustainable policy options among Governments through advocacy and knowledge transfer on good governance Providing advisory services and capacity-building tools based on research and analysis Strengthening partnerships and cooperation with other international, regional and professional organizations, both public and private, and within and outside the United Nations system, including through the United Nations Public Administration Network Their mission is to assist the Member States of the UN in fostering effective, efficient, transparent, accountable, innovative and citizen-centered public governance, administration and services for sustainable development.

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