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United Nations Public Service Day

Message by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon.

23 June 2010|Statement


On the annual observance of Public Service Day, we pay tribute to public servants everywhere who have improved the lives of others in their communities.


Public service is not always an easy career choice to make, but it can be immensely rewarding for the opportunity it offers to get involved in addressing the challenges of our times.

In an era of increasingly complex challenges, from climate change to food insecurity and the financial and economic crisis, the world needs its public servants to be more creative and talented than ever.  Through this year's United Nations Public Service Awards competition, we can see that innovation is thriving throughout the world.  At the commemoration of Public Service Day in Barcelona, the United Nations will award twenty-three public institutions for their achievements.

In some cases, these institutions have used technology to increase the transparency and accountability of government services.  Others have created social programmes that educate and empower marginalized groups. All the winners and finalists have powerful and inspiring stories to tell and best practices to share*.  I congratulate them on their original ideas, their industriousness and their dedication to excellent public service delivery. 

I hope these winners will generate other local, regional and national initiatives, and inspire young people to explore careers in public service.  If we are to defeat poverty, disease, illiteracy and gender inequality and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, we need to recruit into the public service an ever-increasing tide of ambitious youth who want to use their technological and scientific skills for the common good.  

On this Public Service Day, I thank all people who currently work in service of their town, city or country, and I encourage young citizens everywhere to explore the dynamic and diverse careers that exist today in public service.

Ban Ki-moon
United Nations