United Nations Public Service Day

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2024 Date23 June 2024
2025 Date23 June 2025

United Nations Public Service Day

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United Nations Public Service Day History

United Nations Public Service Day is an annual celebration aimed at recognising the invaluable contribution of public servants throughout the world in fostering sustainable development, promoting democracy and the well-being of citizens. The day highlights the need for a competent and responsive public service, which remains a key factor in the successful implementation of the UN's Agenda 2030, including its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is a time for citizens from various countries, including the United Kingdom, to appreciate the work and accomplishments of public officials.

Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002, this international day of observance underscores the critical role played by public service workers in addressing various global challenges. British citizens stand to benefit immensely from this annual celebration as it encourages and fosters modernisation and innovation within the national public service sector. The Observance provides a platform for the United Kingdom to showcase its best practices in the area of public service and also learn from the experiences of other nations.

In observance of the United Nations Public Service Day, the United Kingdom typically holds various award ceremonies and workshops that highlight the creativity and dedication of public servants, and the ways in which they contribute to the making of a better society. Furthermore, numerous government offices, as well as local authorities, use this opportunity to demonstrate their commitments to enhancing public service delivery. UN Public Service Day is observed yearly on the 23rd of June globally, providing an occasion to honour those who are dedicated to serving citizens diligently and selflessly.

Facts about United Nations Public Service Day

  • Every year the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) organizes a world forum with a host country. The forum operates as a space for world leaders, ministers, and other senior decision-makers to debate emerging issues and trends. It allows them to discuss good practices, strategies, actions, and innovative approaches that will improve and benefit the public sector.
  • Today, as we honor these essential workers and so many more, we must also reflect on how to better protect, recognize and invest in their well-being as we build back better, together. And I say directly to these inspiring public servants: We are all deeply indebted to you for your remarkable acts of service to humankind - UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN Public Service Day, 2020
  • In the UK, the Northcote-Trevelyan Report was released in 1854, significantly reforming the civil service and establishing a merit-based system of recruitment. This report marked a major turning point in the evolution of public service in the country and influenced the UN's recommendations for public service worldwide.
  • The UK was one of the founding members of the organization and holds a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Top things to do in the UK for this observance

  • Learn more about the role of public service workers. The Covid-19 pandemic has put a lot more responsbility and burden on public workers. The UN highlights their efforts and continued contributions.
  • Listen to the UN Symphony Orchestra's tribute to public service.
  • Take a tour of the UK's Supreme Court, which serves as the highest court in the country for most cases and learn about the judiciary's role in public service.
  • Visit historic public buildings and museums that showcase public service careers, such as police, firefighting, and military services. Examples include the National Army Museum, the Imperial War Museum, and the London Transport Museum.

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