UAE receives special award from UN for its role in govt modernisation

UNPSA is most prestigious global award in the field of public service


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Mon 13 Dec 2021, 3:59 PM

Last updated: Thu 9 Feb 2023, 3:01 PM

The United Nations, on Monday, honoured the government of UAE with a special award in recognition of its role in government modernisation.

Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs accepted the award from Catherine Pollard, under-secretary-general for management strategy, policy and compliance, UN, at the 18th edition of the United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) on December 13.

The UNPSA is most prestigious global award in the field of public service. A total of 17 winners from 13 countries were given awards especially for using technology to enhance public services.

Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi, the Minister of State for Government Development and the Future gave the opening address and congratulated the winners for their achievements. Abdullah Nasser Lootah, director-general of Prime Minister's Office in the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs was also present.

‘UAE has an agile government model’

Speaking after the award ceremony, Al Gergawi, said the award reflects UAE’s exceptional achievements in developing an agile government model based on designing proactive services, promoting efficiency and enhancing competitiveness.

“We take pride in our exceptional leadership that has rendered the UAE a global model for government development, an international reference for shaping future governments, and a hub for developing best government practices and enhancing efficiency and quality performance,” said the Minister.

Al Gergawi also said that the UAE government is keen to promote fruitful cooperation with the UN.

Meanwhile, Minister Al Roumi, said, “During the past two years, we went through a very difficult time, however, civil servants continue to tirelessly work for their citizens and residents.”

She added, “Today, the UAE received a special award from the UN for supporting other nations by sharing best practices through the government exchange programme.”

Over the past years, the UAE government has launched strategic partnerships in government modernization under the umbrella of the government knowledge exchange program, with nine countries worldwide.

The partnerships yielded 241 successful initiatives in more than 55 work fields, and upskilled 290,000 employees and trainees through three million training hours and 565 workshops.

Covid-19 and its impact on achieving SDGs

During her remarks, Pollard said, “The special award reflects the UN’s appreciation of the UAE government’s efforts, initiatives, and unique work model.” She added, “The UAE has developed an exceptional government work model.”

Following the award ceremony, Pollard told Khaleej Times Covid-19 has indeed caused a setback in terms of the trajectory for achieving sustainable development goals.

“However, now that we are learning better to live with Covid and manage with the pandemic, this is where we have to accelerate our efforts,” said Pollard. She said, “This is where we have to accelerate our efforts and this is where all of the power of human capacity comes to bear.”

Pollard said with the help of innovation and finding new ways of doing things, the world can hopefully catch up and achieve the SDG targets by 2030, she added

Top rankings in global competitiveness indicators

The UAE ranked first regionally and 21st globally in the e-government survey 2020 conducted by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. According to the global competitiveness report issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF), it ranked third globally on the government’s responsiveness to change indicator and fourth on the government long-term vision indicator.

The UAE also ranked third globally as the most trusted government according to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer.

List of winners of the UNPSA 2021

The UN awarded ten winners for the UNPSA 2021. Winners of the 2020 edition of the award were also recognised for their efforts on Sunday.

Category: Fostering innovation to deliver inclusive and equitable services for all


  • Hands-on Mobile ICT Classes Project of Ghana Library Authority
  • Encouraging Innovation to Deliver Inclusive and Equal Services to All” launched by the “Government for Citizens” in Kazakhstan

Category: Enhancing the effectiveness of public institutions


  • Water Sector Trust Fund of Kenya with the Output-based aid programme initiative
  • The Chungcheongnam-do of the Republic of Korea with Clean marine environment initiative
  • Department of Sustainable Development of Romania with the initiatives to strengthen the effectiveness of Romanian institutions
  • PCSD to reach SDGs, Municipio de Coatzacoalcos, Mexico with the initiative Coatzabierto – Integral strategy of open government and intelligent city
  • Automobile Club d’Italia, ACI mobility information system (Luceverde).

Category: Promoting gender-responsive public services to achieve the SDGs


  • Ministry of disaster management and relief of Bangladesh with Women empowerment in cyclone preparedness programme (CPP)
  • The superintendence of sports in the state of Bahia, Brazil; sports in the city initiative.

Category: Institutional preparedness and response in times of crisis

  • The Department of disease control of Thailand won the award for its initiative intelligent and sustainable public health emergency system.

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