Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs (right), receiving the UN award to the UAE from Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, United Nations, on Monday in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: In a new achievement for the UAE, the United Nations on Monday honoured the UAE government with a special award in recognition of its role in government modernisation.

The recognition came during the United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) ceremony in Dubai.

The award came in recognition of the UAE’s achievements in the field of government modernisation, building new models of future governments, and its global efforts in exchanging knowledge in the field of government modernisation with countries regionally and worldwide.

The ceremony was attended by Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, and Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, United Nations.

Al Gergawi said the UN award reflects the leading status that the UAE government achieved pursuant to the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Agile government

Al Gergawi said: “The award reflects the UAE’s exceptional achievements in developing an agile government model based on designing proactive services, promoting efficiency and enhancing competitiveness. The award came as a new international testimony on the development of the UAE, led by a futuristic, pioneering and innovative government, and demonstrating the vision of its leadership aiming to develop proactive future services.”

Pollard commended the experiences of the UAE government, and the advanced models it has developed in the field of public service.

Pollard said: “As we gather at the first UNPSA ceremony since the beginning of the pandemic, we seize the opportunity to thank public servants everywhere for their continued dedication, and celebrate public service inspiring initiatives that resulted from their innovations and commitment to enhance public services delivery to achieve sustainable development.”

Global Competitiveness Indicators

Over the past years, the UAE government has launched strategic partnerships in the field of government modernisation under the umbrella of the government knowledge exchange programme, with nine countries worldwide. The partnerships yielded 241 successful initiatives in more than 55 work fields, and upskilled 290,000 employees and trainees through 3 million training hours and 565 workshops.

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.

In addition, the UAE Government Accelerators, the first of its kind worldwide adopting acceleration and innovation to develop proactive solutions for addressing challenges, has become a hub for knowledge partnerships worldwide.

Moreover, the UAE government has also launched the World Government Summit, which serves as the largest global platform that brings together government officials and experts from around the world to shape the future. Since its launch, the Summit has held up to 1000 sessions and hosted more than 25,000 participants and 40 international organizations. It also has signed more than 80 agreements and published more than 100 reports.


On Monday, UNPSA honoured various country officials for their contribution towards public services to their communities in 2020 and 2021. The winning officials were awarded in the presence of UAE and UN officials. They were selected as winners under eight categories of the award.

The award was given by Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, and Pollard.

Al Roumi told Gulf News: “Today we had 17 winners from 13 countries and they were rewarded for their remarkable efforts for providing services to people around the world. During the past two years, we went through a very difficult time. But civil servants, public officials in their respective countries went about their daily task with the same spirit. They worked hard providing and serving in their nation.”

Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future
Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, during the awards ceremony Image Credit: Anjana Kumar/Gulf News

She added: “The UAE also received a special award for the role our nation played in supporting other nations by sharing best practices under the governments exchange program. [Sheikh Mohammed] directed us to work with nine countries in the past two years.

“We developed capabilities for more than 300 government employees and helped 100 joint initiatives. The recognition also came for the role UAE played in hosting world government officials around the world.”

Pollard said: “First of all, let me say that it’s really wonderful being here in the UAE. We are all focusing on managing to move beyond COVID. No one really wants to go back to the days of last year with the lockdown. We are all striving to see how we can build back better while we know that we are in different stages of the pandemic. I am personally very impressed with the UAE’s innovations that have been taken place.”

The winners

Countries that took home the award on Monday included Republic of Korea, Brazil, Bangladesh, Portugal, Mexico, Botswana, Spain, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Romania, Italy and Thailand.

The four 2020 award categories included ‘Delivering inclusive and equitable services for all; promoting integrated mechanisms for sustainable development; developing transparent and accountable public institutions; and promoting digital transformation in public sector’.

There were seven winners for the four categories. The countries who made the cut included Republic of Korea’s Seondong District Office for providing more access to health care services through partnerships with private clinics, welfare services and care providers. The consul general of the Republic of Korea in Dubai received a trophy and a certificate on behalf of the Seondong district.

Brazil’s Prefeitura do Jaboatao dos Guararapes took the next award for promoting preparatory course for students admission into reference technical schools. The initiative significantly boosted the number of low-income middle school students admitted into highly competitive secondary level technical schools.

Portugal’s Administrative Modernisation Agency and the Directorate-General of Energy and Geology was the next receipient of the prestigious award. Mexico’s Consejo Nuevo Leon para la Planeacion Estragia took the next award. Bangladesh’s Ministry of Land of Bangladesh was the next recipient of the award.

Botswana’s North East Region Ministry of Basic Education was the next award recipient for the 2020 category. Just as Spain’s Direccion General de Transformacion Digital de La Administracion de Justicia.

2021 categories

The 2021 award categories included ‘fostering innovation to deliver inclusive and equitable services for all including through digital transformation’.

The second category included enhancing the effectiveness of public institutions to reach the SDGs. The third category was promoting gender-responsive public services to achieved the SDGs and the fourth category was for institutional preparedness and response in times of crisis. There were 10 winners in the four categories.

Ghana’s Library Authority won an award for its hands on mobile ICT classes project. Kazakhstan Government for Citizens won for encouraging innovation to deliver inclusive and equal services to all. Kenya, Water Sector Trust Fund was honoured for its output-based aid programme initiative. The Republic of Korea won its second award for the day for its clean marine initiative. Romania’s Department of Sustainable Development was rewarded for its initiatives to strengthen the effectiveness of Romanian institutions and PCSD to reach SDGs.

Mexico’s Municipio de Coatzacoalcos won a trophy for its integral strategy of open government and intelligent city. Italy also also a recipient of the award. The country’s Automobile Club d’Italia won ACI mobility information system.

Bangladesh’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief was rewarded for its efforts towards women empowerment in cyclone preparedness programme (CPP). Brazil was the next winner. The country’s superintendence of sports in the state of Bahia won a trophy for promoting sports under the city’s initiative.

The last country to walk home with an award was Thailand. The country’s Department of disease control won for its intelligent and sustainable public health emergency system.