On 20 December 2002, the United Nations General Assembly designated 23 June as Public Service Day by adopting resolution 57/227.
UN Public Service Day celebrates the value and virtue of public service to the community; highlights the contribution of public service in the development process; recognizes the work of public servants, and encourages young people to pursue careers in the public sector.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than 180 countries, infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands of people. In addition to the health implications and loss of life, the pandemic has strained health care systems, disrupted the education system, wreaked havoc on businesses and economies, led to job losses and disrupted social life with lockdowns, curfews and other stringent measures aimed at containing the virus being put in place globally. All this has happened in the context of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for which public service and public servants are critical.
From frontline healthcare workers and public health officials to teachers, sanitation workers, social welfare officers and more, the humble public servant has been thrust into the spotlight, helping elevate awareness and understanding of the critical role public servants play in everyday life, and in particular during times of severe crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
To honour the work of public servants globally and focus on the critical role frontline public servants have been playing in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN and the Ministry of the Interior and Safety of the Republic of Korea are organizing UN Public Service Day, 23 June, and hosting an outreach and resource platform from 15-30 June.
The vision of the Cook Islands Government Public Sector Strategy 2016-2025, is for a Public Service of Excellence, which requires a Public Sector to be guided by strong principles of collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence. This will allow us to grow leaders with integrity, deliver results efficiently, and constantly innovate to remain relevant to the people it serves and the global environment in which it operates. The Office of the Public Service Commissioner (OPSC) led the development of the Strategy which is a roadmap for public sector transformation and calls for strong leadership at all levels in order to deliver a cadre of high performing public servants serving our communities with integrity and excellence.
OPSC also joins the rest of the world in acknowledging our health workers during this period. OPSC would like to further acknowledge those Ministries and Agencies who have supported Te Marae Ora during these unsettling times – Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Crown Law Office, Cook Islands Police Service, Cook Islands Tourism, Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture.
To celebrate UN Public Service Day, OPSC in collaboration with Tereora College will be hosting a panel of high achieving young Cook Islanders sharing their Public Service experiences.