[2024-06-23] Former UN chief highlights Korea’s role in public service innovation

 In 이사장 활동

The upcoming United Nations Public Service Forum will be an opportunity for Korea to showcase the exemplary cases and innovative achievements of its public services, according to former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“In recent years, Korea has emerged as a leading country in government innovation, including the development of digital government. Among U.N. member states, Korea has established itself as a model country for disseminating exemplary administrative practices,” Ban said during a recent interview with The Korea Times.

He mentioned that Korea ranked third in the 2022 U.N. E-Government Development Index (EGDI), remaining in the top three for the seventh consecutive time since 2010 in the biennially announced index.

Korea will host the 2024 U.N. Public Service Forum from Monday to Wednesday in Songdo, Incheon, west of Seoul. This is the first time in five years since the 2019 session in Azerbaijan that the forum will be held in person, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the theme “Fostering Innovation Amid Global Challenges: A Public Sector Perspective,” the upcoming forum will gather international leaders to discuss and celebrate advancements in public service.

“The world, including our country, is still not free from the aftermath of COVID-19. We are facing increasing instability and uncertainty due to severe climate change-related disasters, the war in Ukraine, geopolitical conflicts in various regions and deepening economic inequality,” the former U.N. chief said.

“Amid these challenging circumstances, the significance of this forum lies in discussing the role and necessity of government in achieving a sustainable future through innovation in public administration.”

Ban also noted that the event will provide momentum to address Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 — revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development.

“In particular, with just six years remaining to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the role of government and the purpose of public services are becoming increasingly important. There is a strong global demand to redefine the future and role of public administration,” he said.

“The climate crisis is exacerbating rapidly, and billions of people around the world are suffering health, food, water and migration crises, and losing their cultural identity… No matter how powerful or resourceful one may be, they cannot do it alone. We need to strengthen global partnerships. We need all hands on deck.”

On that note, he emphasized that Korea should continue to increase its commitment to official development assistance (ODA), saying, “Korea rose from the ashes of the Korean War thanks to aid from the United States and European nations. It is the only country in the world that transitioned from a recipient to a donor country.”

Ban found it encouraging that the Yoon Suk Yeol administration has notably increased the ODA budget.

The Korean government set this year’s budget for ODA at a record high of 6.3 trillion won ($4.7 billion), a 31.1 percent increase from the previous year, in line with efforts to take full responsibility and play a leading role as a global leader. The budget has been divided among nearly 2,000 ODA projects through 47 government agencies, including humanitarian crisis response projects in countries affected by war and disasters, infrastructure-related assistance and health care assistance.

The former U.N. secretary-general also expressed hopes that the upcoming U.N. Public Service Forum will shed light on the growing importance of women and youth empowerment in the public service sector.

“Women’s empowerment was one of my top priorities when I was serving as the secretary-general. I made tremendous efforts to break the glass ceiling for women,” he said. “I still remain a vocal advocate for women’s rights and gender equality. In my view, women are highly creative, have great potential and possess a strong sense of duty.”

During his tenure, he successfully advocated for the creation in 2010 of U.N. Women, a major U.N. entity that consolidates the international organization’s work in achieving gender equality. Ban’s advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality was further demonstrated in 2014 when he appointed Maj. Gen. Kristin Lund as the Force Commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Cyprus, the first female commander of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

Ban also highlighted the critical importance of youth empowerment.

“Currently, young people around the world are in a very unstable environment politically, economically and socially. They place high value in ‘fairness’ and ‘balance between work and life,’ but we are not seeing drastic changes in public administration and corporate cultures,” he said.

“The growth and advancement of young people are critical elements for enhancing national competitiveness and providing vitality to society as a whole. I believe that the government should implement proactive and continuous policies to help young people solve real-world problems, plan their futures. I hope these topics are discussed extensively at the forum.”


Source: The Korea Times

[INTERVIEW] Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon highlights Korea’s role in public service innovation ahead of UN Public Service Forum – The Korea Times