The Role of Public Service

Many argue that three key groups must collaborate in working towards an equal and sustainable world: our governments in the public sector, businesses in the private sector, and civil society and nonprofit organizations (CSOs and NGOs), making up that third and final sector.

Three Sectors_Infographic

Today kicks off the 2015 United Nations Public Service Forum, Day and Awards Ceremony, so we’re focusing on how public service contributes to the quality of life in our communities. But what exactly is this event and why is it important? Here’s what you need to know:

WHO: Organized by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), along with UN Women and Government of the Republic of Colombia; 800+ individuals are expected to attend, including representatives from the United Nations, host country, and the public, private and civil society sectors.

WHAT: Three-day conference and exhibition focused on the 2015 theme of “Innovating Public Service Delivery to Implement the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

WHERE: Medellín, Colombia

WHEN: June 23 – 26, 2015

WHY: Founded as a means to encourage conversation and information sharing regarding effective governance and public administration, the Forum’s main focus is on how the public sector can build off of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and advance effective implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

HOW: Plenary sessions, roundtables, and interactive capacity-building workshops, along with the presentation of the esteemed United Nations Public Awards (UNPSA).


  • Recognizes 22 public service institutions, selected from a pool of 638 eligible applicants, which have exemplified what it means to improve and enhance individuals’ quality of life through public services.
UNPSA Winners Infographic
  • Awards are presented in four categories: Improving the Delivery of Public Services; Fostering Participation in Policy-Making Decisions through Innovative Mechanisms; Promoting Whole-of-Government Approaches in the Information Age; and Promoting Gender-Responsive Delivery of Public Services.
  • Three (3) organizations from Latin American countries (Mexico, Brazil and Ecuador) are among the 22 UNPSA winners. Learn more about their respective projects here.

As the deadlines set forth by the MDGs will expire at the end of the year, it seems only fitting that this year’s central focus is development beyond the MDGs, and the role of both Public Service and its partners in working towards a more equitable and sustainable future across the globe.

Check out the TRF interactive map to see how our partners throughout the Americas are working in tandem towards this same goal, and be sure to stay updated on the Forum with live updates from Colombia! 


By Christina Mellace, TRF Program Reporting Manager