Online Series on Public Policy for Civil Servants: Opening Remarks by Manal Fouani, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, 11 August 2021

August 11, 2021

Photo credit: Anton Filonenko / Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine

Your excellencies, dear colleagues, distinguished representatives of the media:

I am pleased and rather excited today to announce the launch of a very interesting and valuable joint initiative:  a new educational online series on public policy. We at UNDP, together with the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Better Regulation Delivery Office and the National Agency on Civil Service – developed this course specifically for those working on the front lines of transforming Ukraine into a modern and prosperous nation that leaves no one behind – the country’s civil servants.

In the course material, and as normatively informed by good governance principles, we emphasize that public policy should always address the public interest of all stakeholders, including and especially those who are vulnerable and marginalized. We know that societies cannot move forward sustainably, until they move forward together – that is a theme that underpins every lesson in this series on public policy.

The overarching vision of the online educational series is the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a timebound framework for ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Yet the SDGs will remain but a dream if civil servants do not understand their obligations and responsibilities as duty bearers and are not held accountable for delivering on their commitments. In this sense, they are much more than civil servants, but rather transformational changemakers. While everyone has a role to play in achieving the Global Goals, much of the weight rests on their shoulders as civil servants.

The United Nations and its agencies, funds and programmes are not a part of any government. We remain neutral and impartial institution and as international civil servants, we do not get involved in political campaigns or seek to influence the outcomes of elections. We do, however, support the development of transparent, evidence-based and fair policymaking that advances democratic governance and promotes human development.

These efforts include sharing some of the best practices from other countries, just like we are able to share many of the best practices developed here in Ukraine with the rest of the world. We advocate globally in all the countries where we work for human rights and gender equality, supporting anti-corruption efforts, social inclusion and social cohesion so that no one is left behind.  Much of this work is rooted in the international agreements that your Government has signed and ratified, such as the Convention on Promoting the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, and the Convention on Elimination of All Forms Discrimination against Women. We work closely with civil society, the private sector and academia because we know that such an all-encompassing approach is essential for creating a modern and prosperous society.

In line with this support, we have the pleasure to contribute to enhancing the skills of civil servants in policy design, monitoring and evaluation through the educational series we present today, as this knowledge is a pre-requisite for the efficient work of civil servants as duty bearers.  

In closing, I would like to express my appreciation to the Government of Sweden for its generous financial support and to the highly innovative and motivated Ministry of Digital Transformation for the privilege of being able to work on the DIA Support project, aimed at supporting  the digitalization of public services in Ukraine. As you know, the abbreviation DIA stands for “Digital, Inclusive, and Accessible”, and these are the key features and the top priorities we set up for the digital transformation of services in Ukraine.

We are particularly pleased to witness Ukraine’s progress in this regard, in line with its “State in the Smartphone” concept, and to acknowledge the dynamic work and commitment of the Ministry and other counterparts which are making these advances possible. It is truly an honour and a privilege to be able to walk this path with you as you bring all Ukrainians, without exception, into the fold of a modern, dynamic and prosperous society by 2030 and beyond.

Thank you for your attention.