Baku, Azerbaijan, June 24
Co-organized by the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United Nations, the UN Public Service Forum has today kicked off at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku.
First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony of the Forum.
Addressing the opening ceremony, First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva said:
-Mr Under-Secretary-General, His Excellency!
Ladies and gentlemen, dear guests, dear friends!
It is an honor for us to host the UN Public Service Forum which for the first time is organized in the region of Eastern Europe, and we thank the United Nations for the decision to organize this event in our capital. We consider this as the recognition of important achievements gained by Azerbaijan in the fields of public services. The topic chosen for this year’s event is of great importance to all of our nations and this is a useful platform for senior decision-makers coming from different parts of the world to share their experiences, challenges, to meet the goals of the UN 2030 agenda of sustainable development. Special role in this process belong to the ability of our public institutions to deliver high quality services to our people, and to engage innovative transformation. In this context, I would like to use this opportunity to share with you today the success story of our experience to reform the old and inefficient system of public services. The main target was to make sure that the new services would be people-oriented and would address previous difficulties that our citizens were facing in the past. The goal was to render our public services to people friendly, comfortable, easy to use and efficient. This is how the idea of creating a one-stop-shop public service provider was born. It got the name of ASAN – meaning easy in Azerbaijani. ASAN service was established by the initiative of the president of Azerbaijan, in 2012, as part of the broader public administration reform, and was immediately welcomed by the people. It started from a small pilot project in Baku. When several main public service providers were gathered at the one roof in order to respond to needs of people in a transparent, accessible, efficient and comfortable way. ASAN became immediately so popular, among people that we decided to build on this success, by increasing the number and types of services and extending ASAN presence to the regions of Azerbaijan. In a relatively short period of time, ASAN service has become a national brand, that introduced a new culture of dealing with the peoples’ needs in the field of public services. Today, there are ten ASAN centers in the regions, and five centers in Baku and our plan is to build five more centers in the regions and two more in Baku, before the end of this year. In terms of volume of work that was done, I would like to give you just one figure. Since 2013, ASAN centers have processed more than 13 million applications across the country. Today this centers render 320 public and private services. 12 different state structures and the group of private companies, are represented within ASAN-center in one building. Very quickly ASAN services have taken the central place in state-citizen relationship. Permanent monitoring of the citizen feedback strongly contributes to the long-term success of the project. Another recipe of success, was active and wide involvement of our youth. Since 2013, more than 19 thousand volunteers have been involved in ASAN, 1100 of whom have got full-fledged jobs in ASAN of various ministries involved in ASAN service centers. We are proud to see how our talented, highly motivated and creative youth is deeply engaged in the country’s modernization. Our positive experience was also noticed by the international community and back in 2015, ASAN-service was awarded by the UN in the category of improving the delivery of public services. We are proud that our experience with ASAN is watched with great interest as a best practice in a much broader region. Early this year, first similar center was opened in Kabul. More than 100 experts from Afghanistan have been trained by ASAN. We are ready to continue sharing our best practices with other countries. As of today, ten Memorandums of Understanding were signed by ASAN with different countries and international organizations. But we do not stop there and continue to improve the quality of public services. In order to render proactive e-services to people ASAN launched my.gov portal. And now our citizens also benefit from online services. Even that is not the limit. In 2016, building on the success story of ASAN another social-oriented service was set up in Azerbaijan under the name of ABAD. ABAD is a public legal entity whose goal is to assist small family businesses and develop small entrepreneurship in the regions of Azerbaijan. The aim is also to involve more actively and creatively the citizens to social economic development of the country. With about 400 current members ABAD has become an important tool to address the issue of unemployment in the regions. Ladies and gentlemen, this was just a brief outline of Azerbaijani experience in reforming public services to benefit of our citizens. I am sure there are many other examples, and experiences that could be shared and studied on a regular basis. This is the reason why Azerbaijan proposed to establish as a particular result of today’s forum the ASAN association of public service delivery entities. I hope that this new association will become an important international tool to promote export dialogue on effective public service delivery. It may assist all those who are willing to use existing best practices in this field. Dear friends, once again, welcome to Azerbaijan, I wish you all interesting and useful discussion. I wish the forum a great success. Finally ,I invite you to find some spare time during your stay in Baku to discover our beautiful city and enjoy traditional Azerbaijani hospitality. Thank you.
Speakers at the event included the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin, Chairman of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ulvi Mehdiyev, and Rector of Gunadarma University, Vice-president of Indonesian Private University Association Prof. Eko Sri Margianti.
Liu Zhenmin then presented the UN special award for promoting innovation in the digital public service delivery in Azerbaijan to First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva.
The Forum is annually held ahead of the UN Public Service Day since June 23, 2003. The purpose of the Forum is to hold discussions related to the issues on public administration, advanced public service delivery models, innovations and relevant topics in this field, as well as to ensure interstate exchange of advanced practices in this area. The Forum will also feature the award ceremony of the most advanced and innovative models in the field of public services.
The Forum involves more than 500 delegates from over 190 countries, including ministers of public administration and public services from various countries, as well as senior executives of local authorities, academic circles and private sector. The event will feature plenary sessions, different workshops and parallel events. It also plans to award this year's winners of the UN Public Services Award in 5 different categories. Furthermore, the State Agency is planning to sign cooperation agreements with a number of foreign countries.
The most important factors contributing to the organization of the forum in the Republic of Azerbaijan are achievements of the country in the field of public services, the successful activity of “ASAN service” and receiving the UN Public Service Award in 2015.