UN conference in The Hague: the key to innovative government

Mr. Ronald Plasterk (BZK) and Mr. Wu Hongbo (UN) will open the conference in June.

All governments are now facing the same challenge: good service that's in touch with the public, collaboration with other stakeholders and the proper application of new digital and technological opportunities. Governments are also expected to be transparent, accountable and allow room for improvement. Governments perform adequately on several accounts, but there are always room for improvement. The United Nations Public Service Forum 2017 (UNPSF2017) on June 22 and 23 in The Hague, will host a dialogue between ministers, senior public servants, governments, corporate representatives, young people and experts about ways to improve public services further still.

Mr. Ronald Plasterk, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UN), will open the United Nations Public Service Forum 22 (UNPSF2017) on innovative and improved public services on June 22, 2017. Improvements and innovations in public services are required to aid all UN-member states in better and more quickly achieving the 17 goals (Sustainable Development Goals) on the United Nations’ Agenda 2030.
Minister Plasterk: "The Netherlands boast a very high level of public services. Nevertheless, we still need to continually improve if we want to increase service levels for our citizens. This conference is an excellent platform for sharing international experiences with each other and learning from one another." The reason for this conference is the annual celebration of ‘value and virtue’ of public services for society: The United Nations Public Service Day on June 23. On this day, public services take the spotlight with the presentation of UN Public Service Awards to worthy initiatives from all over the world. The conference was previously held in Colombia (2015), South-Korea (2014), Bahrein (2013) and the United States (2012).

Youth Declaration

Young people are closely involved in the conference, too. FUTUR, the national network of and for young public servants and the UN Youth Delegation are working together to draft a Youth Declaration, advice regarding the part governments play in achieving the SDGs in 2030. This declaration will be presented at the Forum. On June 22, the UN Youth will also work with over 100 schoolchildren in The Hague on Sustainable Development.

New style of conferencing

Participants will get to know excellent examples of governmental innovations at the conference. Among them will be a presentation by the CBS Urban Data Center. This shows how CBS’ data, knowledge and expertise merge with the municipality's. This affords municipalities additional insights into their local policies and the effects on their residents.
Other delegations will visit the Biesbosch National Park for the ‘Room for the River’ program. All stakeholders closely collaborated in this project to prevent flooding in other parts of the country. The program also features a presentation from the Ministry of the Defense on how they're contributing to the circular economy by processing their discarded uniforms. The conference additionally provides short plenary programs, workshops, talk shows, reflection moments and biking tours.
Over 500 participants from 193 UN countries will be received in The Hague. It has been quite a while since The Netherlands has hosted a United Nations conference. The organization benefits from prior experience the Dutch have gathered at NSS, GCCS and Chairing the European Union.