Today is a momentous day for Bahrain.
Hosting the global 2013 United Nations Public Services Forum is no small achievement, for a small nation likes ours.
Starting today, for four days, there will be lectures, seminars and workshops on ‘Public Service’, and over 700 delegates have already registered to participate in this Forum.
About 550 of the delegates, I understand, are from outside the Kingdom of Bahrain, representing 97 countries including China, India, Thailand, Morocco, Korea, USA, Oman, Egypt and Brazil.
The event is being held by Bahrain’s eGovernment Authority and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
On one hand, I feel a sense of pride that some 100 key international leaders, deputy prime ministers, ministers and CEOs will personally be attending this high-level event.
On the other hand, I also feel a sense of great satisfaction that – when it comes to air flights, hotels, restaurants and taxis – the contribution of this event to the national economy is worth around $ 6 million.
According to the eGovernment Authority CEO and Chairman of the event’s Organising Committee, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed, if we consider an average stay period of six days per guest from 23-28 June 2013, the hotel occupancy rates could be anywhere between 3,000 and 3,500 hotel nights.
So, this is definitely a much needed boost to the hospitality sector that is going through a lull, after this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix. But more than that, it is a great opportunity for Bahrain to host a world class event in this small country.
I believe the citizens and residents must fully note and cooperate in the organising of more events of this magnitude.
These events will make sure that Bahrain is seen and heard at a global level through close association with United Nations.
Personally, I have two reasons for a very special interest in the ‘Awards Ceremony’ that will also be a part of this Forum, and where some of the world’s greatest public servants will be honoured.
The overall purpose of the United Nations Public Service Awards is to recognize the institutional contribution made by public servants to enhance the role, professionalism, image and visibility of the public service.
These awards, given annually, help identify and celebrate innovations in fighting poverty and promoting sustainable development. And the awards will be presented to 47 delegations from around the globe during this high-level Forum.
The first reason for my special interest is that the Kingdom of Bahrain is winning first place in The United Nations Public Service Award 2012 in the “advanced knowledge management in government,” category for the e-Office project “Zajil”.
The second reason is that one of the awardees this year is Kerala’s Chief Minister Oommen Chandy . And Kerala happens to my home state in India where I was born.
Oommen Chandy has won this United Nation’s Public Service Award now, for his Mass Contact Programme, which saw him directly engaging with people of his state to address their grievances.
I have followed the way my innovative Chief Minister has proved himself in public service, through this programme. And, needless to say, I am very excited at this recognition given to India, and to the work of this innovative and inspiring leader, by the United Nations.
Mr Chandy has bagged the first prize from the Asia Pacific region with awardees chosen every year from five zones around the world.
During this forum’s lectures, workshops, awards, talks and networking opportunities, let us hope that a renewed vigour is found by all participants to go back and contribute to public service in a more dedicated and concerted way, in their own countries.
We must congratulate Bahrain’s eGovernment Authority, along with the UN organisations and local organisations, for the tremendous work done in the organising of this event. And, we must, of course, wish the Forum all success.