The United Nations 2007 Public Service Awards presentation ceremony took place on June 26, during the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government held on June 26-29, 2007 at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) is among the award winners for this year. The UN Public Service Award - the Trophy and Certificate for Improving Transparency, Accountability and Responsiveness in Public Service was handed out by Ms. Asha Rose Migiro, the UN Deputy Secretary-General to Mr. Shahmar Movsumov, the Executive Director of the State Oil Fund.
The United Nations Public Service Awards is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. Established in 2003 it rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. The UN General Assembly, in its Resolution dated March 7, 2003 designated 23 June as Public Service Day.
The State Oil Fund is a first governmental agency that is awarded the UN Public Service Award among the governmental institutions of the Eastern Europe and CIS countries. Shahmar Movsumov, SOFAZ Executive Director says that the award presented to his institution is a success of Azerbaijan entirely.
"The State Oil Fund got the UN Public Service Award, which is a most prestigious public administration prize. This is not only the SOFAZ's success, but also is a sign of superiority achieved by Azerbaijan's statehood and public service. It is a holiday, remarkable day for all of us. This is a highest success of the public service development in Azerbaijan, within the reforms course determined by our President Mr. Ilham Aliyev. I congratulate every citizen of Azerbaijan and wish other governmental institutions of our country to join this competition for winning the UN Public Service Award".
Asha-Rose Migiro, the UN Deputy Secretary General considers the State Oil Fund's winning the UN award is an important event for Azerbaijan: "First of all I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Azerbaijan for winning this award. It's very important because Azerbaijan is a first within the context of CIS.
I hope the government will continue to be accountable and will give better services to people. We hope that other countries in the region will emulate the good example of Azerbaijan".
Established in accordance with the oil strategy of the national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, the State Oil Fund has played a significant role for provision of transparency in management of oil revenues during 7 years of its activity. The Fund's way towards this prestigious award started with statement of Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan about joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Today Azerbaijan is a leading country in EITI implementation and recognized as a first country implementing the Initiative worldwide. As a result of its all-round actvity SOFAZ joined a competition with governmental agencies of most of the world countries and won the UN Public Service Award for EITI.
According to Mr. Hans Winkler, the State Secretary of Austria for Foreign Affairs, "this event shows how much progress Azerbaijan has made".
"Let me from my heart to congratulate you. I know it's well deserved. I hope that the European Union will continue to get closer to Azerbaijan and we will continue to cooperate. This shows that you are on the right way. "
The State Oil Fund plays a guiding role in implementation of EITI in Azerbaijan and this was a base for SOFAZ's winning of the UN Public Service Award.
Huguette Labelle, Chair of the Board of Transparency International sites Azerbaijan as a leader in implementation of EITI worldwide.
"First I would like to congratulate Azerbaijan for having been the first signatory on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Azerbaijan is ahead everybody else having submitted not only one report, but also second report. This is so important, because it pushes other countries, who are rich in oil and gas and mining, hopefully to do the same thing. And this leadership role of Azerbaijan is very important. For us, we keep applauding and using the example of Azerbaijan as we go around the world to say it can be done, it has been done".
The supporting documents, including reference letters from prominent figures of the world - leaders of the super powers, top level representatives of the international organizations submitted by SOFAZ were considered during the assessment process.
The State Oil Fund is a winner of the competition involving almost all countries of the world. The award is a prove to the State Oil Fund's transparency and recognition of this fact in international level.
Jocelyne Bourgon, Chair of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration and Ambassador of the Canadian Permanent Mission to the UN sees Azerbaijan as an example to its neighbours for its experience as the UN Public Service Award winner.
"My congratulations. This is a very important award given by the United Nations to the countries, which have accomplished remarkable progress, in the case of your country, in transparency and accountability. To my knowledge Azerbaijan is a first country in Eastern Europe received such an honor. I hope that means that your country will have some desire to share its best practices with the neighbours."
Nino Burcanadze, the speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, the closer neighbour of Azerbaijan considers this award as an important for democracy and transparency in the region and assess this fact as the base of future success:
"I am really happy to have such a closer and friendly relationship with your country and your leadership. I think that reforms that your President is doing in your country are important not only for Azerbaijan, but only for whole region. I want to congratulate you with this very important success, because energy resources is most complicated direction, where transparency is really problem. As you achieved such a serious result, it means that you are on the right track. I wish you all the best in your efforts to build transparent, democratic and successful country."
As the UN Public Service Award becomes more prestigious every year, almost all countries of the world has joined the comptetition for 2007 award. The winners from Europe, Northern America and the Pacific, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Western Asia will be awarded in three categories: improving transparency, accountability, and responsiveness in the Public Service, improving the delivery of services and fostering participation in policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms (e. g. utilizing ICT, participatory budgeting, participatory/ social auditing and monitoring, and others).
Timofey Matvenko, Chairman of the Public Service Agency of Ukraine calls his country's governmental institutions to get exerience from State Oil Fund on Azerbaijan, the winner of the UN Public Service Award for improving transparency in public service.
"I would like to congratulate Azerbaijan people for this success. You are leaders, you are champions. You was awarded with the internationally recognized high-level prize. I hope that Ukraine will be among those countries that Azerbaijan shares its experience with. I wish Azerbaijan success in applying its practice in Ukraine".
According to Bahram Khalilov, Chairman of the Commission under the President on Public Service Issues the UN prize got by the Oil Fund is a highest award of public service.
"I am proud to know that State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan is a first governmental agency in Eastern Europe and post-soviet area, which receives this award. I congratulate the State Oil Fund and the people of Azerbaijan for getting this important prize".
The governmental entities from 14 countries of the world - Azerbaijan, Austira, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Singapore, India, Kenya, Morocco, Republic of Korea, United Arab Amirates, Lebanon, Chile, South Africa - are the 2007 award winners.
More than 2000 thousand political decision-makers/senior level officers, ministerial level politicians, also Heads of State participated in the 4-day Global Forum in Vienna.