News Housing, Public Works and Transport

Arriola to collect the UNPSA (United Nations Public Service Awards) first place award in New York on 25 June

2012 June 11

Senior officials from around the world will be at the ceremony

The UN has awarded the participative processes of the Housing Department with the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service.

The Basque Government's Minister for Housing, Public Works and Transport, Iñaki Arriola, will collect the UNPSA first place Public Service award at the ceremony to be held in the General Assembly room of the United Nations Headquarters in New York.The award recognised the "In Housing - All Opinions Matter" participative project driven by the Basque Government's Department of Housing throughout this term in office.

This award is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It has been a record year in terms of entries in the different categories, 471 up 58% on 2011, and in terms of the number of Member States taking part, which has increased from 57 states in 2011 to 73 states in 212, double the participation of 39 states in 2008.

The Jury believes that the initiative driven by the Basque Government has helped to improve the public service offered by the Basque administration and will act as inspiration for future projects.

The Department for Housing will collect the award in New York in June, during the UN conference to be held between 25 and 28 June to analyse and debate the contribution of the public sector to good governance. These Conferences will be chaired by the UN and the speakers will include senior officials and representatives from numerous institutions and entities around the world. Apart from receiving the award, the Basque Government will have the opportunity to present, explain and discuss its participative project with the other participants in the workshops to be held during the conference.

The top-level workshops are a unique experience to exchange innovative knowledge where representatives of governments from around the world will get together with academics, representatives of non-profit, international and regional organisation. Government representatives from over 80 member states are expected to take part in those workshops.

The Basque Government Minister for Housing, Iñaki Arriola, has thanked all those people that had made winning this prize possible, both those who had worked on the project and those who had contributed with their participation and their contributions. He went to express his satisfaction and pride for this award that "is further recognition by the United Nations of this Government's innovative way of doing politics, where transparency and citizen participation plays a key role when designing and assessing the different initiative lines driven by the Government".

This award is a stimulus for the whole housing team to continue along this path of commitment to social participation and to continue to take into consideration the contributions and suggestions of the citizens. In fact, the Department of Housing has recently embarked on a new citizen participation process regarding the Order that it is finalising to improve the Etxebide service and housing allocation system.

Winning Project

Thanks to the citizen participation process, the Department of Housing has accumulated new experiences in the fields of social innovation, transferability, sustainability, democratic transparency and fundamentally, regarding active listening and shared commitment. The process was also highly rated by the thousands of citizens that have taken part.

The Basque Government project made it through the first cut in February, became a finalist in April and has now been announced as the winner of the competition within the European and North American region in the "Fostering participation in policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms".

The project submitted by the Department for Housing includes the innovative opting for citizen participation when designing housing public policies in its three participation projects.

  • Initially, a participation process began with institutions, social stakeholders and society to reach an agreement regarding the strategic lines of the long-term housing policy set out in the Social Contract for Housing 2010-2025 that was signed by nearly 80 social entities and institutions.
  • Once the general programme coverage had been agreed, the citizens were asked for their input to prepare the guidelines of the Housing Plan for the Basque Government, in other words, the policy lines of the Basque Autonomous Government for the 4 years in office, the Urban Regeneration and Housing Master Plan 2010-2013, where over 16,000 people took part and which include nearly 70% of the initiatives raised.
  • In order to provide the housing policy with legislative cover, the Department set up another citizen participation project regarding the Housing Bill, during which the opinions of over 17,000 citizens were gather and which resulted in nearly 200 improvement proposals.

UNPSA Awards

The UNPSA Awards are managed by the Division for Pubic Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).

The overall purpose of the UNPSA programme is to reward the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions towards a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide. An annual global competition that promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service, the programme aims to discover new innovations in governance; motivate public servants to further promote innovation; raise the image of public service; enhance trust in government; and collect and share successful practices for possible replication between and within countries.


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Politicians attending the event
(IX term 2009 - 2012)