Digital Ecosystem for Development- Public Service Innovations



Objectives and Thematic Focus

Governments around the world – in both developing and developed countries – are going through tremendous changes to respond to rapidly rising expectations of the citizens, an accelerating technological transformation of society and economy as well as competing service offerings by private sector providers. Traditional public service delivery was known for being unresponsive to citizens’ demands, driven by rules and procedures many of which find their roots in the bygone era. Governments are embracing approaches and tools to become more citizen-centric, responsive and participatory. In particular, the following trends are seen:

  1. Digital technologies, rapidly becoming ubiquitous even in resource-strapped nations, provide governments with the means to improve the delivery of public services, by bringing increased access, inclusion, accountability, transparency and effectiveness leading to greater public trust. However, the challenge often lies in keeping the focus on developing citizen-centric rather than implementing technology-centric or approaches that prioritise interests of the supply-side.
  2. User-centric policy and programming tools: The difference in perspectives between service providers and service seekers, a lack of empathy on the part of the provider and unscrupulous practices by vested interests, have often led to a service delivery paradigm and practice that is considered unresponsive and ‘red-tapish’ by the average citizen. To fully understand the perspectives of the citizens, especially the underserved, and modify their own structures and processes to incorporate this new understanding, many governments are employing user-centric policy and programming tools such as ‘design thinking’, ‘business process re-engineering’ or ‘service process simplification’ and ‘behavioural insights’. However, these tools can be quite difficult to adopt to the needs of a particular country and context and take time to be embedded in the organizational culture of the public sector.
  3. Prototyping approaches and experiments: Typically, civil service is designed to be risk-averse to maintain order and status quo. Yet, many governments recognise the need for unconventional thinking, disruption and innovation. Many have begun to encourage rapid prototyping approaches and experiments, sometimes using approaches and technologies mentioned above. Many governments have partnered with NGOs, for-profit companies and academia in new forms of service delivery. Many so-called ‘innovation labs’ have sprouted around the world, some of which are supported by UN organizations, international development partners and philanthropies. The experimentation has produced impactful innovations and generated evidence that informs policy formulation. However, the proportion of these innovations that have been scaled up geographically and demographically with measurable impact is much lower than expected.
  4. Data revolution: Unparalleled opportunities exist in leveraging the data revolution to track delivery, impact and progress towards poverty eradication and SDG achievements. By openly sharing public data and by enabling its creative use, Members States can shape new development opportunities and facilitate economic growth. With better insights, Governments can also design policy and provide services that are better targeted at national and local levels for cities, villages, communities, and possibly even personalized for individuals. Thus, improved and well-maintained data sets can serve planners, policy makers and implementers not only to keep track of performance, but also to fast-track development and reduce inequality. Despite the advantages, many governments are yet to grasp the opportunities of the data revolution because of lack of knowledge, capacity and resources. In some cases, public debate about data security and privacy have has held decision makers back.

The four abovementioned trends – digitization of service delivery, user-centric policy and programming tools, prototyping approaches and experiments, and the data revolution – may have originated in developed countries but are taking developing countries by storm. With this realization, the government of Bangladesh, in partnership with United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), convened a high-level meeting on South-South and triangular cooperation for scaling up innovations in public service delivery on the sidelines of the seventy-first session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016. In this event, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh proposed the need for a collaborative network – a South-South network for Public Service Innovations- to share good practices and encourage the diffusion of insights and experiences. The proposal was enthusiastically supported. Since then, Bangladesh has been proactive in sharing its achievements in public service innovation in a number of global events [1]. Bangladesh has strengthened ongoing South-South Cooperation initiatives and started several new ones on public service innovation with the governments of Singapore, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Bhutan, Fiji, Benin, among others.

On the margins of the seventy-second session of UNGA in September 2017, the government of Bangladesh and UNOSSC organized another side-event to launch the publication “South-South in Action: Citizen-friendly Public Service Innovation in Bangladesh” which documents many service innovations in Bangladesh by the government, private sector and civil society that are being replicated beyond the borders of the country. Bangladesh also launched the SDG Tracker which provides a comprehensive SDG monitoring framework that can facilitate the regular monitoring and evaluation of development interventions and feed inputs for further fine-tuning. It allows tracking of each goal and target, indicator by indicator, through multiple visualization schemes so that data can provide instant meaning to policy makers. This tool also creates an environment of healthy competition among various organizations in terms of achieving the SDGs. SDG Tracker is Bangladesh’s most recent contribution to SSC so that any interested country can easily customize the platform to track its own SDG progress and utilize the analytics to make effective and prioritized policy decisions.

The “Leadership Round Table: Public Service Innovations” event at the GSSD Expo 2017 will explore the following questions:

  1. What kind of innovations are truly allowing the government to leapfrog achievement of SDGs and improve public service delivery?
  2. What creates impact and what doesn’t in such innovations, and what are the WHYs behind the WHATs?
  3. Why do certain public service innovations scale and others don’t?
  4. What are the effective and practical ways of measuring progress against preset targets of achieving SDGs and correlating among inter-related SDG targets?
  5. What are the traditional and modern data collection mechanism/strategies that government and non-government entities can use to effectively track SDG progress?
  6. How can countries in the Global South develop a unified, long-term vision for South-South and Triangular cooperation in the area of innovations in public service delivery towards creation of a sustainable culture of innovation?


Concrete Outcome

Launch a South-South and Triangular Network on Public Service Innovations as an important enabler in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and invite active participation from all Southern and Northern partners.




1. High-level Segment:

Moderator: Md. Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Coordinator (SDGs), Prime Minister’s Office, Governent of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Video message: H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, People’s Republic of Bangladesh (tbc)


  • H.E. Mr. Cihad Erginay, Deputy Undersecretary for Administrative and Financial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Turkey
  • H.E. Mr. Kiatchai Sophastienphong, Vice Minister for Finance, Kingdom of Thailand
  • H.E. Mr. Alikhan Baimenov, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Regional Hub of Civil Service in Astana, Former Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Citizens, Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Mr. Jorge Chediek, Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation, and Director of United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation
  • Mr. Rastislav Vrbensky, Deputy Director, UNDP Europe and the CIS
  • Mr. Mark Erlich, Interoperability Advisor at Estonian Information System Authority
  • Fiji Government (tbc)
  • Sweden / Norway Government (tbc)
  • Rwanda / Kenya / Uganda Government (tbc)


2. Technical Segment:

Moderator: Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, Deputy Director, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation

Keynote Presentation and Demo of the SDG Tracker: Mr. Anir Chowdhury, Prime Minister Office of Government of Bangladesh


  • Mr. Arndt Husar, Deputy Director, UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (Singapore)
  • Istanbul Innovation Lab (tbc)
  • SIGOB (tbc)


3. Launching of the “South-South and Triangular Network on Public Service Innovations”






H.E. Mr. Cihad Erginay

Deputy Undersecretary for Administrative and Financial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Turkey

28.12.1988 – 02.05.1989: Attaché, Department of Human Resources

02.05.1989 – 01.04.1990: Attaché, Political Department for Eastern Europe-Asia

01.04.1990 – 03.12.1990: Military service

03.12.1990 – 30.09.1991: Attaché, Political Department for Western Europe

30.09.1991 – 02.09.1996: Attaché, Vice–Consul, Turkish Consulate General in Melbourne/Australia

02.09.1996 – 24.09.1996: Second Secretary, Deputy Directorate General for NATO Affairs

24.09.1996 – 31.08.1998: Second Secretary, First Secretary, Deputy Directorate General for Maritime and Aviation Affairs

31.08.1998 – 29.08.2000: First Secretary, Turkish Embassy in Kuwait

29.08.2000 – 01.10.2002: First Secretary, Counsellor, Turkish Embassy in Washington/USA

01.10.2002 – 04.08.2004: Head of Section, Deputy Directorate General for the Americas

04.08.2004 – 14.09.2008: Counsellor, First Counsellor, Turkish Permanent Representation to NATO, Brussels/Belgium

14.09.2008 – 01.09.2009: First Counsellor, Turkish Embassy in Riyadh/Saudi Arabia

01.09.2009 – 30.04.2011: Minister Plenipotentiary, Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

30.04.2011 – 17.06.2014: Ambassador, Turkish Embassy in Prague/Czech Republic

01.07.2014 – 15.11.2016: Ambassador, Turkish Embassy in Sarajevo/Bosnia and Herzegovina

15.11.2016 – 12.01.2017: Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Administrative and Financial Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

12.01.2017 – : Deputy Undersecretary for Administrative and Financial Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Mr. Kiatchai Sophastienphong

Vice Minister of Finance, Thailand

Mr. Kiatchai Sophastienphong is Thailand’s current Vice Minister of Finance. He has graduated from the prestigious University of Cambridge with Masters (MA) and Bachelors (BA) in Economics. Upon graduation, Mr. Sophastienphong embarked upon his eclectic career firstly as a Manager of the Industrial Finance Corporation of Thailand (IFCT) and later, a Financial Analysis at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). He also has financial expertise in handling International Banking, Investment Banking, Strategic Corporate Services and Trade throughout his time with the Bank of Asia (BOA) and Siam City Bank (SCIB).

In more recent years, Mr. Sophastienphong furthered his career in economics and finance, holding many high-level positions. His experience encompasses positions such as Senior Director of the Financial Institution Policy Department at the Bank of Thailand (BOT), Senior Financial Economist at ADB, Senior Financial Sector Specialist (South Asia) at the World Bank as well as TCC Holding Co. Limited.


Dr. Alikhan Baimenov

Chairman, Steering Committee of the Regional Hub of Civil Service in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan

Dr. Alikhan Baimenov, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Regional Hub of Civil Service in Astana, is a distinguished public figure, who held leading public posts in the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Dr. Baimenov in his political career has served as the Head of the Administration of the President, Head of the Office of the Prime-Minister, Chairman of the Agency for Civil Service Affairs, Minister of Labour and Social Protection, and the member of the Parliament of Kazakhstan.

The Regional Hub of Civil Service in Astana was founded in March 2013 by 25 countries and 5 international organizations, which Dr. Baimenov steers, by initiative of the Government of Kazakhstan and the United Nations Development Programme. Currently, the Hub has 38 participating countries and about 30 institutional partners.

Dr. Baimenov graduated from the Karaganda Technical Institute (1981) and did post-graduate study at the Moscow Motor-Road Institute (1985-1988). He holds PhD in Technical Sciences.


Mr. Jorge Chediek

Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation and UNOSSC Director

Since October 2015, Mr. Chediek has been the Director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation leading United Nations system-wide promotion and coordination of South-South cooperation for development.

Prior to this, he served as the Resident Coordinator/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Brazil (2010-2015). In that capacity, he was also the Director of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, UNDP’s global forum for policy dialogue and South-South learning on social development innovations. He served as Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Peru (2005-2010); United Nations Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Nicaragua (2001-2005); Deputy Resident Representative in Cuba (1999-2001); Deputy Resident Representative in Uruguay (1996-1999); Programme Management Officer, Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States in New York (1994-1996); and Programme Officer and then Assistant Resident Representative in Turkey (1990-1994).

Preceding his United Nations career, Mr. Chediek worked at the Department of Legislative Analysis of the Argentinean Congress and as an independent consultant assisting in the design of financial investment systems in Argentina.

Born in 1960, he holds a Master of Science in foreign service (honors) from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Science (“Licenciado”) in political science from Catholic University in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Mr. Rastislav Vrbensky

UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director to the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States

Rastislav Vrbensky is UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director to the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States and assumed his duties on 09 January 2017.

Prior to his current position, Rastislav Vrbensky has been most recently the Manager of Istanbul Regional Hub (since November 2014). Prior to this appointment, Rastislav was UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Montenegro (2011-2014). Before that he worked as Country Director in UNDP Tajikistan (2008-2011). He also served as Deputy Resident Representative in Serbia (2004-2007). From 2000 until 2004 he held a number of positions in UNDP’s Regional Centre in Bratislava as Assistant Director, Head of Country Liaison Unit, Sustainable Development Advisor and Capacity 21 Regional Coordinator. Before joining UNDP, Rastislav worked for the Regional Environment Centre for Central and Eastern Europe in Slovakia (1998-2000). He began his career in the Ministry of Environment of Slovakia.


Dr. Xiaojun Grace Wang

Deputy Director for Programmes and Operations at the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)

Dr. Xiaojun Grace Wang is the Deputy Director for Programmes and Operations at the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). Dr. Wang brings to the position extensive senior leadership experience in brokering knowledge exchange, facilitating partnerships, and strengthening the capacities of countries to engage in South-South and triangular cooperation. She dedicates strong efforts to ensure that the larger potential of South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable development are reflected in both programmes and policymaking dialogues.

Ms. Wang has most recently served as the Lead Advisor on South-South and Triangular Cooperation at the United Nations Development Programme’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support. In that capacity, she initiated and spearheaded the establishment of the Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Cooperation – the South-South Global Thinkers Initiative, jointly supported by UNOSSC and UNDP.


Mr. Mark Erlich

Interoperability Advisor at Estonian Information System Authority

Mark Erlich is the Interoperability Advisor at Estonian Information System Authority. This authority has responsibility for public sector IT security and also building, maintaining base infrastructure of e-Government of Estonia.

Mark is an IT engineer with more than 10 years of competence in public sector IT solutions and e-Governance. For a past 7 years he has been working mainly with eID and e-Signature adoption in Estonian society. This task included understanding of different sector specific needs and limitations. eID and e-signature are main user tools in e-Government that in its turn has a critical influence of building well-functioning digital ecosystem of a country.

Today Marks’ main task is advising and managing eIDAS (European regulation No 910/2014) implementation at national level. This challenge includes a close cooperation with public e-service providers, trust service providers and partners from other countries. His role can be described as a negotiator between technical and business people.


Mr. Arndt Husar

Deputy Director of the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE) in Singapore

Arndt Husar is the Deputy Director of the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE) in Singapore which acts as a catalyst for new thinking and action on public sector challenges. With a degree in Spatial Planning (University of Dortmund, Germany) his professional interests have been in strategic planning, public sector reform and public service innovation. At the Global Centre, Arndt leads on public service innovation, strategic foresight and digital technologies. He has initiated a track of activities on public service innovation in support of UNDP’s innovation agenda, including the 2013 Public Service Innovation Lab series across Southeast Asia (#UNDPpsi), the Empowered Futures Initiative with its foresightXchange workshop series (#fsXc) as well as GCPSE’s work on disruptive technologies (#techPS).

Arndt has worked with UNDP India and the Asia-Pacific Regional Centre in Bangkok in programme and advisory roles and has been with the UNDP Global Centre since 2013. He began his career in international development with the Cities Alliance as a fellow of a prestigious international affairs fellowship and then joined UNDP as a Junior Professional Officer. His professional exposure includes assignments in the private, public and non-governmental sectors in Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Germany, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Malawi, Peru, Rwanda, Samoa, South Africa, Thailand, Tonga and the United States.




Focal Point Contact Details

Overall Coordinators: Anir Chowdhury, Prime Minister Office of Government of Bangladesh; Denis Nkala, UNOSSC Asia-Pacific

Communications Focal Point: Sirithon Wairatpanij, Advocacy Advisor, UNOSSC Asia-Pacific


Phone: 6623049100




[1] South-South Development Expo (Dubai, November 2016); Technical Workshop on South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development (Benin, February 2017); United Nations Science, Technology and Innovation Forum (May 2017), ITU World Summit on the Information Society Forum (Geneva, June 2017); Astana Economic Forum (June 2017), United Nations High-Level Political Forum (New York, 2017).