Secretary-General nominates Helen Clark as new UNDP Administrator

26 Mar 2009

Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon, following consultations with the Executive Board of UNDP, has written to the President of the General Assembly requesting the General Assembly to confirm Helen Clark of New Zealand as the new Administrator of the UNDP for a term of four years.  Miss Clark replaces Mr. Kemal Derviş.

The Secretary-General is deeply grateful to Mr. Dervis for the services he has rendered to the Organization and for so ably leading UNDP at a critical juncture. The Secretary-General is particularly appreciative of the great leadership displayed by Mr. Derviş in the implementation of his mandate.

Helen Clark’s nomination is made at the end of an extensive selection process which included the establishment of a senior appointments panel chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General and consisting of senior UN officials as well as two outside experts in financial and developmental economics.  The Panel was composed in a manner to reflect a combination of required expertise and skills as well as gender and geographical balance.  The Panel was entrusted with interviewing the short-listed candidates and recommending the finalists for the Secretary-General’s consideration.

Helen Clark was selected, amongst a group of excellent candidates, for her outstanding qualifications and numerous accomplishments in her long career.  Miss Clark has the needed leadership and international recognition that would allow her as the new Administrator to build on her predecessors’ legacy.  In addition, she would bring a strategic perspective coupled with fresh thinking and impetus for change.  Miss Clark is expected to bring to the UNDP and the UN System her well honed consensus building skills and commitment to the multilateral approach to addressing global financial and development issues.

Miss Clark has been a member of the New Zealand Parliament since 1981, and was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008.  Concurrently she held a number of other portfolios including Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

In government Helen Clark led her country’s policy debate on a wide range of economic, social, environmental, and cultural issues, including sustainability and climate change, and the development of an inclusive multicultural and multi faith society.  She was also a very active leader of her country’s international relations at bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels.  She has been a strong supporter of development and the achievement of the MDGs in her region.

Between 1984 and 1987 she served as Chair of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee.  From 1987 – 1990, she served as first  Minister of Housing and Minister of Conservation, and then as Minister of Health, Minister of Labour and Deputy Prime Minister.   In these capacities, she prioritised affordable housing, protection of New Zealand’s unique biodiversity, primary health care and public health, and gender equity in employment.

Born in 1950 in New Zealand, Helen Clark is married to Professor Peter Davis.  Miss Clark was educated at Auckland University where she studied Political Studies and History.  She graduated with a BA in 1971 and MA (Hons) in 1974.