Helen Clark: ‘The time is right for Legal Empowerment of the Poor’

23 Oct 2009

On 23 October, Helen Clark participated alongside Mary Robinson, George Soros and others in a high-level roundtable discussion on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, jointly organized by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP as part of the European Development Days celebration in Stockholm. The participants included development partners, international organization, civil society and academia.

Helen Clark stated that poverty reduction was not achieved simply through economic growth or trade. Legal empowerment of the poor, she said, could be critical in breakthrough strategies for achieving and sustaining the Millennium Development Goals. The Administrator further stressed that the high-level event on MDGs in 2010 would be an opportunity to review various options and that legal empowerment of the poor offered an alternative, bottom-up approach to achieving the Goals. She concluded, ‘...the time is right for this, the view is a new and compelling angle in the fight against poverty and with the Millennium Development Goals review coming up next year, I think it will really make the most of it.’

George Soros, Mary Robinson, and a number of participants emphasized the need for greater coherence and coordinated action. They called upon UNDP to build and lead an alliance, with various actors, to maximize coordination and synergy in various national and international efforts for legal empowerment of the poor.