World in crises needs strong multilateral system, says UNDP chief

31 Jan 2011

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark addresses Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA

New York

 

“Providing citizens with better employment opportunities, quality education, and the chance to benefit more from and contribute more meaningfully to their country’s progress and to decisions which have an impact on their live is so important for social cohesion,” the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark, said today with a view to fast-changing events in the Middle East and elsewhere.
 
Noting increasingly difficult economic conditions world-wide, the international community must continue to support countries in need, Miss Clark said in the opening remarks of the organization’s Executive Board meeting. “People in developed and developing countries alike are hurting. Yet it is the poorest and most vulnerable people across the developing world who have been hardest hit. Those countries and populations are the least able to recover from recession, least able to afford rising food prices, and least able to adapt to climate change and deal with a range of other disasters and shocks.”
 
Miss Clark stressed the importance of a strong multilateral system to give a voice to “those not seated at the top tables, tackle global problems head on, and deliver hope and opportunity to those who have been left behind.” UNDP can play and is playing such a vital role, she added, and noted that with its long standing trusted global network of country offices and its co-ordinating role on behalf of the UN development system, UNDP has “unmatched strengths” to support countries achieving lasting  results.
 
The UN Development chief laid out her vision how to further strengthen the organization’s key functions in helping countries meet their goals. Upcoming changes within UNDP included “measures to lift performance, manage tight budgets, and ensure that our structures and systems are fit for purpose.”
 
She also emphasized the plan to collaborate closely with the newly established organization UN Women to boost UN-wide efforts to promote gender equality and welcomed the outcome of the Cancun climate change conference in December 2010. “UNDP stands ready to assist partner governments to act quickly in advancing the Cancun agreement” and will continue to play its critical role here, by supporting governments in attracting and leveraging climate finance to reduce poverty.
 
Finally, Miss Clark warned that a lack of funding for crisis prevention and recovery activities will make it difficult to cover those priority areas of UNDP. “Modest investments in prevention will save lives and build resilience to shocks,” she said.  She also pointed out the value of development as a foundation for securing and maintaining peace and stability, and added that UNDP’s efforts to promote democratic governance help to create the foundations which support lasting development results – accountability, human rights, responsive government, and the rule of law.

 

Read her full remarks at the first Regular Session of the Executive Board UNDP/UNFPA in 2011 here