Helen Clark unanimously confirmed as new head of UNDP

31 Mar 2009

The United Nations General Assembly this aftrenoon unanimously approved Helen Clark of New Zealand as the new Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for a term of four years. 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon nominated Helen Clark last week to replace outgoing Administrator Kemal Derviş of Turkey.  
 
“Helen Clark was selected, amongst a group of excellent candidates, for her outstanding qualifications and numerous accomplishments in her long career,” said Michelle Montas, the Secretary-General spokesperson, in an official statement.
“Miss Clark has the needed leadership and international recognition that would allow her as the new Administrator to build on her predecessors’ legacy,” said Ms. Montas,   “In addition, she will bring a strategic perspective coupled with fresh thinking and impetus for change.” 

Helen Clark is expected to assume her post in late April.

Helen 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.
Helen Clark said that becoming the Administrator of UNDP was a big and exciting challenge.

"I am looking forward to leading UNDP at this critical time. I have a commitment to tackling poverty and injustice, and I regard it as an enormous privilege to tackle these issues at the international level.”

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.

Contact Information

In New York:
Christina Lonigro, Press Officer to the Administrator: christina.lonigro@undp.org; Tel: +1.212.906.5301