Helen Clark: Effective alliances between state and market are required

04 Nov 2009

Public policies focused on human development can ensure a better distribution of the fruits of growth, said Clark

Helen Clark da conferencia en la CEPALSantiago - Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) called for a more effective alliance between the State and the market during a lecture delivered today at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile.

“The workings of the market alone will not end poverty, or deliver either equity or justice,” said Clark.

To address the multiple crises that impact developing countries, from the financial crisis to climate change, as well as food and energy crises, supporting the adoption of public policies that may complement the failures of the market is fundamental, she stated.

The high-ranking United Nations officer was received by ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena, who highlighted the importance of the development challenges facing the region in light of the global financial crisis.

Clark and Bárcena agreed that only public policies with a focus on human development will be capable of reducing inequality and distribute the fruits of growth.

‘’Today, citizens are seeking refuge in their governments, States and in a fairer international order in which their voice is heard. This is the focus of our current thinking: better State, better markets, and most of all, a more active citizenship,” said Bárcena.

helen Clark junto con Alicia Barcena “A new development paradigm needs to be widely articulated, combining development goals with environmental objectives so we can truly achieve long-term sustainable development,” she added.

In her lecture “Development Challenges in the 21st Century”, Clark stressed the urgency of compliance with the Millennium Development Goals. “During the recession, the chief concern of the UNDP and other organizations in the United Nations system has been how to maintain traction towards the MDGs and on longer-term human development,” she said.

Clark acknowledged the significant progress made in several Latin American and Caribbean countries, particularly in attaining universal education and promoting gender equality. However, she pointed out that countries are lagging in reducing poverty and hunger and achieving goals in maternal health and women’s empowerment.

“This is why we should speed up efforts to achieve the MDGs,” she said, recalling that there are only 10 months left for the U.N. General Assembly Summit that will review compliance with the MDGs, 10 years after their launching.

Clark also insisted on the urgency of combating the lack of governance and the corruption of institutions and the need for donor countries to increase official development assistance. “The funds don’t always arrive and that causes cynicism and skepticism. That’s why we should also work towards rebuilding trust,” she said.

“Peaceful, stable, and well governed societies are the most likely to make progress on development,” she added.

Clark assumed as UNDP Administrator on April 20, 2009 and is the first woman to head the organization. Previously, she held office as Prime Minister of New Zealand during three consecutive terms between 1999 and 2008.

Contact Information

For more information, contact ECLAC’s Information Services. Email: dpisantiago@cepal.org; telephone: (56 2) 210 2380/2149