Helen Clark praises Bahrain’s human development progress

19 Apr 2010

Helen Clark praises Bahrain’s human development progress and promises continued cooperation to support Bahrain’s development vision for the future

Manama, 19 April 2010
– UNDP Administrator Helen Clark met today with HRH, Prince Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain during her visit to the kingdom. The Prime Minister valued UNDP’s contributions to advance development in the kingdom and expressed his wish to further strengthen this partnership especially in facilitating the sharing of best practices of development experiences between Bahrain and the rest of the world. Other areas of cooperation discussed include addressing the challenges of climate change; food security; expanding women’s political and economic participation; and sustaining progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

“Bahrain has made impressive strides in its development efforts over the past few decades, achieving a high level of human development, and rising to the rank of 39 out of 182 countries,” Helen Clark said.  “There are important lessons to be learned from Bahrain’s development successes in many areas such as expanding opportunities for political participation; employment and labour rights for all; women participation in public life; and building the post-oil knowledge economy of the future. We are strongly committed to working closely with the people and government of Bahrain in support of national plans and priorities and we look forward to strengthening our partnership”

Helen Clark also met HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and Chairman of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board. The Crown Prince appraised the Administrator of the key principles and values of the Kingdom’s forward looking economic Vision 2030 and discussed continued cooperation between UNDP and Bahrain in support of the Kingdom’s strategic development plans to achieve this vision.

Key national priorities to be implemented in partnership with UNDP were discussed. These included youth development as part of Bahrian’s National Youth Strategy, building capacities to enhance employment opportunities and the establishment of social enterprise in cooperation with Bahrain’s labour fund “Tamkeen” and other agencies. They also discussed partnership in enhancing South-South cooperation including the Crown Prince’s ideas on establishing virtual hubs for sharing development knowledge and experience globally. Other areas of cooperation discussed included support to Bahrain’s vision of a knowledge based society, matching today’s education with future job market, and Arabic content development serving the Arab world. The Crown Prince agreed to further strengthen cooperation with UNDP at the policy level and in the implementation of national strategies

Miss Clark encouraged greater engagement of qualified young Bahraini’s in serving global development and gaining expertise through the United Nations Junior Professional System. She also invited the personal involvement of HRH the Crown Prince in the “Business Call to Action” initiative and his encouragement of active participation of Bahraini companies in it. This global, UNDP-supported initiative seeks to harness the power of business investments to reduce extreme poverty and improve the lives of millions, in line with the MDGs.

“Bahrain is well on its way to achieve the MDGs. Today, with only five years separating us from the date of fulfilment of the Millennium promise in 2015, work must focus on sustaining the development momentum and expanding it beyond 2015.” Helen Clark said, “We are also happy to work with Bahrain to help other countries in the region --and beyond-- benefit from the Kingdom’s development experience and support in their pursuit of their own development goals”

During her visit, Helen Clark also inaugurated the annual regional meeting of UNDP’s Resident Representatives in the Arab States region (18 UNDP offices) and UN Regional Offices, which is held in Manama, 18-21 April under the theme “Delivering Results that Count”.   The meeting comes at an important juncture when many UNDP offices and UN country teams are about to embark upon the process of articulating their development programming plans for the coming cycles focusing on acceleration of progress towards the achievement of the MDGs by 2015, addressing the challenge of climate change and advancing UN reform and coordination of development assistance under the “delivering as one” concept.

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Contact Information

For more information contact:

Bahrain:
Ali Salman, Programme Analyst & Communication Focal Point – UNDP Bahrain, Tel: +973 1 731 9423, Cell: +973 39766366, e-mail: ali.salman@undp.org
   
Nejib Friji, Director, UN Information Centre (UNIC)- Bahrain, Qatar & UAE, Tel: +973 1 731 1676, Fax: +973 1 731 1692, e-mail: friji@un.org
    
Cairo:
Noeman AlSayyad, Regional Communication Advisor – UNDP Regional Centre for Arab States, Tel:+20 2 27702242, Cell: +20 10 1811876, e-mail: noeman.alsayyad@undp.org