Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.
Helen Clark: Statement at the Friends of Yemen Meeting
I wish to begin by commending the President of the Republic of Yemen for the leadership he is giving to the important transition taking place in Yemen.
Critical processes are getting underway: the launching of a national dialogue process; establishing a transitional justice framework and an independent human rights commission; and creating a new electoral platform for the next phases of the electoral cycle.
It is important that these political and constitutional reforms are accompanied by economic and social recovery. The challenges are great: the economy’s slow-down through the turbulence saw employment decline, and the proportion of people living in poverty is estimated to have increased from 42 per cent in 2009 to 55 per cent this year. Lack of adequate nutrition, water scarcity, and the protection and reintegration of internally displaced persons are also among the critical socioeconomic challenges Yemen faces.
The international community has been generous in its support of the Yemen humanitarian plans for 2010 and 2011. For the 2012 Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP), however, there remains a substantial gap of $317 million to be filled.
The Government’s Transitional Plan for Yemen provides a road map for an integrated and inclusive transition, in which political, social, and economic priorities will all be addressed by Yemen’s leaders.
This Transitional Plan also forms the basis for the Mutual Accountability Framework recently adopted by the Government of Yemen. As the Co-Chair, with the World Bank, of the donor co-ordination forum, the United Nations is strongly committed to supporting its implementation. We also encourage the Government of Yemen to establish the required follow-up and implementing mechanisms, so that the support which has been pledged by development partners can be translated into action and results.
Since agreement was reached on the implementation mechanism for the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) Initiative in November last year, the United Nations has substantially expanded its activities and revitalized partnerships with Yemeni stakeholders and development partners. The UN programme portfolio is currently sized at over $1.5 billion for the transitional period 2012-2014, of which $342 million is coming from UN core resources.
For UNDP, national capacity development is a priority. The long-term benefit of investments today will depend on Yemen’s institutions at all levels being able to address current and future challenges effectively.
In closing, let me reiterate the strong commitment of UNDP and the whole United Nations Development Group to working closely with Yemen and its international partners for a successful transition.