UN Development Chief Concludes Visit to Ecuador

Oct 19, 2016

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark visiting indigenous communities in Ecuador. Photo: UNDP

Quito, 19 October - UNDP Administrator Helen Clark wrapped up a three day visit to Ecuador yesterday where she participated in the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), met with government officials, and traveled to Cayambe north of Quito to visit development projects.

In Cayambe, Helen Clark met representatives of Ressak, a network of 600 small scale agro ecological producers in the northern Andes of Ecuador who work together to commercialize sustainable agro ecological products, and to conserve the Andean forests and paramo, or high plateau ecosystems, which are vital to the Ressak’s territory.

“The people associated with Ressak have a vision for how to produce sustainably, and how to protect to the ecosystems on which they depend”, said Helen Clark.  “We can all be inspired by the way this community has come together to live sustainably and in a way which is also viable for their livelihoods.” 

Seventy per cent of the farmers involved in this UNDP and Global Environment Facility (GEF) programme are women.  The weather and soil allows them to grow a wide variety of organic fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants to generate income and increase food security.

“The indigenous communities we met want good livelihoods while living in harmony with nature and being able to continue their traditions. “The essence of sustainable development is to support people to have a good life which is environmentally sustainable and without having to sacrifice what is really important to them, including their values.”

Helen Clark also visited a weaving workshop run by indigenous people who use an ancient weaving technique, and met with micro entrepreneurs from the “El Marcha” project in Quito.  El Marcha supports these entrepreneurs through technical assistance in strategy development, marketing, and business advice. Since 2015, “El Marcha” has benefited 1,000 businesses, some of them in the process of recovering their livelihoods following the devastating earthquake which hit the country in April this year.

During her visit, Helen Clark met with Corina Cretu, European Union Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Gabriela Rosero, Minister Coordinator of Social Development of Ecuador.

As part of her visit, Helen Clark also visited the Otavalo market, the biggest indigenous artisan market in Latin America, and Quito’s historic centre, one of the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Contact information

Marcela Barrientos. Email: marcela.barrientos@undp.org

UNDP Around the world