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Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and Former Prime Minister of New Zealand

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. Prior to her appointment with UNDP, Helen Clark served for nine years as Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving three successive terms from 1999 – 2008. She graduated with a BA in 1971 and an MA with First Class Honours in 1974.

Official Campaign Site

Vision Statement

Media Stakeout following Informal Dialogue

BACKGROUND

Born 26 February, 1950 (age 66) in Hamilton, New Zealand. Helen Clark entered politics in 1981 and has held, among others, the following public positions:

Member of the New Zealand Parliament for Mount Albert 1981 – 2009
Minister of Health 1987 – 1990
Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand 1989 – 1990
Deputy Leader of the Opposition 1990 – 1993
Leader of the Opposition 1993 – 1999
Prime Minister of New Zealand 1999 – 2008

POLICY & PERFORMANCE

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. Under Helen’s leadership, UNDP topped the Global Campaign for Aid Transparency’s 2014 index of major worldwide aid institutions.

Prior to her appointment with UNDP, Helen Clark served for nine years as Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving three successive terms from 1999 – 2008. Throughout her tenure as Prime Minister, Helen Clark engaged widely in policy development and advocacy across the international, economic, social and cultural spheres. Under her leadership, New Zealand achieved significant economic growth, low levels of unemployment, and high levels of investment in education and health, and in the well-being of families and older citizens. She and her government prioritized reconciliation and the settlement of historical grievances with New Zealand’s indigenous people and the development of an inclusive multicultural and multi-faith society.

ON THE ISSUES

An overview of all statements made by Ms. Clark in her capacity as UNDP Administrator can be found here.

Sustainable Development and Climate Change

Helen Clark delivered opening remarks at Ministerial Conference on Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in Arab Countries Social Dimensions. In her remarks, Helen Clark said, “sustainable development requires whole of government and cross-sectoral approaches” and “government commitment is vital, but insufficient on its own. Parliaments and civil society must be engaged in meaningful ways, and the ways in which business does business will also have a big impact on whether development is inclusive and sustainable.”

Crime

In her speech at the Annual Foreign Policy Lecture on “Conflict and Development: Breaking the cycle of Fragility, Violence, and Poverty”, Helen Clark advocated a “resilience-based approach”, which entails “building resilient institutions”, which encompassing “a focus on accelerated human capital development” and “investment in social accountability systems”, building resilient livelihoods and economics, building societal resilience, and rebuilding social and civic trust.

Migration/ Refugees

In her statement at the briefing on the Syria Response, Helen Clark said “[A] key issue identified was the need to ensure better integration of meeting immediate humanitarian needs with short, medium, and long term resilience initiatives building livelihoods and services.”

Gender Equality/ Women’s Rights

In her speech at World Assembly of Women on “Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership”, Helen Clark said: “throughout the world, women face many barriers to empowerment – both attitudinal and structural, which is why it is important to build overall environments in which all women can thrive”. “One way to accelerate the numbers of women in decision-making is to use temporary special measures, including gender quotas” and “empowering women in their homes and communities and achieving true gender equality also requires tackling gender-based violence.”

Peacekeeping

In her statement at ECOSOC, Helen Clark said “the amount of resources available for international co-operation is limited. Therefore, how we invest every single dollar in rising to the challenge of pursuing sustainable development in today’s complex circumstances matters. That is why strengthening the co-ordination of the development, humanitarian, and peace pillars of the UN’s work matters.”

Human Rights

In her remarks at the launch of the UNDG Human Rights Mainstreaming Multi-Donor Trust Fund, Helen Clark said: “Through development, countries can improve their ability to promote and protect human rights. And conversely, through the application of human rights principles, including non-discrimination, participation, and accountability, countries can help make national development efforts more effective and peace more secure.”

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