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Govt supports Helen Clark for United Nations role

Hon John Key
Prime Minister
8 February 2009
Media Release

Govt supports Helen Clark for United Nations role

The New Zealand Government is providing strong support for the candidacy of Helen Clark for the position of Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Prime Minister John Key confirmed today.

“Helen Clark’s application for this senior position in the United Nations system has the full and formal endorsement of the New Zealand Government,” Mr Key says.

“Helen Clark has shown the leadership qualities needed for a complex organisation such as UNDP in these difficult times. The Government believes she would do an excellent job of running UNDP and leading the United Nations’ development efforts.

“I am delighted that New Zealand has a candidate of the calibre of Helen
Clark for this position. Her time as New Zealand Prime Minister established her credibility internationally, engaging with leaders from the developed and developing world alike.

“UNDP needs someone who can front for them, mobilise resources and represent the organisation effectively. Helen Clark is a very strong candidate,” Mr Key says.

Mr Key has written to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon directly to convey this message.

Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum have also given their support to Helen Clark. Reaction from other United Nations member countries has been to universally welcome Helen Clark’s interest, showing that she is considered a very serious contender.

There is a formal process ahead of shortlisting and interviews, driven by the United Nations Secretary General, and so some time to go before any final decisions. It is still too early to predict whether she would be successful.

Background note

• The head of the United Nations Development Programme, Kemal Dervis, announced recently that he will leave the position on 1 March 2009. UN member states have been asked to nominate candidates by 31 January. The UNDP Administrator has the rank of Under Secretary-General of the UN. The Secretary-General has indicated that he will make the appointment on the basis of a short-list of candidates, an interview process, and consultation with the Executive Board of UNDP.

• Established in 1965 the UNDP is the most broadly focussed development agency in the UN system. By its mandate, UNDP has programmes in all developing countries, including those in the Pacific and is the largest provider of development assistance in the UN system. UNDP’s work focuses on democratic governance, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and recovery, energy and environment, and HIV/AIDS.

• UNDP is also the lead coordinator of development (and often humanitarian) activities of the UN system including, at the field level, through oversight of the UN Resident Coordinator system. It also leads on coordination of UN development reform and has been appointed lead agency for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

• UNDP is funded by voluntary contributions from UN members. Income in 2008 was around US$5 billion.

ENDS

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