Helen Clarke, UNDP

Interview with Helen Clark, United Nations Development Programme, UNDP Administrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand:

Imagine that your organization didn’t exist and you were asked to invent it. What would you do? How would it be fundamentally different from what exists? What would be the differences regarding mandate, resources and objectives?

As has been said many times about the UN itself, if the UN Development Programme did not exist, we would be forced to invent it. UNDP has programming in 177 countries and territories in the areas of poverty reduction, sustainable development, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery, gender, and HIV/AIDs. We also lead and manage coordination of the activities of the UN Development Group agencies. The change which must occur across our organization –and development organizations generally– is systemic and transformational change which sees the benefits of development widely shared. The aspirations, expectations, demands and, crucially, the self-confidence of developing countries are high. Around the world nations and their peoples want higher living standards, social services, and a clean environment. As we have seen in the Arab uprisings, there is also a great desire for human dignity and freedom, and for rights to be upheld. At this time more than ever, we at UNDP must be relevant to the fast changing development landscape, and meet the huge demands within budgets limited by the fiscal constraints many donors face. In the new environment, it is critical for UNDP to have the right staff in the right place at the right time, to be clear about its priorities, to be focused, and to obtain and communicate development results. Our change agenda is aimed at all of that.

To read the full interview, order a copy of the magazine.

(Photo © Paulo Filgeiras / UN)