Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme in 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She also chairs the United Nations Development Group.
UN Development Chief reaffirms support to Typhoon Haiyan recovery
Manila: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark today wrapped up a two-day visit to the Philippines focused on post-typhoon recovery and support for the peace process in Mindanao.
Helen Clark visited communities in Tacloban that were devastated by the November typhoon which swept through one of the poorest parts of the Philippines. Forty per cent of the population there lived below the poverty line before the super storm hit. To help ensure that people do not fall deeper into poverty as a result of the November disaster, restoring livelihoods is at the heart of UNDP’s planned three-year Yolanda (Haiyan) recovery programme.
To date, UNDP has provided cash-for-work opportunities that have benefited nearly 40,000 people. As humanitarian efforts wind down, UNDP is scaling up its livelihoods restoration work. This includes reaching out to the most vulnerable to provide many with skills training as well as links to job opportunities. Already more than 1,800 people have been trained in such skills as carpentry and masonry. At the same time, UNDP is working with local and national government to help restore basic services and lay the foundations for improved disaster management systems.
At the San Jose Central Elementary School in Tacloban, the UNDP Administrator spoke with children and parents who lost relatives in the typhoon. “We can see how deep the scars are in people’s hearts,” Helen Clark said. “But we are also seeing recovery. This is a tribute to the resilience of the people and the determination of the authorities and the support that has come to get things moving again,” she said.
“At UNDP, we are now moving to the next stages of recovery to support the authorities’ roll out plans for improved resilience to disaster and for rehabilitation of livelihoods, services, and infrastructure. With support from Australia, for example, we are going to be able to put technical experts in the mayor’s office in Tacloban to support the work led by the city," Helen Clark said.
Furthermore, the Government of Japan today announced an additional USD 3.5 million for UNDP’s recovery efforts.
While in Manila, Helen Clark held discussions to consolidate partnerships with the Government and development partners. She addressed issues including the design of the post-2015 development agenda, building greater resilience to disaster, and recovery from the impact of Yolanda during her meetings with key cabinet members including Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, Socio-Economic Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, and Presidential Assistant for Recovery and Reconstruction, Secretary Panfilo Lacson.
Later today, Miss Clark will meet President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, and then witness the historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“Development has been constrained in the area affected by the conflict”, Helen Clark said. "With peace, much faster progress can be made on human development,” she said.
Key to the success of the peace process will be the proper functioning of the new autonomous political entity, the Bangsamoro, which replaces the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). For the past year, UNDP, in partnership with the World Bank, has provided a comprehensive technical assistance package to support the peace process. The Facility for Advisory Support for Transition Capacities (FASTRAC), has assisted the MILF and the Philippine Government to build capacity to address key issues for the Bangsamoro such as governance, justice, combatant transition and security. FASTRAC provided on-demand access to a pool of experts, training, policy advice, research and international exchanges.
A former Prime Minister of New Zealand for three consecutive terms (1999-2008), Helen Clark brings with her a wealth of experience in development and peace-building. 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.
Concurrent with her position as UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark serves as the Chair of the United Nations Development Group which consists of all UN organisations working on development issues.
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