Dynamics - December 2012

UNDP promotes human development

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Former New Zealand Prime Minister and current Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Helen Clark, tells us about promoting human development around the world.

People matter. And they have to be put at the center of development.” – Helen Clark, Administrator, UNDP

On the ground in 177 countries and territories, the organization works in four main areas, including three Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):

  • Poverty reduction
  • Democratic governance
  • Crisis prevention and recovery
  • Environment and sustainable development

Among the MDGs is the aim to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. With half the population of developing regions continuing to be without sanitation, the 2015 target seems out of reach.

“Looking at water involves not just technical and technological solutions but also that basic building of capacity and governance and accountability. I strongly believe in multi-stakeholder approaches to this,” says Clark.

Cities, too, are evolving into key hubs for sustainable development — partly in response to the world’s increasing urbanization. Another factor is the ability of city leaders to make radical changes.

The environment is another key area for UNDP. “When we talk green economy we must always talk ‘green and inclusive economy’,” says Clark. “People matter. And they have to be put at the center of development. At UNDP, we have been advocating that we see achieving greater equity and greater sustainability as linked themes; we will not achieve one without the other.”

But irrespective of the sector involved, real progress often comes down to governance, which Clark cites as absolutely fundamental.

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